‘Depressing’ - West Midlands Mayor Andy Street reacts to Birmingham Labour Group better transport demands

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has spoken out about demands from Birmingham Labour Group for a better transport network for Birmingham amid council tax rise proposals
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Birmingham Labour Group’s calls for West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to deliver a better transport network for Birmingham has prompted a swift response.

The party, which controls Birmingham City Council made three demands regarding connectivity in the city: 

  • A tram network extending to East Birmingham
  • Publicly owned buses to connect communities
  • Long term sustainable investment in roads
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Mayor Street hit back at the three demands on social media last night (January 11) by highlighting that the demands are being made amid a proposed 21% Council Tax rise by Birmingham City Council, led by Labour, which was declared effectively bankrupt last September.

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Andy Street described the demands as ‘depressing’. He said: “On the day they announced a 21% Council Tax rise, Birmingham Labour decided playing politics for their mayoral candidate was a priority. It’s just such a depressing way to behave when all the focus surely has to be on their finances & the impact on residents. This is serious.”

Birmingham City Council Leader John Cotton announced that he had asked the government for permission to raise council tax by up to 10% each year for the next two years. The potential 21% overall tax increase over the next two years – something that could mean roughly £400 a year on a Band D property’s bill by April 2025. The council has a £300m gap in its budget over this period – and problems have been compounded by a £760m equal pay bill and an £80m overspend on an IT project. Mr Cotton had previously apologised to the people of the city over the crisis and the council said it was "committed to resolving historic equal pay issues".

The West Midlands Mayor elections are due to be ehld on May 2, 2024. Mayor Andy Street has requested that the office should take on the powers of the Police and Crime Commissioner after west Midlands Police was placed in special measures - a move described as 'undemocratic' by the current PCC Simon Foster.

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Labour's West Midlands Mayor candidate is Richard Parker who has vowed to "build a region that is safe, proud and more prosperous" while accusing Mr Street of “failing working people who are being hit by a never-ending cost of living crisis”.

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