Tag Archives: council

Occupation and Demonstration Greet Labour Councillors Meeting To Vote On Budget Cuts Proposal

feb 4 demo (2)The Labour group met yesterday to agree internally their budget proposal which accepts the £110m of cuts to the council budget as a result of the Tory coalition slashing central government grants. The full council meets on Tuesday 26th February to discuss and vote on the proposals put forward. In protest at the cuts and the Labour group’s decision to implement them on behalf of the Tory coalition, 20 people occupied the council house balcony from lunchtime until 6pm, and a demonstration of around 200 people marched up New Street to the council house where the meeting took place. There was coverage of these actions in The Birmingham Mail and BBC Website.

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Filed under Alternatives to Cuts, Events

Cuts debate is stifled (Letter in Birmingham Mail)

An edited version of this letter was printed in the Birmingham Mail yesterday:

Dear Editor

Can I encourage your readers to go to the final City Council budget consultation meeting on Tuesday 18th. They should ask Albert Bore if his May 2012 election pledges are being implemented. One of Albert’s pledges was

“Ten of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships” (emphasis in the orginal) but in October he announced and repeated yesterday at the Yardley consultation meeting is that he is making redundant a thousand people in the Bham City Council.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts

Albert Bore – Join Us In Opposing Austerity

Albert Bore bemoans “the end of local government”. However he was aware when elected that the coalition government intended to destroy the services on which people in Birmingham and other cities depend. The question is what he intends to do to stop this.

He talks as if handing over leisure, sport, culture, libraries, and youth provision to the profiteers is already a done deal. No one in Birmingham has voted for this or supports it. [Everyone knows that privatised Harborne baths is the most expensive in the city to use.] Update: That Harborne baths is more expensive is in fact a myth, as Martin Mullaney has drawn our attention to in the comments below. Apologies for our mistake.

Birmingham against the Cuts certainly intends to continue to oppose all cuts or privatisation of services , whether those provided by central government, local government or the health service. We will use all means at our disposal including court action, propaganda, mass activity, and civil disobedience.

If Albert and the Labour Council want to join us they are welcome. They are the council elected by the people of Birmingham and they do not have to go down this road. But if they continue to do the coalition’s dirty work destroying our services we will fight them and we are sure many people in the city will support us.

Perhaps Albert can start by finding the £120,000 necessary to keep open the CABs in Northfield, Tyseley and Kingstanding.

Godfrey Webster, Secretary, letter to the Birmingham Mail, printed Monday 5th November.

Birmingham against the Cuts


Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts

Consultation Begins On Closure Of 5 Children’s Homes

Birmingham City Council have begun constulation over the possible closure of five childrens homes in Birmingham, as part of the cuts to the council’s 2012 budget.

The homes are Chamberlain Road in Billesley, Fountain Road in Harborne, Kings Lodge in Oscott and South Acre and Viscount House, which are both in Dudley. GMB say their closure will cost 170 jobs, and the council expect to save £3m.

However, the last time they closed children’s homes it ended up costing 41% more with some of the most vulnerable people in Birmingham being sent to care homes hundreds of miles away from their city.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Coun Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children and family services, said:

For the vast majority of looked-after children, it is far better they grow up in a settled family environment as this improves their life chances, both emotionally and in terms of educational achievement.
However, there will be a small number whose needs are better suited to residential care and we will be concentrating our resources in fewer children’s homes in order to focus on the needs of these young people.

Tom from Birmingham Against the Cuts said:

The council expect an increase in fostering to cover for the loss of homes for children in care, but they are also cutting the budget for fostering by £1m so it’s not at all clear how they think this will happen. Nonetheless, they have set an “ambitious target” to increase the number of foster families by 50% – from 600 to 900 in order to cover the loss of these 5 homes. When this doesn’t happen, they will instead pay far more to house these children far away from the city they have grown up in, something which may have a devastating affect on someone who really needs stability and security in their life.

Recent threats to close Charles House and Cambourne House were seen off following campaigns led by parents and supported by local anti-cuts activists. Both these houses provided respite care for disabled children – the big worry with the homes now under threat is that the children in care who will be affected do not have parents that will campaign for them.
It is therefore even more important that their communities – the people of Birmingham – stand up and stop these closures, to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our city.

If you leave near any of the homes under threat, please write to your councillor and ask them to explain how they expect to house these children with foster parents whilst also cutting the fostering budget, and why they think this move will not end up costing more money, as it did last time Birmingham City Council closed children’s homes.


