Birmingham City Council protests & extraodinary ‘bankruptcy’ meeting - live updates
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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
‘John Cotton is certainly bold’ - Cllr Ewan Mackey
Cllr Ewan Mackey (Con: Sutton Roughley) says: “John Cotton is certainly bold” - claiming that the council leader knew about the equal pay liability claims earlier than he has said in previous interviews.
‘City of a thousand cuts’ - Cllr Lee Marsham
Cllr Lee Marsham (Lab: Nechells): “The hardworing staff at the council, we understand how you feel and the uncertainty of the 114 notice. We take responsibility as a council and how we got here needs to be looked at.
“We need to learn and reflect on these findings. Birmingham has had £bn pounds taken away from us. To a city of a thousand trades to a city of a thousand cuts.
“The government and its appointed experts now have an opportunity to work with us and make sure our residents are put first. The polls strongly indicate that people want Labour leadership and Labour values.”
‘It’s embarrassing’ - Cllr Ayoub Khan
Cllr Ayoub Khan (Lib Dem: Aston): “There is sound evidence demonstrating that the Labour administration knew about this crisis in 2017. They knew and did absolutely nothing.
“They were proud of the Commonwealth Games. But now, for this massive bankruptcy we’ve fallen into. People ask how did a council as large bankrupt itself.
“It’s embarrassing for me as a councillor. The captain of the ship must take responsibility. Each of the cabinet members of that administration must have been in the know. It’s shocking to hear the words ‘an opportunity arises’ - there is no opportunity here. It’s a crisis.”
‘We need investment’ - Cllr David Barker
Cllr David Barker (Lab: Brandwood & Kings Heath) spoke of the importance of the city’s cultural assets not been sold off as a way of easing the council’s financial burden.
He said: “There isn’t enough to sell or cut to fix this. We need investment. We can look at the government’s community ownership fund to save community assets, and if the Conservatives did that it would make a far greater impact to residents in Birmingham.”
‘I have confidence in the leadership’ - Cllr Liz Clements
Cllr Liz Clements (Lab: Bournville & Cotteridge: ”I have confidence on the leadership of Birmingham’s Labour Group. They have welcomed the help which has been offered by the Government.
“We have apologised to the women workers who have been underpaid. We can’t allow this continue. We also apologise to residents. We are reassuring them that the basic services will continue to be delivered.”
‘Such a sad meeting’ - Cllr David Pears
Cllr David Pears (Con: Sutton Trinity): “In 25 years of being a councillor, I’ve never attended such a sad meeting. Do nothing and you end up with a section 114 notice which is why we’re here today.
“Half of Sutton is owned by property services, which may now have to be sold off. Pot holes in Sutton Lane - it’s been advised there’s now a delay in addressing these because of the notice, which means they’ll get bigger.”
‘Darkest days of our city’ - Cllr Richard Parkin
Cllr Richard Parkin (Con: Sutton Reddicap) describes these as the ‘darkest days for our city’. He said: “The council has been publicly humiliated over the last few weeks, it’s a council in name only.
“The council leader has provided a half-hearted apology and despite the smoke screens, this administration has effectively no one else to blame.
“Lack of funding has never been the reason for break down The council remains incapable of facing up to the solutions for the future. The only activity taken was when the council leader jumped on a plane (to New York) when the section 114 notice was issued. “
‘We can be a better council’ - Cllr Sharon Thompson
Cllr Sharon Thompson (Lab: North Edgbaston) said: “We can be a better council as we reset and refocus.”
‘We need a better Birmingham - Cllr Rob Pocock
Cllr Rob Pocock (Lab: Sutton Vesey): “We need to build a better Birmingham which is more street wise and more efficient and more in touch with its local communities, to modernise and to improve.
2We are committed to pursuing this. We all share responsibility at this point for improving this city. We would welcome constructive contributions from the Conservative group so we can all play a part for this city. We can build a better Birmingham by bringing about the reforms we all know need to be made here.”
Councillors vote on the report
Birmingham City Councillors voted to accept the Section 114 notice issued on September 5 in which it effectively declared itself bankrupt.
The also voted to accept further recommendations put forward in the report this evening which were:
To continue spending control meausures; endorse activity towards finaincial recovery; and to agree to a futher report and revised Emergency Budget for 2023/24.
This concludes our live blog for this evening. Thank you for joining us.