Protest against council budget cuts scheduled to take place

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An alliance of community campaigners and unions are set to hold a rally in Birmingham city centre to “demand an end” to council budget cuts.

The Labour-run council has found itself in an alarming financial predicament and recently voted to go ahead with an enormous wave of cuts to local services – as well as a 10 per cent rise in council tax.

The scale of the unprecedented cuts have sent shockwaves throughout the city, sparking a number of protests and local campaigns to save services such as libraries.

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Now a rally is set to be held in Centenary Square at midday on Monday, May 6, as part of the ‘Brum Rise Up’ movement.

Protest against council budget cuts scheduled to take placeProtest against council budget cuts scheduled to take place
Protest against council budget cuts scheduled to take place | ldrs

Last weekend, community campaigners, organisers and unions gathered for a public meeting to discuss their coordinated resistance to the cuts and discuss the next steps of the campaign – one of which will be the rally on Monday.

Birmingham People’s Assembly, a political organisation involved in the movement, said they are demanding “a reversal of the cuts and the devastation they will bring” as well as a plan for the “restoration of jobs, services and culture.”

They are also calling for the city’s assets to be protected and a plan for the government to increase council funding across the country.

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Local branches of Unison, the National Education Union, and Equity, the union for the performing arts and entertainment industries, are among those promoting the campaign.

Birmingham City Council’s leader has previously warned it must deliver its worrying budget proposals amid community pushback – or potentially face further misery.

“We’ve got some challenging stuff we need to deliver on but we’ve got to make sure we do deliver,” Cllr John Cotton said last month.

“We’ve got to rebuild the financial stability of the council because if we don’t do that, we won’t be able to continue to provide the kind of decent, basic services that people in this city need and rely on.”

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The latest protest comes after the crisis-hit council unveiled its path for recovery, with a recently-published plan offering a glimpse into how it intends to undergo a “fundamental reset”.

Speaking at a meeting of the city council during a debate on the recovery plan, Cllr Cotton said last month’s budget was passed with “heavy hearts”.

“And we’re not, by any stretch of the imagination, out of the woods yet,” he warned. “We must redouble our efforts to deliver on that budget while also undertaking the work that’s already begun to set next year’s equally challenging budget.

“We will not succeed by simply fixing what is broken – instead what we’ve got to do is to fundamentally change as an organisation.”

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The council has found itself struggling with its finances due to a perfect storm of issues including Birmingham-specific factors, such as an equal pay fiasco and the disastrous implementation of a new IT and finance system, as well as the rising demand for services and the impact of years of austerity.

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