Filed under Cuts

Communities against the Cuts Public Meeting

Labour’s Plans for Birmingham and our Alternative

Wednesday 27th June. 7.30pm Cotteridge Church Centre.

Communities Against the Cuts meeting, with a speaker talking about Labour’s plans for Birmingham following the local elections where Labour took control of Birmingham City Council, and to look in detail at what the response should be.

There is the commitment to give wage rises for several thousand Council employees and the right to ask a question at full Council meetings. But there is also the decision to hold the District committees (renamed from Constituency Committees) in the Council House at 10am in the morning. So much for devolution!

Communities against the Cuts stood candidates in the recent local elections who promised to vote against public service cuts if elected.

They will also be discussing our work against academies and benefit cuts.


Filed under Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, Uncategorized

2012 Birmingham Local Election Results – Labour Gain Control of Council

The local elections yesterday delivered the expected result, as Labour take control of the council after 8 years of ConDem coalition.
Of the candidates who replied to our pledges, Lisa Trickett won in Kings Heath & Moseley, Brett O’Reilly won in Northfield and Uzma Ahmed won in Bordesley Green. We look forward to Brett & Uzma fulfilling the pledges they signed and Lisa following through on the statement she made opposing leisure service privatisation and promising to support Connexions and young people in the city.

A list of results by ward is available from the Birmingham Post

Perhaps the most surprising result came in the Sutton Coldfield Vesey ward, where Labour won, taking a Sutton seat for the first time in over 60 years, so we are told. In that seat, the Conservative candidate won by 700 votes in 2011, this year the Conservative Candidate lost by over 800. This is not a direct comparison since the Conservative candidate was not the same person both years but it shows a huge swing against the Conservatives, who polled 1,400 fewer votes.

Over the country we see Tories and Liberal Democrats losing seats and councils, and in Bradford, Respect followed through their by-election result, gaining 5 of the 12 seats they fought including the seat of the Labour Leader in the city. In Birmingham, Communities Against the Cuts had respectable votes coming close to the Lib Dems in both Bournville and Kings Norton after just 5 weeks of campaigning. This, along with the low turnout, shows that voters are rejecting the mainstream parties and looking for alternatives as the economy continues to stutter.
Thankfully the BNP have done badly at the local elections, suggesting that the far right is failing to gather support in the UK but we must be vigilant and push our message of economic and social justice for all people. We have to continue to present ourselves as the alternative to the mainstream parties and be confident in our rejection of austerity and our proposals for alternative, sustainable, economic management.

What we are seeing is a rejection of this coalition, of their disastrous economic policies that have seen rising unemployment, real wages falling as inflation stays high, we are back in recession and the deficit is not falling – the CBI even predict the deficit will rise this year. Meanwhile the people who are paying for this economic failure are those who can least afford it – swingeing benefit cuts hitting people with disabilities, workfare undermining minimum wage work and failing the unemployed, working tax credit cuts for working class families, VAT rises whilst the top rate of tax falls.
Food, fuel and rent are all rising, but wages are not keeping up – and if you are on low wages claiming housing benefit then you might find that you can no longer afford your home under the new Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules.

Austerity Isn’t Working. Let’s pressure the new Labour controlled council here to take that message to central government, to fight for the people of Birmingham and against the economic agenda of the ConDem coalition, and to let their own national party know that saying these cuts are too far and too fast is not enough – we must reject cuts and austerity in favour of investment and employment.


Filed under Birmingham City Council

Videos from PCS Local Election Candidate Question Time

PCS held a question time session earlier this week with representatives from parties standing around Birmingham. PCS also asked candidates to sign pledges, and unsurprisingly, many of the questions are focused on cuts.


Filed under Birmingham City Council

Local Election Pledges Returned

In advance of the forthcoming Birmingham City Council Elections on the 3rd May Birmingham Against the Cuts wrote to all candidates for their position of 5 pledges:

  • To support the campaign to oppose the privatisation of our leisure services (as advertised in the European Journal), and to work to ensure that no other public services are privatised, outsourced, or mutualised.
  • To support the campaign to oppose any reduction in local library services (including opening hours)
  • To support the campaign to oppose any closures in our Children Homes, Nurseries and Sure Start centres
  • To support the campaign to oppose the reduction in Connexions and Youth Services by working to re-open offices for young people in the areas of highest unemployment and arguing to reinstate pre 2008 funding levels as youth unemployment reaches record levels.
  • To support the campaign against public service job cuts and to ensure quality public services are delivered to those in need. I will fight for the services women, disabled people, black people, LGBT people, young people and elderly people rely upon as they are disproportionately affected by the cuts.

