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Defiant Albert declares: ‘Council is not as badly run as some think’

Defiant Albert declares: ‘Council is not as badly run as some think’

🕔02.Dec 2015

Sir Albert Bore remained defiant to the end, using his farewell speech as leader to round on his critics declaring the city council “is not run as badly as some people think”.

In a short but passionate address, Sir Albert insisted the council continued to deliver “quality services” despite the impact of Government grant cuts, which will see about £850 million taken out of the budget between 2010 and 2017.

Sir Albert reminded councillors of his long service, 35 years spent representing Ladywood, and twice leader of the council, from 1999 to 2004 and from 2012 to yesterday.

And there was a warning for his successor, John Clancy:

It’s been a privilege to have been leader of this council, not just once but twice.

I have enjoyed the role, which may sound a little masochistic. Twelve hour days have been a little too common, be warned John.

Without seeming to be in denial, I have never believed the city council is as badly run as some people have suggested. Despite massive spending cuts the council has continued to deliver quality services and play a leading role in addressing the economic and social challenges facing Birmingham.

He noted that even Lord  Kerslake, author of the highly critical Birmingham council governance review, has indicated recently that the council is making progress, while the performance of the long-suffering children’s social services department is picking up.

Sir Albert faced head on claims that he spent too much time concentrating on delivering huge city centre regeneration schemes like the Grand Central shopping centre and not enough time investing in the suburbs:

I have been involved in the economic and regeneration agendas for much of the 35 years I have been a councillor. There is much I am proud of across the city and not just in the city centre.

Birmingham has seen many changes and taken many steps forward. Sometimes it is easy to forget how far we have come in restoring the pride of this city throughout the UK. I would like to think I have made a small contribution to Birmingham’s future.

He said he was proud of the first decision his cabinet took in 2012 to introduce a living wage policy for all employees, which the council is trying to spread across the city through the charter for social responsibility.

New leader John Clancy led fulsome tributes to Sir Albert:

Sir Albert will be remembered deep into our history in this city as one of its finest servants. He has shaped its politics, its physical and economic landscape and given his life to this city. We thank you Sir Albert for your tireless service.

In his terms as leader, in his leadership of the Economic Development Committee before he has without doubt left a legacy, an lasting imprint upon this city of which he can be proud, the Labour Party can be proud and this city council can be proud. We can all see much of what he leaves behind. He built great things.

But, you know, while we often associate Sir Albert with economic development and in physical buildings, he has built much more than that. It may come to pass that what most in this city will remember him for is something else.

The proudest moment of my political career was not three minutes ago when I took on this leadership role. It was when, led by Sir Albert, I voted for the Living Wage in this city. That is building, too.

That has built hope, has built security, has built honour in this city and we should never forget that in addition to all the physical building and economic building. In this city he built the Living Wage.

Conservative opposition leader Robert Alden reminded councillors that “I was not even born” when Sir Albert began his long political career. Cllr Alden said Sir Albert’s record on economic development would stand the test of time.

Liberal Democrat leader Paul Tilsley also praised Sir Albert’s successful attempts to regenerate the city centre, pointing out that since most of the central core is in Sir Albert’s Ladywood ward, there was a double benefit to the council leader in concentrating on that area.

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