Pay deals for each Birmingham City Council commissioner - and who is funding them amid ‘bankruptcy’

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has appointed six commissioners and two political advisors to run Birmingham City Council following its effective bankruptcy

Six government commissioners and two political advisors have been appointed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to run Birmingham City Council following its Section 114 notice declaring effective bankruptcy.

The political advisors are experienced Labour politicians - John Hutton a Labour peer and former defence secretary; and John Biggs a former mayor of Tower Hamlets in London.

The six government commissioners will oversee a five year recovery plan for the Labour-run authority. They are expected to “advise and challenge” the council with their extensive powers, including the ability to amend budgets and appoint and sack senior staff, although most day-to-day decisions will be taken by the current management.

Birmingham, one of the largest local authorities in the UK, has £760m of liabilities for equal pay claims, a £100m bill to fix IT problems and a projected budget deficit of £87m this year. Government funding cuts have shrunk its annual spending by £1bn over the past decade.

It now faces painful decisions as it attempts to stabilise its finances. It may be forced to sell off land and high-profile assets, such as the city library and its museum and art gallery. There are likely to be big cuts to services, many staff redundancies, and a large rise in council tax bills.

The team is headed up by Max Caller, who has become the government’s go-to expert in recent years when it has intervened in local councils, having led recovery teams in Slough and Northamptonshire which were both declared effectively bankrupt.

Following the announcement of his appointment by Michael Gove, Mr Caller told the BBC: “Birmingham got itself into this mess and it is Birmingham that has to get itself out."

Each of the six commissioners have received a letter from the DLUHC Deputy Director for Local Government Stewardship Max Soule outlining their pay deals. You can see how much each commissioner is being paid below.

The letter also clearly states that “it is the Authority’s responsibility to meet these costs”. It is estimated that the total bill will be as much as £1.5m annually - so could cost up to £7.5m in total.

Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr John Cotton and Chief Executive Deborah Cadman have vowed to work constructively with the commissioners, saying in a joint statement: "Our sole focus now is on working with the commissioners in a collaborative way to meet the immediate challenges and set the Council on the journey to long-term sustained improvement.

"That work is already underway and the expert input from the commissioners will be invaluable as we work to transform the council and get the budget back on track."

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