Tag Archives: council

Communities Against The Cuts Launches Election Bid

On Saturday, Communities Against The Cuts launched it’s election bid, standing candidates in Kings Norton and Bournville wards on an anti-cuts, pro-nhs stance.
The group has formed out of Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts, following their multiple successes in the area over the past year to prevent the closure of vital services.

Amongst Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts’ successful high profile campaigns have been:

Communities Against The Cuts are a local party that offer an alternative for those who feel that the ConDem government and opposition parties do not represent them.
As you can see from their home-made shopfront, they are not a party of millionnaires and don’t have kitchen suppers with wealthy donors.
What they do have is a passion for our communities, belief in a better alternative to austerity, and a willingness to take action and do something about it.

Chris Hughes, candidate for Kings Norton said:

Birmingham City Council has been all too eager to impose vicious cuts on the most vulnerable people in our communities, instead of going back to its pay masters and saying, the people who are hurting because of these cuts are not the ones who created this financial crisis and should not be the ones made to pay the price.

What the Council should be demanding from Government is that all austerity measures are reversed and a growth plan implemented with the introduction of an alternative budget, which includes a bankers tax, scraping of trident and withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan, and investing in green jobs, housing, schools and a future for our youth

You can find out more about Communities Against The Cuts on their websitevia twitter, or by visiting them at 1 Bournville Lane, Stirchley.

If you want to get involved with the election campaign, and help to get committed grass roots candidates to fight for local services in the council chambers, then pop into their shop office and have a chat – whether you have 5 minutes or an hour to spare, there will be something you can do.

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Reports and Photos from Saturday’s Leisure Service Privatisation Activities

Saturday saw many places around Birmingham hold stalls and petition sessions against the planed privatisation of Birmingham’s Leisure Services.

Moseley Road Baths


Stall held by Friends of Moseley Road Baths

Sparkhill

Sparkhill and Springfield Against the Cuts was Joined by Campaign to Save Sparkhill Baths. Some Local people took away petition sheets. Thanks to Friends of Moseley Road Baths for supplying the leaflets. We left Slogan posters on the baths & on an Olympics Poster for passersby to see.

Northfield

There was overwhelming support for the protest and petitioning session outside Northfield Baths on Saturday morning, organised by Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts. Passers-by and pool users were queueing up to sign and take our leaflet. They were made aware of the no-consultation plans to privatise all of Birmingham’s leisure services and how this could lead to higher prices, cuts in its personnel and a reduction of access. As an example of what is in store, Harbourne’s New Baths and Leisure Centre is run by D C Leisure Management (annual turnover of £95 million). Are they doing this out of sheer altruism, or is there something in it for them? And if the latter answer is yes, what right do they have to syphon off public money for their own profits? And will there not be pressure to increase profits and prices as time passes? And what about democratic control of such resources by the people who pay their taxes and pay to use the facility? What is the point of electing Councillors if they have no say over local resources?

It is clear from the response to our petitioning session that the Council will have a fight on its hand if it intends keeping on with this retrograde step. We will do everything in our power to stop it.

It would be good to hear that the Labour Party will immediately reverse such measures if and when it takes power in the Council in May. It would also be good to see the local Labour Party at our next protest.

As well as campaigning against this privatisation in Northfield, our leaflet also highlighted the funding crisis of the local CAB and the intention to close Millmead Children’s home in Bartley Green. The field of operations of Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts seems to be widening ever further. It is looking like Northfield and Longbridge will soon need an anti-cuts group of its own.

Handsworth

Handsworth against the Cuts activists were busy petitioning at the Handsworth leisure centre on saturday 10th march and sunday 11th march.People -especially young people- were encouraged to write their own message to Birmingham city council, and we had a great response( the sunny weather helped).
Handsworth Against the Cuts also held a stall on Friday, you can read about it in this post.

More photos from the weekends activities are on our Facebook Page, and future events about leisure service privatisation or other anti-cuts and anti-austerity issues can be found on our upcoming events page.
If you want to get involved with this campaign, please contact your local group or email BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group, Sparkhill & Sparkbrook Against the Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Save Millmead Road children’s home!