The following candidates have signed up to all 5 pledges:

ACOCKS GREEN, Ben Rubery, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)
ACOCKS GREEN, Chris Whitehouse, UK Independence Party (UKIP)
BORDESLEY GREEN, Uzma Ahmed, The Labour Party Candidate
BOURNVILLE, Lynne Habermacher, Communities Against The Cuts
HANDSWORTH WOOD, John Tyrell, Socialist Labour Party
HANDSWORTH WOOD, Malti Dhiman, Liberal Democrat
KINGS NORTON, Christopher Hughes, Communities Against The Cuts
KINGS NORTON, Ged Hickman, Green Party
LADYWOOD, Hazel Clawley, Green Party
NORTHFIELD, Brett O’Reilly, Labour Party Candidate
SHELDON, Alan Crawley, Green Party
SOHO, Shangara Bhatoe, Socialist Labour Party
SPARKBROOK, Peter Tinsley, Green Party
SUTTON TRINITY, Ulla Grant, Green Party

No responses were received ANY Conservative Party candidates

It is disappointing that only two responses were received from the whole of the Labour Group who are currently in ‘opposition’ to the current Con-Dem coalition but are only have 6 seats from having an overall majority in the Council.
(since posting this, a third response has been received)

For more details of their responses, including further comments please check out the spreadsheet here. If you cannot open an XLSx file, you can read additional comments made by candidates by clicking here

Update: the 2 Labour candidates who signed our pledges won their seats, as did Lisa Trickett who repleid with a statement.

In addition a statement was received on behalf of the following Green Party Candidates

ACOCKS GREEN, Amanda Baker, Green Party
ASTON WARD, Ankaret Harmer, Green Party
BARTLEY GREEN, Adam Round, Green Party
BILLESLEY, Anna Masters, Green Party
BORDESLEY GREEN, Huw Davies, Green Party
BOURNVILLE,Joe Rooney, Green Party
BRANDWOOD,Jane Bradshaw, Green Party
EDGBASTON, Bill Van Marle, Green Party
ERDINGTON WARD, David Owen, Green Party
HALL GREEN, Charles Alldrick, Green Party
HANDSWORTH WOOD, Hugh Williams, Green Party
HARBORNE, Phil Simpson, Green Party
HODGE HILL, Anne Okole, Green Party
KINGSTANDING, Tony O’Sullivan, Green Party
LONGBRIDGE WARD, Susan Pierce, Green Party
MOSELEY AND KINGS HEATH WARD, William Lilley, Green Party
NECHELLS WARD, Janet Assheton, Green Party
NORTHFIELD, Kirsty Axe, Green Party
PERRY BARR, Coline Marriott, Green Party
QUINTON WARD, Peter Beck, Green Party
SELLY OAK, David Toke, Green Party
SHARD END, Tracie Hammond, Green Party
SOHO, Steven Austin, Green Party
SOUTH YARDLEY, Rianne Ten Veen, Green Party
SPRINGFIELD, Ian Jamison, Green Party
STECHFORD & YARDLEY NORTH, Eric Fairclough, Green Party
STOCKLAND GREEN, Elly Stanton, Green Party
SUTTON FOUR OAKS, David Ratcliff, Green Party
SUTTON NEW HALL, Samantha Winsper, Green Party
SUTTON VESEY, James Orford, Green Party
TYBURN, Lee Moore, Green Party
WASHWOOD HEATH, John Bently, Green Party
WEOLEY, Ross Axe, Green Party

Dear Godfrey and Caroline

Thank you for your letter about the cuts planned by this council in the delivery of our public services. As the ONLY party standing across the whole of Birmingham committed to delivering high quality public services publicly we are delighted to back all your pledges. With elected Green Party Councillors at County and City level in Norfolk the Green Party has been leading the way in saving Youth Services across the County in spite of the cuts of all central governments. In Brighton again we are fighting to resist the joint actions of Labour and Conservatives who want us to cut these vital services. These are the actions of Green Party councillors that you can expect if we are elected in Birmingham on 3rd May.

