Birmingham City Council protests & extraodinary ‘bankruptcy’ meeting - live updates

Unions protest against Birmingham commissioners taking over Birmingham City Council as a meeting to discuss plans to deal with effective bankruptcy gets underway
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We’re at Birmingham Council House where an extraordinary meeting has been called following a Section 114 notice issued by the authority amid financial crisis.

Protesters from Birmingham Trades Union Council are gathering ahead of the meeting at 6pm to demonstrate against council cuts and job losses.

Protests against government take-over of Birmingham City Council

Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council addresses meeting

Birmingham City Council Chief Executive Deborah Cadman outlines plans for recovery, including a revised budget to be approved at an other extraodinary meeting in late October among other points stated in a report here.

She also repeatedly told how the council must remain committed to equality.

Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Birmingham City CouncilDeborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council
Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council

‘I apologise to Birmingham’ Council leader John Cotton addresses the meeting

Addressing the meeting, council leader John Cotton said: “I apolgise for the people of Birmingham that we are faced with huge challenges. We must now work together to bring about positive changes for our residents, stake holders and the communties that we serve. This meeting will hopefully the start of our recovery,

“We are facing unprecendeted financial challenges, including inflation. the decisons this council are facing are not decisions any council wanted to have to make.

“I have been honest as leader about the need for improvement in this council. We will do everything to protect our citizens and businesses from the challenges to come. I’m determined we will make the decicions need to transform this council.”

Birmngham City Council leader John Cottonm addresses extraodinary meetingBirmngham City Council leader John Cottonm addresses extraodinary meeting
Birmngham City Council leader John Cottonm addresses extraodinary meeting

‘Shameful inaction’ - Birmingham Conservative leader Cllr Robert Alden speaks at meeting

Cllr Robert Alden, leader of Birmingham Conservatives said: “We’ve seen a shameful amount of inaction. But this is a council issue, and the city of birmingham has a bright future ahead of it. the city will rise like phoenix from the challenges its faced with.”

He also stated that the council knew about the equal pay claims for some time. He references a report from 2019 which mentioned ‘significant financial risk’ but that the council kept their eyes closed.

He also urged the council to ‘act now’.

Birmingham Conservative leader Cllr Robert Alden addresses the extraordinary meeting to discuss effective bankruptcyBirmingham Conservative leader Cllr Robert Alden addresses the extraordinary meeting to discuss effective bankruptcy
Birmingham Conservative leader Cllr Robert Alden addresses the extraordinary meeting to discuss effective bankruptcy

‘Impact on residents devastating’ - Lib Dem leader Cllr Roger Harmer speaks

‘The impat on our residetns will be devastating,” began Birmingham Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Harmer as he addressed the meeting.

He spoke of his disappointment, saying the Labour leadership did not accept the blame for the financial issues the local authoirty is facing.

Cllr Harmer continued: “We need to stop the bleed by compelting an evaluation excercise. we’ve already spent nearly three months trying and failing to agree a methodology which is frankly disgraceful.

Birmingham Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Harmer addresses the extraordinary council meeting to discuss effective bankruptcy responseBirmingham Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Harmer addresses the extraordinary council meeting to discuss effective bankruptcy response
Birmingham Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Harmer addresses the extraordinary council meeting to discuss effective bankruptcy response

“We must do everything we can to minimise the time it takes. Why was a 0% risk placed on equal pay claims which were in the budget? If the challenges had been faced up to, we could have cut the size of the total bill and started dealing with it earlier.

“We also need to strengthen the role of scrutiny and make the most of the resources we have on this council and look at how we manage regeneration in this city. We need to look forward and see how we can rise from the ashes - our city has faced grim challeneges before and risen stronger. we must do this again

Council meeting pauses for a break

The extraordinary Birmingham City Council meeting held to discuss its financial distress has been paused for a break, following speeches from political leaders, the Lord Mayor, chief excutive and financial officer.

No exact details of specific asset sales have been discussed - or where job losses could occur - as yet. Although a further extraordinary meeting is due to be held in October. We will bring you further updates from this meeting when it resumes.

‘Worried about the government commissioners coming in’ - Green party Cllr Pritchard speaks

Birmingham Green Party Cllr Julien Pritchard speaks out about his concerns about government commissioners coming in to run the council as he addresses the extraordinary meeting- saying: “Kerslake didn’t work - why should this be any different.” He also urged for parks and open spaces to be looked after.

He added: “What a mess we find ourselves in. This is a real crisis for this council and this city. As well as funding issues nationally, it’s also true mismanagement locally has caused these issues.

“You’re not going to have £760 million in waiting in case of equal liability. There have been other councils across the country who have been dealt similar hands and played it well. This council has played theirs terribly. “

Birmingham Green Party Cllr Julien PritchardBirmingham Green Party Cllr Julien Pritchard
Birmingham Green Party Cllr Julien Pritchard

‘Difficult decisions lie ahead’ - Cllr Majid Mahmood

Labor Cllr Majid Mahmood said: “We can’t shy away from the fact there will be difficult decisions that lie ahead. we have a responsibility to the city of Birmingham. I’m committed to make the most of our support that the commissioners will bring. This isn’t about one party being better than the other, it’s about how we can work together.”

Birmingham City Cllr Majid MahmoodBirmingham City Cllr Majid Mahmood
Birmingham City Cllr Majid Mahmood

‘They should go’ - Conservative Cllr Deidre Alden speaks at extraordinary meeting

Applause in the chamber as Councillor Deirdre Alden, Conservative says: “For years low paid women in the council have been let down by Labour cabinets who haven’t done anything about equal pay.

“Birmingham’s Labour cabinet ought to resign on block for when cuts and job losses start to bite. This is the cabinet which brought our once great city to effective bankruptcy. Lord Mayor, they should go.“

Conservative Cllr Deidre Alden addresses the extraordinary meeting at Birmingham City CouncilConservative Cllr Deidre Alden addresses the extraordinary meeting at Birmingham City Council
Conservative Cllr Deidre Alden addresses the extraordinary meeting at Birmingham City Council

‘Why so many councils can’t balance their budgets?’ asks Labour Cllr Miranda Perks

Cllr Miranda Perks (Lab: Weoley & Selly Oak): “Why is it so many councils issue 114 notices as they can’t balance their budgets? It’s not just a Labour issues. Yes we have equal pay claims, but it’s not causing the deficit.

“I do wonder what commissioners are going to be able to do. Anyone remember levelling up? It quite clearly meant taking money from local of authorities and asking them to continue to provide the same level of services.”

Birmingham Labour Cllr Miranda PerksBirmingham Labour Cllr Miranda Perks
Birmingham Labour Cllr Miranda Perks

‘Worst crisis this council has faced’ - Cllr Paul Tilsley

Veteran Lib Dem Cllr Paul Tilsley CBE explains: “This is the worst crisis this council has ever faced.” He highlighted that the council now had to sell assets, operate with reduced staff, deliver reduced services and incrase council tax.

He added: “The people of Birmingham will suffer due to the decisions, or lack of decisions in the cabinet.”

Birmingham Cllr Paul Tilsley addresses council extraordinary meetingBirmingham Cllr Paul Tilsley addresses council extraordinary meeting
Birmingham Cllr Paul Tilsley addresses council extraordinary meeting