Millmead children’s home was opened in 2004 to help young people to prepare for life after care. In the home, young people aged 15½ – 17 can learn the skills they need to live on their own.

Young people leaving care are some of the most disadvantaged in the city. They are over-represented in the prison population and among the homeless and more likely to be unemployed.

Yet despite this, the council are determined to push on with their program of cuts. They want to shut the doors by March 31st.

We know that with the support of local people, staff and residents we can win a campaign to save the home, just like staff and parents at Charles House respite centre who won their recent campaign to stay open.

The council have given two reasons they want to close the home:

Under capacity?

The council says the home is under capacity, having only 2 young people living there at the moment. But since autumn 2011 they have put a block on sending any young people to live at Millmead Road.

Subsidence?

The council have said that subsidence repairs would be costly. But they have refused to pay for a full survey on what looks like a small crack in the wall.

Council representatives told a recent residents’ meeting the home would be used for students after March 31st, without the need to carrying out any repairs.

We believe that young people should not be thrown to the lions at 16, left to survive in hostels with no support.

Please help us save this valuable service for young people in Birmingham.

Save Millmead Road campaign

What you can do:

· Sign the petition and take a copy for your friends, neighbours and colleagues to sign.

· Get some leaflets for your street

· Write to the local MP Gisela Stuart (Labour)

stuartg@parliament.uk

· Join us in lobbying the Bartley Green councillors:

March 7th, 7:30pm at Long Nuke Hall, Long Nuke Road, Northfield

Get in touch with the joint campaign: 07828 013 091 stirchleyanticuts@gmail.com

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Today Birmingham City Council Will Vote Through £100m Of Cuts – Here’s What We Won And What We Are Losing

Today from 2pm, Birmingham City Council meet to debate and vote on the budget for 2012/13. Over the last 6 months, consultations have been ignored or sidelined by the ConDem coalition locally, in favour of rushing through as many cuts as possible before they lose control of the council at the local elections in May.
With over 200 pages and £100m of cuts being made, we’re not going to list everything here. The complete budget is available here. If anyone wants to tell us about a particular cut that is going to affect you, or that you are aware of, please do so, either by email (BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or by commenting on this post.
Many of the cuts announced still have consultation processes to go through or complete. Through the consultation process and alongside lobbying, demonstrations and where applicable strikes, with the support of the people who need the services being cut, we can stop some of the cuts.
But if we are to stop all of the cuts, then we need to be changing things at both national and local level, arguing for the alternative to cuts, and resisting cuts through action on the streets.

Anti-cuts and anti-austerity events take place every week in and around Birmingham. We do our best to list all of them on our upcoming events page. Through mass action we can change things – right now the workfare schemes are in huge trouble, and the Health and Social Care Bill (NHS reforms) has gone from looking like a lost battle to fully on the rocks, as healthcare professionals line up to condemn the bill.
Join Us.

Here is some of what has been won and lost in this years budget.

1,200 jobs are expected to be lost – in addition to the 4,800 that have already gone as £100m gets slashed from Birmingham City Council’s budget – taking the total to over £300m. Just over half of the £500m Barclays are being made to repay from a tax avoidance scheme.

Adults and Communities

118 jobs will be going in home care, as the council cuts back the services to only be available for people immediately upon leaving hospital. Anyone else receiving home care will be forced into the private sector.
269 jobs will be lost in adult education. It is not at all clear what this will actually mean, or where the jobs are. However, at times of rising unemployment, it can never be good to lose the people who might be able to help retrain and give people skills.

Shelforce

80 jobs to be lost as this business which provides supported employment for disabled adults, and until recently produced a profit for the council, is still looking to be closed. The fight to keep it open and get the council to invest in the business so it can return to profitability continues, and this is not definitely lost yet.

Homes and Neighbourhoods

Library services are being cut. No libraries will close, but most are seeing their hours reduced.

Handsworth library – originally earmarked to only be open 3 days per week, will now open 5 days per week after a campaign by local group Handsworth Against the Cuts. They were not able to restore Friday openings unfortunately.

