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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council