The new Council budget: no consultation, no cuts, but Council tax up 4.99%

The Council’s financial plan for the coming year is due to be approved at the Council meeting tomorrow, 23 February. There is no consultation on next year’s (2021-22) budget this year. BCC has not produced the normal summary consultation document; instead there was a commentary in the local news section of the latest BCC weekly COVID bulletin. Continue reading

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Ethnicity, degree status and job inequalities in the COVID-19 crisis

Some ethnic groups have suffered disproportionately from disruption to earnings because of their relative concentration in sectors suffering lockdown and/or being amongst the self-employed, who have been at particular risk of losing hours and earnings during the Covid-19 crisis. Continue reading

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Dozens of cities around the world have Fare Free Public Transport. Why not Birmingham and the West Midlands?

Climate Action Network WM invite you to an online discussion with Wojciech Keblowski, the critical urban geographer working on transport, to launch a campaign for FFPT on local buses, trams, and trains in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Continue reading

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Low-paid workers who lose their jobs likely to face intense competition for new roles

New JRF analysis* comparing online job vacancies with the profile of unemployed people paints a worrying picture of competition for jobs, especially for people laid off from lower-paid roles.

Throughout the chaotic economic storm brought on by COVID-19 it has often been people in low-paid, insecure jobs whose work is most at risk. While the frightening worst-case scenarios of unemployment have been prevented by some successful labour market interventions, most notably the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), many people have still lost their jobs. The latest unemployment rate is 5%, meaning 1.7 million people are now looking for work, and most economic forecasts expect this to rise significantly in 2021 if the CJRS comes to an end this spring as currently planned. Continue reading

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UNISON porters at Heartlands – Trades Council Solidarity Event 4pm Sun 21 Feb

Porters at Heartlands are fighting to protect their working conditions. Support them by joining Banner Theatre in celebrating their actions so far.

UNISON members who are Heartland Hospital Porters are currently taking strike action about the proposed imposition of a new rota. This will result in them working detrimental rotating 8 shifts pattern. Continue reading

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New NHS white paper will NOT scrap privatisation

The government used the crisis to increase privatisation – the new NHS White Paper will endorse it, not reduce it. Don’t be taken in by press coverage.

“NHS white paper will NOT scrap privatisation” – exclusive article here from Keep Our NHS Public (by the way the ‘leak’ was to test public opinion, so tell them ‘no’ by whatever means you can).

Don’t believe the new hype that the Government is withdrawing the private sector from the NHS (we will have a post on this next week), says Keep Our NHS Public Birmingham. Continue reading

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XRBrum calls for Free Public Transport – other cities have done it, why not Brum?

Extinction Rebellion Birmingham’s next public action, timed for the Council meeting on 2 February 2021, takes place online due to Covid-19 restrictions. It features “The River”, a sculpture in Centenary Square, by acclaimed Royal Academician Dhruva Mistry. The beautiful statue is seen quoting a recent warning from David Attenborough, in BBC 1’s “A Perfect Planet”, that we do not have any time to spare if we are to fix the life-threatening damage we are inflicting on our own and many other species. Continue reading

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Heartlands Porters Online Strike Rally Monday 1 Feb 6-7pm

Heartlands Hospital porters are on strike from Monday 1st February against the imposed new rotas and face being sacked on that date and/or rehired.

Join the porters and guest speakers LIVE on YouTube at 6pm on 1st Feb to hear first-hand about their fight against ‘fire and re-hire’ tactics by the Trust, and for work-life balance and dignity. Continue reading

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Birmingham faces a Jobs Crisis: we need a Jobs Emergency Task Force

Birmingham and the West Midlands faces an ongoing Jobs Emergency. Just look at the facts:

‘According to calculations by Oxford Economics, Birmingham will be the worst-hit city in the EU due to its dependency on the automotive and education (notably Higher Education Institutions) sectors and a younger than average population. The research indicates unemployment may rise to nearly 10% in Birmingham.’

‘High numbers of claims are also concentrated in certain neighbourhoods of Birmingham. The top 9 wards in the West Midlands Combined Authority that had the highest number of claimants as a percentage of residents aged 16+ in July 2020 are based in Birmingham, with the top three being Birchfield at 17.5%, followed by Lozells at 17.4% and Handsworth at 16.8%.’ [Note] Continue reading

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Online Ward Forums can enable communities to discuss Covid vaccination – let’s use them for the Council’s climate emergency plans too

A week ago we said ‘During Covid, Council and communities need to be talking to each other, but Birmingham’s Ward Forum system is broken. There are supposed to be Ward Forums in each of the 69 Wards, meeting 6 times a year with their councillors. But in 2020 21 Ward Forums never met at all, even online.’

But Lozells is one ward that is showing how it should be done. Lozells held 6 Ward Forums in 2020, in February, March, May, July, October, and in November an ‘Emergency On-Line Ward Meeting in response to the rise in Covid 19 Cases in the ward’. Continue reading

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