As reported yesterday, Leisure services are to be privatised in a £200m outsourcing operation. Handsworth Against the Cuts began petitioning last week, and we are organising a day of action on Saturday 10th March to build awareness of this move. All our local groups will be arranging petitioning sessions – if you can join them, let us know. If you want to hlep in your area and there is no local group, we have petitions and are making leaflets, and can try to put you in touch with other people in your area.

Children, Young People and Families

100 jobs have been saved, for now, at Connexions (although their budget was already reduced by around 40% last year). The council have agreed to continue the service, hoping that they will be able to raise money by selling their skills into schools. Connexions used to supply services directly to schools from their budget, but now if schools want careers advisers, they have to pay for them out of their budget.
This is an example of how the government is cutting education budgets by the back door, but it is also an example to show us why we need to oppose all cuts – this move is simply looking to shift the cut from the council budget to the schools budgets. Only by ending the austerity agenda and implementing alternatives to the cuts can we truly defeat this cut.

I have saved the most maddening cut for last.
£6.7m is to be cut from the Childrens’ placement budget. This covers looking after children who are taken into care. It is also an area that is still under consultation, in part thanks to the campaigns that have saved Charles House and Cambourne House.
Two other houses have been earmarked as facing closure: 56 Millmead Road and Mulberry House.
Closing care homes means needing to rehouse the children who live there.
The council say this will be done by increasing fostering.
But at the same time they are cutting the adoption and fostering budget by £1m.
The alternative is to pay the private sector or other local authorities to look after the children concerned. Last time the council closed Childrens homes, it increased costs by 41%.

Through concerted actions by parents and campaign groups, Charles House and Cambourne House were saved – these were respite homes for disabled children, rather than homes for children in care. Many of the children in care will not have parents who will fight for them. It is up to the residents of Birmingham to ensure that they are properly looked after, and to come together as a community to protect and help some of the most vulnerable citizens, who are also too young to have a voice at the ballot box.

The consultation on the childrens’ placement budget is ongoing. We will be campaigning on this, and we need support – especially if you live near a care home. Please get in touch with us if you want to be involved.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Birmingham City Council Plans to Sell Off Leisure Centres

A group of Handworth Against The Cuts activists did a stall and petition at Handsworth Leisure centre this Sat 25 th Feb. Well over 200 signatures were collected and people took away leaflets and petitions to distribute around their communities. There was anger, concern and astonishment about BCC’s secret plans to sell of all the Leisure Centre.

The petition can be signed inside the Leisure centre, children are encouraged to sign as well!. There is potentially a big campaign possible around this- the leisure centre and free activities are much used and much prized in the area. More campaign stalls and activities are being planned. All are welcome and encouraged to join in!
Contact NoCutsHandsworth@btinternet.com
—–

.Here is BCC’s application in the European Journal:

