Monthly Archives: February 2013

Birmingham Trades Council Meeting On Deficit Budgets – March 7th

mayday_BTUC_BannerBirmingham Trades Council March meeting will be on the subject of council cuts this month, with Clive Heemskerk from TUSC talking through the legal process of setting a deficit/needs budget, and Jolyon Jones from East Birmingham Against The Cuts talking about the cuts to social care services.

Thursday 7th March 2013
7.30pm

Rooms 3 & 4 The Council House, Victoria
Square, Birmingham B1 1BB

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Birmingham Council Have Voted Through £102m Of Cuts – Today’s Blockade And Demonstration Is Not The End

Council Cuts 2013 day of action (2)Birmingham City Councillors on their way to approve £102m of cuts made by the national Tory/Lib Dem coalition found their way blocked this morning by scores of protesters at the entrances to the council house, demanding that they stand up and fight austerity rather than meekly voting these cuts through.

It is not right to say we should have “fair cuts” – no cut is a fair cut. Unless we stop austerity entirely, not cutting one thing just means cutting something else. Austerity is failing to deal with our economic problems, with the government deficit rising – over £5bn higher in 2012 than 2011, it is time for change.

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Alchemy And Children On The Edge Of Care

feb 26th front for facebookBuried deep in the Budget for Birmingham, at page 177 (PDF link, listed as page 200 on left sidebar), are some eye watering future savings under the heading of Remodelling and integration of preventative and targeted services. Rising from £3.312m in 2013-14 to £9.833m in 2015-16. There is nothing else to compare in the mass of
Directorate spread sheets of cuts and savings and very little by way of narrative to explain this huge amount of money.

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Another Black Hole In The Making

The budget proposal for Children’s Residential services could not be more opaque. A £1.6m cuts target has been set against Birmingham’s Children’s Homes in the Draft Budget going to the Council meeting on the 26th February but any decisions on service closures will be deferred against the outcome of two service reviews which could report as late as December 2013.

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‘A massive and hugely detrimental effect on the welfare and mental health of children’ – effects of cuts to the Voluntary sector projects

The proposed cut of £4.4m to the Community and Voluntary sector organisations providing preventative children’s services is the largest single cut within next year’s Children and Young People’s budget and will halve the available funding. According to Council sources the cuts that would affect 5,500 children including some children receiving services based on a Child Protection Plan.

There was strong and vocal opposition to these cuts through the Budget consultation, which is confirmed by the Council’s write up of the feedback, ‘the cuts here received the largest negative balance of all proposals and they were strongly opposed at all the public meetings.’(PDF p3) And 59% of people responding online disagreed with these particular cuts.

The Council were also warned that the severity of these cuts would threaten the capacity and viability of some Voluntary sector organisations at a time of growing need.

The Council’s response to the consultation has been to re-designate the heading of the cut and carry on regardless.

The Draft budget proposal states that

The nature of the proposal has been clarified. It does not just apply to the voluntary sector but to a broader range of externally provided services.

There will be a structured review of all providers and an assessment in relation to the delivery of priorities, value for money and added value.

(PDF, p8 of Part 3: feedback from consultation)

VCS organisations were notified that they might be decommissioned before Christmas, and although there is the possibility of some limited new funding through the reallocation of some Public Health monies many projects remain under threat. These include the Barnardos’ Amazon and Arch Projects and the Stepping Stones Arch Project.

The Barnardo’s Amazon project provides counselling and support services to young people who have been sexually abused. The Arch projects provide important preventative and early intervention services to young people who may be vulnerable to or starting to experience some mental health difficulties, what is known as Tiers 2 and 3 interventions.

The cuts to these services which promote the mental health of young people need to be seen alongside the cuts of £1.43m to the CAMHs service which works with young people with acute mental health problems. The consultation response from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which is commissioned to provide CAMHs, sets this out with crystal clarity:

The proposed cut for 2013/14 alongside the dramatic cut to Voluntary sector funding (£4.3m) across the City will have a massive and hugely detrimental effect on the welfare and mental health of children, young people and families in Birmingham.

This cannot be under estimated and all the good work, early intervention and treatment developed over the last 10 years for the well-being of Birmingham’s children will be lost and the City will revert back to what minimal service provision existed many years ago.

(PDF, p1)

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communitiesagainstthecuts

The Council house has cancelled a booking for the discussion meeting against the huge cuts being made to Birmingham Council services. It was planned for Monday 25th February, in the Banqueting Suite. This meeting, organised by Communities Against the Cuts, various women’s groups, the Birmingham Trades Union Council, Birmingham Against the Cuts, student unions and others, aimed to discuss the effect of the cuts on Birmingham’s people, and women in particular, and to provide an opportunity for citizens to talk to their Councillors.
Communities Against The Cuts had been printing and distributing thousands of flyers, but have now been left in the cold by the Council who have cancelled their booking – which was to cost £800 – just a week before the meeting was due to be held.
The cancellation of this meeting is a continuation of an utterly undemocratic budget process throughout. The four consultation meetings that took place last…

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A Choice Between Birmingham’s Millions and Birmingham’s Millionaires: Public Meeting, 25th Feb

feb 26th front for facebook

UPDATE: Birmingham City Council have cancelled the booking for this meeting – add your name to the letter of protest

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