‘I don’t have a magic wand’ - Mayor reacts as Birmingham City Council announces Budget cuts

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street speaks out as Birmingham City Council unveils budget papers including council tax rises, cuts to services and asset sales
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Birmingham City Council published its Budget papers in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday, February 20) outlining a raft of stringent cuts to services, asset sales and council tax rises.

In a briefing on Monday (February 19) the Labour-run council explained that it intended to cut £150m from its budget in 2024-25 and the same amount in 2025-26. Early reports show that council tax bills are due to increase by 21% over the next two years as the council looks to make £300m savings.

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Meanwhile street lights are to be dimmed, waste collections are to become fortnightly while burial costs will increase. Adult social care will be cut by £23.7m in the next financial year, while the Children's Young People and Families department will be forced to find £51.5m savings.

Birmingham City Council has also announced that it must sell off £1.25bn of assets to repay a government bailout loan. Exactly which assets could be sold to repay the debt has not yet been finalised. It is expected that 600 jobs will be lost a the council.

West Midlands Mayor Andy StreetWest Midlands Mayor Andy Street
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

The council effectively declared itself bankrupt in September 2024 following issues around equal pay claims and the installation of an IT system. Commissioners have been appointed by the government to help run the council as a result of the financial challenges.

Meanwhile an independent report from HS2 says that the high speed rail project is expected to boost the West Midlands economy by £10bn over the next ten years, with house building and developments, including the Peaky Blinders Studios.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street reacts to Birmingham City Council’s ‘depressing’ budget

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Posting on X, formerly Twitter, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, a Conservative, spoke out about the “dark day that sets the city back”. He also offered some hope, saying that he has stepped in on critical projects to keep the city’s future alive, including the Hippodrome expansion and 2026 European Athletics Championship.

He said: “The headlines from Birmingham’s budget are so depressing, laying bare the scale of the damage the council’s leadership have inflicted on this great city & its residents. A dark day that sets the city back, just as we thought we had turned a corner and were on the rise again.

“And once again it’s citizens picking up the pieces. Innocent taxpayers set to fork out a lot more for a lot less. It’s so wrong that so many have been put in this position through no fault of their own. I don’t have a magic wand, but I’ll continue to do all I can to help.

“I’ve tried to keep public transport fares low, keep investment flowing, and refused to introduce a mayoral tax. I’ve also ensured we step in on critical projects to keep the city’s future alive - such as the Hippodrome expansion & the 2026 European Athletics Championship.

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“I know that doesn’t make up for the millions being cut from youth services or from adult social care. Truthfully, I’m not sure anything will. But I promise to keep working with the commissioners & doing what I can to help. We must not let this sorry episode define our city.”

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