Whilst Birmingham City Council passed it’s budget back in March, slashing £212 million from its spending, the fight against those cuts did not die there and since then there have been some successful challenges in the courts.
The first of those challenges was brought by users of 3 advice services – the Birmingham Tribunal Unit, the Chinese Community Centre Birmingham and St James Community Support & Advice Centre – and the high court ruled that the funding cuts were unlawful because the council had not carried out an equality assessment or proper consultation.
Funding was reinstated to these 3 groups immediately, and then to 10 other advisory services – including Birmingham CAB – when threats of legal action were made by those groups.
More information on this legal action from Third Sector
This is only a temporary staving off of funding cuts – the council will now carry out equality assessments and consultation to make the cuts lawful, but it gives some breathing space to these services.
The wider picture for similar challenges in the future is not looking great though, with funding cuts threatened to the EHRC and Legal Aid which will make it increasingly difficult for people to challenge through the courts.
A different legal challenge to Birmingham City Council’s cuts also succeeded. This was brought by four claimants whose care was due to be withdrawn following the slashing of the adult care budget.
We reported on this cut in the run up to the council cut demo’s back in February, that care provided to 11,000 adults would be reviewed and that at least 4,000 people who were judged to have “substantial” care needs would have their care removed.
Mr Justice Walker found that the council had ignored provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act when deciding to withdraw this care. This ruling will have implications for all 4,000 adults who are likely to have their care withdrawn.
The Birmingham Post did a great article on this at the time, and on May 12th there will be a public meeting in Birmingham hosted by Disabled People Against Cuts and Right to Work, at which the solicitor who represented the 4 families will speak, along with Linda Burnip (DPAC) and Michael Bradley (Right to Work). More information on that can be found on our upcoming events page, or on their facebook event
Legal challenges to cuts will continue as people work to find ways to challenge decisions in the court that affect services vital to peoples quality of life.
The fight against council cuts did not end with the budget decision in March, it continues in the courts and it continues on the streets.
Come to our demonstration on Saturday 30th May and show support for everyone still facing the brunt of the cuts and to hear speakers talk about where these cuts are hitting.