UK-Birmingham: sports facilities operation services
2012/S 24-039329
Contract notice
Services
Directive 2004/18/EC
Section I: Contracting authority
I.1)Name, addresses and contact point(s)
Birmingham City Council, Corporate Procurement Services
PO Box 10680, Lancaster Circus
Contact point(s): https://in-tendhost.co.uk/birminghamcc
For the attention of: Corporate Procurement Services
B4 7WB Birmingham
UNITED KINGDOM
Telephone: +44 1214648000
Fax: +44 1213037322
Internet address(es):
General address of the contracting authority: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk; http://www.finditbirmingham.gov.uk
Address of the buyer profile: https://in-tendhost.co.uk/birminghamcc
Electronic access to information: http://in-tendhost.co.uk/birminghamcc
Electronic submission of tenders and requests to participate: http://in-tendhost.co.uk/birminghamcc
Further information can be obtained from: The above mentioned contact point(s)
Specifications and additional documents (including documents for competitive dialogue and a dynamic purchasing system) can be obtained from: The above mentioned contact point(s)
Tenders or requests to participate must be sent to: The above mentioned contact point(s)
I.2)Type of the contracting authority
Regional or local authority
I.3)Main activity
General public services
I.4)Contract award on behalf of other contracting authorities
The contracting authority is purchasing on behalf of other contracting authorities: no
Section II: Object of the contract
II.1)Description
II.1.1)Title attributed to the contract by the contracting authority:
Sport and leisure facilities framework.
II.1.2)Type of contract and location of works, place of delivery or of performance
Services
Service category No 26: Recreational, cultural and sporting services
Main site or location of works, place of delivery or of performance: Birmingham UK.
NUTS code UKG31
II.1.3)Information about a public contract, a framework agreement or a dynamic purchasing system (DPS)
The notice involves the establishment of a framework agreement
II.1.4)Information on framework agreement
Framework agreement with several operators
maximum number of participants to the framework agreement envisaged: 4
Duration of the framework agreement
Duration in years: 4
Estimated total value of purchases for the entire duration of the framework agreement
Estimated value excluding VAT: 200 000 000,00 GBP
II.1.5)Short description of the contract or purchase(s)
Through the sport and leisure service Birmingham City Council strives to raise the quality of life and health of its citizens and to enhance its reputation as one of the UK’s leading sporting cities. We want to work with organisations that support the Council’s vision for an excellent leisure service. Birmingham City Council is undertaking a competitive dialogue process to identify organisations to be appointed to a framework agreement. The scope of this framework could comprise a mixture of the following provision in relation to any or all of the City’s leisure related facilities: design, build, repair, refurbish, finance, operate and maintain. All contracts will need to be awarded within the framework period of 4 years but contracts placed under the framework may have a duration of between 10 and 15 years or less where appropriate. The first contract to be awarded through this framework will be the design, build, operate and maintain contract in relation to Sparkhill Pool and Fitness Centre. Under this procurement organisations will be required to participate actively in the economic and social regeneration of the locality surrounding the place of delivery. Accordingly contract performance conditions may relate in particular to social and environmental considerations. TUPE may apply to staff engaged in services which are the subject of contracts awarded under this framework agreement. The Council’s leisure facilities which may be the subject of contracts awarded under the framework include, but are not limited to, the following:
— Alexander Stadium,
— Beeches Pool,
— Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre,
— Castle Vale Pool,
— Cocks Moor Wood Leisure Centre,
— Erdington Pool,
— Fox Hollies Leisure Centre,
— Handsworth Leisure Centre,
— Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre,
— Kingstanding Leisure Centre,
— Linden Road Leisure Centre,
— Moseley Road Pool,
— Nechells Sports Centre,
— Newtown Pool,
— Northfield Leisure Centre,
— Saltley Leisure Centre,
— Shard End Leisure Centre,
— Small Heath Leisure Centre,
— Shenley Court,
— Sparkhill Pool and Leisure Centre,
— Stechford Cascades,
— Stockland Green Leisure Centre,
— Tiverton Road,
— Wyndley Leisure Centre.
The estimated maximum total value of the framework is GBP 200 000 000 which includes the indicative value of contracts up to a maximum of 15 years. This estimate will be subject to the outcome of the competitive dialogue process. Birmingham City Council will be using its e-tendering system (In-tend) for the administration of this procurement process and providers must register with the system to be able to express an interest. The web address is https://in-tendhost.co.uk/birminghamcc.
Registration and use of In-tend is free and all correspondence for this procurement must be via the In-tend correspondence function. However, if you are unable to register with the website please either email us at cps@birmingham.gov.uk or call 01214648000.
II.1.6)Common procurement vocabulary (CPV)
92610000, 92620000
II.1.7)Information about Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)
The contract is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA): yes
II.1.8)Lots
This contract is divided into lots: no
II.1.9)Information about variants
Variants will be accepted: no
II.2)Quantity or scope of the contract
II.2.1)Total quantity or scope:
II.2.2)Information about options
II.2.3)Information about renewals
II.3)Duration of the contract or time limit for completion
Duration in months: 48 (from the award of the contract)
Section III: Legal, economic, financial and technical information
III.1)Conditions relating to the contract
