OPINION: My thoughts on Birmingham’s budget – Gravelly Hill Councillor Mick Brown

Words by Cllr Mick Brown (Gravelly Hill Ward, Labour & Co-operative) / Pics from Birmingham Labour and Erdington Local archives

As the Councillor for Gravelly Hill, I wanted to give my thoughts on Birmingham’s budget, the difficult decisions that had to be made and the impact the council cuts are likely to have.

As Councillors we have been left will no alternative other than to get the council back on a sound financial footing, but like many of my council colleagues it was with a very heavy heart that I voted for this budget. 

When I talk to Gravelly Hill residents about their concerns over what has happened in Birmingham, there are the four commonly asked questions:

What’s gone wrong here?
I believe that the Council needs to take responsibility for its part in the failings, which include both the ongoing equal pay liability and the botched implementation of the Oracle computer system.  For this reason, I’m backing the call for an independent inquiry so that the people of Birmingham can see that there is accountability for what’s gone wrong here.

The failure to deliver savings in previous years, is a further reason for the need to save £300 million over the next two years. However, much of the savings we have had to find are due to increased costs, and more people needing our services due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Is this just happening here?
While some of this situation is unique to Birmingham, the constant underfunding of local government is an issue for councils up and down the country regardless of political persuasion.  Birmingham has lost over a billion pounds over the last decade, as we are all being hit by inflation and rapidly increased demand for services such as adult social care and childcare services.

What’s been protected?
We will still have millions to spend on services, for example the Council has safeguarded the future of the Wellbeing Leisure Centres, and the aim is to ensure a £1 million fund for youth services across the city. While the cuts are far larger than we would have wanted to have made, with the adult care being cut by 6% and children and young people services cut by 14%; the rising demand for both services means that the amount of money spend is rising despite the budget cuts.

What’s happening next?
We know that the way the council works needs to change, and we need to get better at working with partners across the city. We are going to consult with the people of Birmingham on how you want services to be delivered in your local area, so that we give people the support that they need in the most effective way possible.

As councillors we all have a role to play going forward standing up for our communities and ensuring that the transformation of the Council delivers the better basic services that the residents of Birmingham deserve.

Click here for more from Gravelly Hill Councillor Mick Brown (Labour & Co-operative).

One Reply to “OPINION: My thoughts on Birmingham’s budget – Gravelly Hill Councillor Mick Brown”

  1. I respect Mick Brown and that he has spoken about what in my opinion is a disgraceful misuse of the people of Birmingham’s money over years, this hasn’t just happened recently. You can’t blame the current cost of living crisis for any of a £300 million Labour local government deficit as this started years ago with Labour leadership catastrophic errors. Labour local government have now added to the people of Birmingham’s cost of living crisis with a 21% increase over 2 years in council tax and the biggest cut in city services I have ever seen. And, you have not even covered what the cost is to this city’s Birmingham own builds & assets and green spaces everything effectively up for sale. You are right there has to be a public independent enquiry to show who is responsible in the Labour administration of Birmingham to also understand why this has been allowed to happen and bring those who allowed this to happen to the forefront to.
    Stop pointing the finger of blame at government and point it squarely at Birmingham City’s Labour Council and remember the fact that it is the people of Birmingham who put their faith in Labour by voting them into power that ultimately are now paying the price literally!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *