Birmingham anti council cut campaigners make four key demands - here they are

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Hundreds join the Brum Rise Up rally against Birmingham City Council cuts

On a sunny bank holiday afternoon, a huge crowd of campaigners from different backgrounds were all united by the same mission as they gathered in Birmingham city centre.

The ‘Brum Rise Up’ rally on Monday (May 6) saw hundreds demand an end to Birmingham City Council budget cuts, with protesters calling for libraries, youth services, the arts and more to be protected.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The movement has been described as a coordinated resistance to local services being slashed in Birmingham and could represent a significant development in the pushback against the city council’s plans.

The Labour-run council recently voted to go ahead with an enormous wave of cuts, as well as a 10 per cent rise in council tax, after finding itself seriously struggling with its finances.

Ben Sellers, national secretary at the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, was one of the speakers who addressed the crowd in centenary square that afternoon and slammed the Conservative government for its role in the crisis. “We’ve seen over the last few weeks the austerity chickens coming home to roost,” he said.

Brum Rise Up rally against Birmingham City Council cutsBrum Rise Up rally against Birmingham City Council cuts
Brum Rise Up rally against Birmingham City Council cuts | LDRS

He also urged Birmingham councillors to take a stand with the campaigners, saying: “For too long there’s been a feeling amongst many councillors that they can manage the cuts. Too many stood apart from the anti-cuts campaigners when in fact they should have been standing alongside us.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“As The People’s Assembly, we would like to see councillors in the chamber arguing for an alternative to these devastating cuts and also outside standing with us to help build this anti-austerity movement.”

With the Brum Rise Up movement set to rumble on in the coming weeks and months, the Birmingham branch of The People’s Assembly has made the following key demands:

  1. A reversal of the cuts and the devastation they will bring
  2. A plan for the restoration of jobs, services and culture
  3. A plan to protect assets
  4. A plan for the government to increase council funding across the country

However, 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”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The latest protest comes after the crisis-hit council unveiled its path for recovery, with a recently-published plan providing insight into how it intends to undergo a “fundamental reset”. “We will not succeed by simply fixing what is broken – instead what we’ve got to do is to fundamentally change as an organisation,” Cllr Cotton said at a recent meeting.

The council’s alarming financial situation is down to 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 funding cuts.

Cllr Cotton has previously argued that mistakes made in Birmingham had not “occurred in a vacuum” and that councils across the country are facing a perfect storm of smaller budgets but higher costs.

Conservative politicians meanwhile have pointed the finger at the Labour administration of the council, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak previously arguing that the local authority had mismanaged its finances.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.