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From apocalypse to zilch: 2013 the age of austerity

From apocalypse to zilch: 2013 the age of austerity

🕔01.Jan 2013

Another year over and a new one just begun.

But what does 2013 have in store for Birmingham City Council?

Consult the Chamberlain Files A to Z crystal ball to discover what’s over the horizon.

A – Apocalypse. Don’t panic, but it’s the end of local government as we know it according to Albert Bore, the Labour leader of Birmingham City Council since May 2012. To quote Albert, the Chancellor’s austerity drive means that 2013 will be spent deciding how to scrap rather than improve services.

B – Bobby Alden. Deputy leader of the council Conservative group, scion of the Alden clan, young Bobby has been flexing his muscles recently. Don’t rule out the possibility of Alden taking over as Tory group leader in May.

C- Council tax benefit. Birmingham has decided to pass on a 10 per cent cut in Government funding, unlike a number of other Labour local authorities. This means that the city’s poorest families will no longer qualify for full benefit and be about £240 a year worse off.

D – Doom, Jaws of. A graph showing the impact of cuts in Government grant for local councils and ever-increasing demand for services. Before you know it, Birmingham will only be able to afford to pay for social care and refuse collection….as well as councillors’ expenses, of course.

There still time to vote in the Chamber POTY!

E – Eastside. Birmingham’s longest running regeneration site is slowly beginning to look less like a concrete wasteland. This year should see completion of the first city park for more than 100 years.

F – Finance. This gets boring, but it’s important. In the six years from 2010-11, Birmingham City Council’s core budget will have been reduced by 50 per cent as a result of cuts in Government grant and growing demand for new services.

G – Government. Sir Albert Bore led a delegation to the Downing Street pleading for a better financial deal for Birmingham. There is about as much chance of success here as there is of Sir Albert heading the first manned flight to Mars.

H – Heseltine. Michael Heseltine will be in Birmingham early this year for research into how his report into re-energising regional economies might work in practice. Only supreme optimists imagine anything very much will come of this.

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