III.1.1)Deposits and guarantees required:
The Contracting Authority reserves the right to require deposits, guarantees, bonds and/or other forms of appropriate security.
III.1.2)Main financing conditions and payment arrangements and/or reference to the relevant provisions governing them:
This will be included in the tender documents.
III.1.3)Legal form to be taken by the group of economic operators to whom the contract is to be awarded:
Joint and several liability.
No special legal form is required but in the case of group bidders the authority requires that a prime service provider assumes primary liability for the group and that each organisation in the group accepts joint and several liability.
III.1.4)Other particular conditions
The performance of the contract is subject to particular conditions: yes
Description of particular conditions: When executing the contract in the UK the successful tenderer will be required to comply with the recommendations of the code of practice for the elimination of Racial Discrimination and the promotion of Equality of Opportunity in employment published by the Commission for Racial Equality.
The successful tenderer will be required to participate actively in the service related economic, social and environmental regeneration of the locality of and surrounding the place of delivery for the procurement.
Accordingly, tender evaluation and contract performance conditions may relate in particular to social, economic and environmental considerations.
III.2)Conditions for participation
III.2.1)Personal situation of economic operators, including requirements relating to enrolment on professional or trade registers
Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met: As set out in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ).
III.2.2)Economic and financial ability
Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met: As set out in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ).
Minimum level(s) of standards possibly required: As set out in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ).
III.2.3)Technical capacity
Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met:
As set out in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ).
Minimum level(s) of standards possibly required:
As set out in the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ).
III.2.4)Information about reserved contracts
III.3)Conditions specific to services contracts
III.3.1)Information about a particular profession
Execution of the service is reserved to a particular profession: no
III.3.2)Staff responsible for the execution of the service
Legal persons should indicate the names and professional qualifications of the staff responsible for the execution of the service: no
Section IV: Procedure
IV.1)Type of procedure
IV.1.1)Type of procedure
competitive dialogue
IV.1.2)Limitations on the number of operators who will be invited to tender or to participate
Envisaged number of operators: 10
Objective criteria for choosing the limited number of candidates: As detailed in the pre-qualification questionnaire.
IV.1.3)Reduction of the number of operators during the negotiation or dialogue
Recourse to staged procedure to gradually reduce the number of solutions to be discussed or tenders to be negotiated yes
IV.2)Award criteria
IV.2.1)Award criteria
The most economically advantageous tender in terms of the criteria stated in the specifications, in the invitation to tender or to negotiate or in the descriptive document
IV.2.2)Information about electronic auction
An electronic auction will be used: no
IV.3)Administrative information
IV.3.1)File reference number attributed by the contracting authority:
S0034
IV.3.2)Previous publication(s) concerning the same contract
no
IV.3.3)Conditions for obtaining specifications and additional documents or descriptive document
Time limit for receipt of requests for documents or for accessing documents: 12.3.2012 – 17:00
Payable documents: no
IV.3.4)Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate
16.3.2012 – 12:00
IV.3.5)Date of dispatch of invitations to tender or to participate to selected candidates
IV.3.6)Language(s) in which tenders or requests to participate may be drawn up
English.
IV.3.7)Minimum time frame during which the tenderer must maintain the tender
IV.3.8)Conditions for opening tenders
Section VI: Complementary information
VI.1)Information about recurrence
This is a recurrent procurement: no
VI.2)Information about European Union funds
The contract is related to a project and/or programme financed by European Union funds: no
VI.3)Additional information
Organisations wishing to be considered for a tendering opportunity must express their interest on In-tend by no later than 5pm on 12.3.2012 and download the pre-qualification document. This must be completed and uploaded onto In-tend no later than 12 noon on 16.3.2012. The questionnaire provided by the City Council will ask suppliers / service providers to indicate their economic and financial standing, technical ability and appropriate skills, efficiency, experience, reliability and provide satisfactory policy and documentation for race relations, health and safety and sustainability. The information provided in response to this questionnaire will be used as part of a pre-tender evaluation in order to select a shortlist of potential suppliers / service providers to be invited to tender. Where consortia or.
Group of organisations wish to express an interest in this project, each organisation responsible for the provision of requirements will be expected to complete a questionnaire. This tender process will be conducted using BCC’s e-tendering system ‘in-tend’. The portal for this system is https://in-tendhost.co.uk/birminghamcc. Providers must register with the system in order to access documents. Registration and use is free.
VI.4)Procedures for appeal
VI.4.1)Body responsible for appeal procedures
VI.4.2)Lodging of appeals
VI.4.3)Service from which information about the lodging of appeals may be obtained
VI.5)Date of dispatch of this notice:
2.2.2012

