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Sport and culture to “take centre stage” under Labour

Sport and culture to “take centre stage” under Labour

🕔18.May 2012
Runers in the Mens 100m Final at the Aviva 201...

Birmingham’s new city council leadership has hit back at claims that a restructuring of cabinet roles left no one with direct responsibility the provision of sporting and cultural facilities.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of the controlling Labour group, said he would take personal control of leisure, sport and culture strategy and two other cabinet members would be involved in day to day decisions.

And he attacked the outgoing Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition for failing to secure any major international sporting events for Birmingham after 2012, claiming that the administration had “run out of steam”.

His comments came after leading Liberal Democrat Martin Mullaney said it was a mistake to get rid of the cabinet post for leisure, sport and culture, which he held until losing his council seat on May 4.

Sir Albert (Lab Ladywood) insisted that arts, culture and sport would “take centre stage” in Birmingham under his control and announced details of a summit meeting bringing together arts and sporting organisations across the city.

The remit of the meeting will be to see how the city council and its partners can encourage the development of arts, culture and sport in Birmingham.

The summit will also be asked to examine how the leisure sector can be an attraction for inward investment and the creation of jobs and career opportunities.

Giving details about how the new cabinet system would work, Sir Albert explained that deputy council leader Ian Ward will oversee the city’s arts, culture and sport budget, with the cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting & Improvement, Stewart Stacey, ensuring that the arts and sport budget is effectively used by organisations receiving council grants.

Labour’s radical devolution plan will ensure that many decisions about arts and sports funding are made at a local level in District Committees, Sir Albert added.

Sir Albert said: “Over the last few years the steam has run out of the city council’s commitment to arts, culture and sports.

“We are not making the best of the many opportunities inherited from the past. For example we have not one major international sporting event planned for the city in the years beyond 2012.  We need to start working now to attract visitors and create jobs.

“We know there has been growing frustration amongst those who value arts and sports across the city. Our summit will give them an opportunity to advise the council on how we can reinvigorate the cultural and sporting life of the city.

“Labour has created a unique structure where three members of the cabinet have arts and sports promotion as part of their portfolios, and with District Committees given the opportunity to develop arts and sports as they see fit for their local communities.

“This is a new era and we want to work in partnership with those who have knowledge and expertise in these fields.”

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