Whilst some of our candidates may wish to respond to you individually not all are able to do so. Please take this response from all of us in Birmingham Green Party.

We look forward to your members support on 3rd May.

Phil Simpson, Co ordinator Birmingham Green Party

Lisa Trickett, who is standing the Kings Heath and Moseley ward for the Labour Party has replied with a statement of general support. The attached spreadsheet will be updated asap.

Come along to the Birmingham Against the Cuts meeting tonight 6pm at the PCS union office, New Oxford House, 16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham B2 5UG. There will be an opportunity to discuss the responses we have received. PCS have also invited us to attend their Candidates Question Time event at the Council House 6:30 – 8:30. All parties have been invited – this will be an opportunity to challenge the political parties and candidates over these issues.


Filed under Uncategorized

Communities Against The Cuts, March/Rally and Social on 27th April

Communities Against The Cuts, who are standing candidates in the Kings Norton and Bournville wards for the council elections on May 3rd, are holding a rally and march, followed by a social event on Friday 27th April.

The rally, demonstrating against cuts in the wards concerned and to raise the profile of their candidates, meets at 5:30pm outside Kings Norton Leisure Centre, where speakers will talk about the effect of cuts on local services, before proceeding along the Pershore Road to the Cotteridge Neighbourhood Office, where Stirchley and Cotteridge Against The Cuts began their campaign, and then to the Stirchley Community School to hear about the privatisation of our education services.
The march will finish opposite Stirchley Library, at the group’s campaign offices.

After the rally, they will go across the road to the British Oak for a social event with music and comedy from No More Numbers, The Inebriati and Barbara Nice.
The social event begins at 7:30pm and you are welcome to come to that whether you can make the rally or not. Entrance to the event is £5 / £3 concessions.

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Filed under Events, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Pledge Letter Sent To All Council Election Candidates

We’ve written to candidates standing for the local council elections, asking them to make 5 pledges. We will post on this website in the last week of April the responses that we’ve had, to help you to make a decision about how to vote.
This is the letter we’ve sent:

Please support 5 election pledges from Birmingham Against the Cuts in the May 2012 elections

Dear prospective councillor for Birmingham City Council,

We are writing on behalf of Birmingham Against the Cuts (BATC). We are an umbrella anti-cuts campaign group formed by Birmingham Trades Union Council. There are now local anti-cuts groups in all major local areas in Birmingham. BATC is supported by all of the major trade union branches in the city and work closely with Disabled People Against the Cuts and a range of social movements, community groups and organisations.

BATC are not affiliated to any political party however as the Birmingham City Council election approaches the question over political representation on the issues our members and supporters are concerned about becomes ever pressing.

In our most recent organising meeting it was decided that we should write to all prospective councillors from all political parties (with the exception of fascist and far right organisations) standing in the 2012 election to ask their position on 5 key areas we are campaigning over currently. We are therefore doing so, inviting you to pledge your support for the following issues:

  • To support the campaign to oppose the privatisation of our leisure services (as advertised in the European Journal), and to work to ensure that no other public services are privatised, outsourced, or mutualised.
  • To support the campaign to oppose any reduction in local library services (including opening hours)
  • To support the campaign to oppose any closures in our Children Homes, Nurseries and Sure Start centres
  • To support the campaign to oppose the reduction in Connexions and Youth Services by working to re-open offices for young people in the areas of highest unemployment and arguing to reinstate pre 2008 funding levels as youth unemployment reaches record levels.
  • To support the campaign against public service job cuts and to ensure quality public services are delivered to those in need. I will fight for the services women, disabled people, black people, LGBT people, young people and elderly people rely upon as they are disproportionately affected by the cuts.

Please complete the attached matrix on our 5 pledges making any additional remarks as you see fit to help our members make an informed choice in the May elections. All responses (including a lack of one) will be published on the Birmingham Against the Cuts website and circulated to thousands of activists and supporters across the city to help inform their decision in the forthcoming election. Please return your responses by Friday 20th April.

BATC supports the initiatives taken by trade unions in the city to make representations on policies and issues affecting their members, we will also be encouraging our members and activists in local anti-cuts networks in various wards around the city to write to you with any other issues of concern to them.

On behalf of Birmingham Against the Cuts, I wish to thank you for taking the time to respond to our request and welcome your assistance in our endeavour to ensure our members and activists can be as informed as possible on the issues they care about at the ballot box.


Filed under Birmingham City Council