Birmingham’s Labour Party Group have today announced that there will be extra cuts in next years budget, likely to be around £50m on top of the £70m already known about. This will cost at least a further 1,000 full time jobs at the council at a time when unemployment continues to rise in the region. £600m will need to be cut from the budget by 2017 – nearly 50% of the discretionary spending that Birmingham City Council had before the financial crisis.
Activists hold a quick picket of the council house at lunchtime after the announcement of further cuts
Speaking on BBC Radio West Midlands this morning, Albert Bore, leader of the Labour Party Group, said this was due to further cuts in grants being made by Eric Pickles, the local government secretary and because previous cuts hadn’t delivered the anticipated savings. He said this signalled “the beginning of the end of local government as we know it”.
You can listen to Albert Bore on iPlayer from 2hr 15min of the Adrian Goldberg show this morning.
Whilst acknowledging that the effect of the cuts will be “horrendous” and bad for Birmingham residents, neither Albert Bore nor the Labour party are actually opposing the cuts, repeating that mantra that we have no choice but to cut. Instead they should be attacking austerity as a policy that is failing to reduce the deficit, has taken us back into recession and is hurting hard working people of the UK. He should be arguing for alternatives to the cuts, for instance arguing for increased spending to create the 70,000 extra homes Birmingham needs by 2026.
The further loss of jobs at the council, in addition to the 4,000 full time posts already gone, could not come at a worse time for a city whose unemployment problems are so bad the government cannot even manufacture falling employment figures using forced unpaid workfare placements.
Charlie Friel, a shop steward for Connexions said:
Further cuts in funding for our careers advice service and other council departments are going to hurt young and vulnerable people in this city, where youth unemployment has continued to rise despite falling nationally.
Tom from Birmingham Against the Cuts added:
Austerity is a failing policy, and increased cuts will only act to hurt vulnerable people in this city with the closure of services such as libraries and childrens’ homes a very real threat. The council needs to be speaking out against central government policy and not simply implementing it without a fight
Ravi Subramanian, UNISON Regional Secretary, said
Losses of up to 1000 full-time jobs have been mentioned which will not only be devastating for those individuals and their families but also for the services that the community relies on.
This will have further devastating effects on our local economy, which is already suffering due to the Government’s failing austerity measures.
The booing of Ed Milliband at Saturday’s huge TUC demonstration against Austerity shows that people in the UK want complete opposition to cuts, and a real commitment to alternative economic policies to produce growth that is focused on creating an environmentally sustainable economy.
Albert Bore will be doing a live webchat between 6:30pm and 7:30pm tonight, do join him and ask what he’s going to do to oppose these cuts for the people of Birmingham.
There will be consultations in November and December before announcements are made for exactly what is going to be cut in next years budget.
Whilst the council is not taking part in the opposition to central government cuts that is required, we need to be taking action. The next meeting of Birmingham Against the Cuts is on Monday 12th November and we will have a speaker from the FBU talking about fire service cuts. We are also planning a demonstration for the Autumn Budget Statement on Wednesday 5th December, when further cuts to government spending will be announced.