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, petition

Victory at Connexions as Unison Campaign Secures Jobs and Services

Over 100 staff at Connexions had good news yesterday after hearing that Birmingham City Council have backed down and withdrawn the threat of redundancies, stating that there will not be any more cuts to this vital service in the coming financial year. We hope that whoever is in power following the council elections in May will provide a continued commitment to Connexions.

Connexions gives help and advice to young people who are unemployed and are looking for work, college or training. They also help young homeless people, pregnant teenage girls and teenage parents.

UNISON argued all along that to make cuts to this service when youth unemployment is at an all-time high and still rising was morally wrong, reckless and irresponsible and finally Birmingham City Council have listened.

UNISON Convenor Charlie Friel said

This is really good news for our members who been put the emotional wringer by this council for over 18 months. It’s a victory for our members, it’s a victory for common sense and it’s victory for the young people of Birmingham.

Graph shows youth unemployment from 1992 to October 2011 - since October, youth unemployment has continued to rise and in January 2012 was at 22%

We are really pleased to hear this news, which has come about through months of campaigning, multiple strike days and media pressure on the council. At a time when youth unemployment is at record levels, it is madness to close the service which helps young people to find work or training.
Youth unemployment nationally stands at 22%, but with Birmingham having some of the highest areas of unemployment in the UK, and being the youngest city with over 1/3rd of people under 25, it is expected that youth unemployment locally is higher.
Of course, this comes too late to save offices in Handsworth (unemployment: 21.7%), Erdington (unemployment: 12.9%) and Kings Heath (unemployment: 12.5%). We wait to hear if the planned closures of offices in Northfield (unemployment: 10.1%) and Yardley (unemployment: 10.4%) will go ahead.
Unemployment rates are for the parliamentary constituency which the office is in, and the data is taken from this parliamentary report from January 2012. Nationally the unemployment rate is around 8.4%, whilst the average for the 9 Birmingham constituencies is 12.8% – around 50% more than the national average, which suggests youth unemployment may be over 30% locally.

So more good news for 2012. Now we need to work from this to getting commitments the following the local elections, Connexions offices around Birmingham will be re-opened in order to help people in some of the hardest hit parts of the UK to find work and gain new skills.

source for youth unemployment graph

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Filed under Birmingham City Council

Citizens Advice Bureau in New Funding Cut Difficulties

Last year, Birmingham City Council cut its £600,000 funding to Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), which handles around 120,000 enquiries each year on a wide range of issues including employment, debt, benefits and immigration problems.

For many people, especially those experiencing financial problems as a result of the financial crash, recession and now austerity measures, CAB provide a lifeline with independent advisers ready to help people to sort out their problems in a way which is right for them rather than the banks or energy companies they owe money to.

The outcry over the potential closure of all offices, saw central government step in with £500,000 whilst Birmingham City Council agreed to a meagre £50,000 of funds to allow the CAB to continue its services.
Even so, the CAB made 6 staff redundant, and closed its office in Handsworth, which has the highest level of unemployment in the UK. Now again the whole service is under threat. Financial Inclusion Manager Flo Betts said:

Because of this fresh funding crisis our services are going to significantly reduce.

We will have to reduce our opening hours and we will no longer be in a position to help advise people who come in with all manner of problems from consumer issues, housing problems, employment issues, adoption queries to boundary disputes.

We feel like the charity is living on a knife edge at the moment.

Ultimately it will take just one more cut in funding for us to have to close our offices altogether.

CAB have launched an appeal to the public to try to raise £8,000 a month to keep their service running. We call on the council to set a needs based budget for 2012/13, and to restore the funding CAB needs to continue it services which are all the more vital in times of economic difficulty.
Join us on Tuesday 7th, from 5pm, to lobby the council at its full meeting.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Events

S.O.S: Save Our Shelforce

Shelforce is a supported factory that has been providing employmentfor adults with disabilities for over 27 years.
Shelforce is a manufacturing facility that produces PVCu and aluminium windows and a range of other products. Employment gives disabled people a positive focus in their lives and prevents them from becoming entrenched within their disability. They achieve a sense of pride and a feeling of holding a meaningful place within society.

