The Birmingham Mail report of the protest, with videos of speakers, can be seen here –
And the email to all 65 Labour councillors is here:
Dear Labour Councillors
The Local Government Chronicle, the newsletter of the Local Government Association, reported in its issue of 18 May that Birmingham City Council’s reserves increased by £95m last year. Parents and supporters of the campaign to save the 14 Council-run day nurseries urge the Council to use some of this money to top up the day nurseries’ budget and cover the deficit.
How much money is needed? The deficit is about £500,000, but this can be significantly reduced by acceptable savings which do not affect the quality of provision, for example, by replacing expensive agency staff by a better use of full-time staff. So the amount needed to save the nurseries, which provide an outstanding service for some of the most socially deprived communities in the city, would be a very small proportion of the extra money that has become available. Parents and supporters of the Save Our Nurseries campaign call on Labour Councillors to use this opportunity to meet one of the top priorities in Labour’s May manifesto: the care and education of those children most in need.
Below are further details from the Local Government Chronicle report.
On behalf of the Save Our Nurseries campaign
Birmingham City Council needed to find £85.1m savings in 2017-18. The original budget planned to use £42.2m reserves to balance the budget. In a report to members of the executive, Birmingham’s corporate director of finance and governance Clive Heaphy says that the council over-spent last year by £20.9m. £16m was used “to fund the waste dispute” (£6.6m) and manage “pension fund strain” (£9.4m). So “in total, £63.1m of reserves were used to structurally deliver the 2017-18 budget, plus £11.7m to fund pension guarantees, which will be repaid from existing budgets in future years.”
According to the Local Government Chronicle,
“Mr Heaphy’s report notes, however, that the overall reserves and balances position increased by about £95m last year. This was “primarily due”, he said, to the council’s decision to change its minimum revenue provision policy, “which generated an unplanned reserve of £98.3m”. The minimum revenue provision is the minimum amount that must be charged to an authority’s revenue account each year for financing capital expenditure. This will have initially been funded by borrowing.
The reserves and balances pot was further boosted by £36.4m contributions from directorates across the council, while a £23.6m repayment relating to NEC pensions costs was also added.
Overall, Birmingham had £335m in its reserves at 31 March compared to £311m on 1 April 2017.”