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Tories offer ‘vision statement’ for Birmingham as Bore and Ward prepare for crunch showdown

Tories offer ‘vision statement’ for Birmingham as Bore and Ward prepare for crunch showdown

🕔13.Oct 2015

Opposition Conservatives have weighed into Birmingham council’s leadership difficulties by accusing the Labour-led authority of starving suburban areas of funding while pumping money into the city centre.

Tory group leader Robert Alden said families living outside of the central core increasingly felt “disconnected” from recent economic growth in Birmingham and were being failed by the council.

His comments came as Labour prepared to face a seventh day of turmoil following the resignation of cabinet member James McKay and group secretary Valerie Seabright, both having urged council leader Sir Albert Bore to stand down.

Deputy council leader Ian Ward returned from holiday last night and was due to meet Sir Albert today for crunch talks amid swirling rumours of further cabinet and scrutiny chair resignations.

The pressure on Sir Albert is intense with the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel due to report to Local Government Secretary Greg Clark on the council’s progress in delivering governance reforms and culture change demanded by the Kerslake Review.

Cllr McKay, in his resignation letter, said the council still does not have a “simple, convincing political vision” that can “inspire citizens, get partners around the table, and be a clear map for how the council itself needs to move forward”.

His comments were echoed by the Conservatives, who have published their own vision statement for Birmingham:

One city which provides aspiration, opportunity and security for all residents, no matter where they are born; through the delivery of world class, cost-effective public services for all residents. Our one city should enable everyone to have the security and comfort of a job and their own home and help everyone to reach their full potential.

Cllr Alden said:

We have a clear vision for the direction Birmingham should be going. Our vision aims to deliver a city in which everyone has the chance to succeed, no matter where they are born.

We want a city which helps deliver residents’ aspirations. For too long residents in some parts of the city have seen no benefit from growth in the city centre and for too many residents in Birmingham it can feel like they live in a different city. Our vision is for a world class Birmingham which feels like one city for all residents.

He added:

Over the last three years Birmingham City Council has been languishing, failing residents as the leadership of the City Council appears to care only about city centre growth. They have pulled almost all funding from suburban areas. This means residents increasingly feel disconnected from the growth in Birmingham. Too many people are being failed by the city council.

Birmingham residents are being let down by the Labour-run council which lacks a coherent vision for our city going forward. Today we are giving the Council the chance to adopt our vision for Birmingham and help get us back on the right track. I hope the council will put residents first, adopting our vision and starting the work of delivering one united city of aspiration, opportunity and security going forward.

The Conservative attack on investment in huge city centre retail projects at the expense of suburban areas of Birmingham repeats long-term accusations levelled at Sir Albert’s administration by Labour backbencher John Clancy, who is expected to challenge for the council leadership should there be a vacancy.

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