For many years Shelforce has been generating a surplus for Birmingham City Council (BCC). However, due to a lack of support from BCC in developing the business and securing contracts, both internal and external to the council, Shelforce is now unable to trade to its full potential.

Shelforce is a unique supportive environment which caters for the development and support requirements of individuals who have various disabilities, including learning, physical, sensory and mental health. Shelforce as a supported factory does not focus on disability, it concentrates on ability which has proven to become a model that has succeeded in providing meaningful employment for disabled people.

As a career recently said

Shelforce was a last chance for my son to stay in employment as he had tried to work for external employers and it did not work out purely because there was a lack of understanding around disability and not enough support was available to cater for my son’s needs”

The sad reality is that if disabled employees lose their jobs at Shelforce they will probably never gain employment again.

Unison and the Shelforce members call upon the council to show a commitment to positive disability employment by continuing to invest in Shelforce and Forward 4 Work.

You can support them by writing to:
Councillor Alan Rudge
Council House
1 Victoria Square
Birmingham
B1 1BB

Or email your local councillor through Write to Them.

Join us and Shelforce on Tuesday 7th Feb from 5pm for the lobby of the council meeting, at which they will discuss next years budget, which is expected to make over £100m in cuts, instead of investing in services & business like Shelforce and the people who work for them.
Attend and invite on our facebook event

Here is a model letter you can use:

Dear Councillor

I am writing to you in support of the staff and service users at Shelforce and Forward 4 Work.

I understand it is the council’s intention to close or cut the services in these areas and put disabled people out of work.

I would call on you to support the staff and services they provide at these sites by rejecting any proposals leading to cuts in training or employment for disabled people.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts

Kings Heath Connexions Closes As Unemployment Rises

Kings Heath saw the closure of its Connexions office today, the latest in a programme of cuts that has already seen the closure of offices in Handsworth and Erdington, covering two parliamentary constituencies with the highest unemployment rate in the UK.
Offices in Yardley and Northfield will follow suit soon, leaving just a single office on Broad Street in the city centre to cover the whole of Birmingham’s young peoples’ needs for career and training advice.
Connexions will no longer be in schools either, it will be down to the schools to find money in their budgets to pay for careers advice for their pupils – an example of how this government is squeezing schools budgets whilst still maintaining that they are not cutting funding.

The latest office closure came just the day before the latest unemployment figures were announced with over unemployment rising nationally by 118,000 people, to 2.6 million.
In the West Midlands, the unemployment rate is now 9.2%, and amongst youth that figure is higher.

Over 1,000,000 young people are looking for work at the moment, and in Birmingham, the service which has helped them to find work and training is being closed.
This kind of cut is madness. Unemployment is rising, so we close the services that help people to find work and training, and instead send them on workfare “work experience” schemes that provide free labour for large businesses.

It’s time to end the cuts, and implement the alternatives to austerity. Invest in our economy, create real jobs and growth, to end the deficit and ensure that people do not pay for the bankers gambling habits.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Kings Heath & Moseley Against the Cuts

Lobby of Council Meeting, 7th Feb

Birmingham City Council’s next full meeting is on Tuesday 7th Feb, from 2pm to around 6pm-7pm.
At this meeting the budget for 2012/13 will be discussed. This budget will contain over £100m of cuts, in addition to the £212m cut from the current year.
After the sham of a consultation process, at which numerous motions were passed (and seemingly ignored) condemning the cuts, and calling for any level of cuts to be matched by cuts to the pay and expenses of senior council officials and councillors, it is important that we attend the meeting and continue to pressure the council over cuts. The budget will be voted on in March.

We will hold a demonstration outside the council house, and put as many people as possible in the public gallery. Last year, the gallery was full very early on and remained that way through the meeting.
Please Attend and invite on our facebook event

At this meeting we will also hand in our library petition.

The demonstration will begin at 5pm, when we will be joined by Shelforce workers and supporters, and we will be there until the meeting finishes (which may be at 6pm, but is more usually between 6:30pm and 7pm), so come and join us after work.

If you are free for the afternoon though, why not go and sit in the gallery and make sure your opposition to cuts is known to all in the chamber.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Events