STINKING bins are piling up and houses crumbling away as bankrupt Birmingham Council’s catastrophic failures are laid bare.
Catherine Donovan worries services will ‘get worse’ as Birmingham City Council declared bankruptcy[/caption]
Locals claim stinking bins are piling up near their homes in the West Midlands city[/caption]
All spending, except on essential services, was blocked as a ‘necessary step’ to overcome a crippling £760m bill linked to equal pay settlements[/caption]
And as a mountain of crippling debt towers over the 1.1 million locals, they feel there is no way out.
Tom, 34, who travels to Birmingham daily, fumed: “How does a council burn through a huge grant and end up in £700m over budget?”
Politicians issued a Section 114 notice on Tuesday as the council declared itself “effectively bankrupt” – the seventh authority to do so since 2000.
All spending, except on essential services, was blocked as a “necessary step” to overcome a crippling £760m bill linked to equal pay settlements.
In June, the council revealed it had paid almost £1.1bn in claims in the last 10 years after losing a Supreme Court case where female employees said they were not the same paid bonuses men were.
There’s also frustration over £46.5m needed to fix the council’s IT system and a reported £184 million spent on last year’s Commonwealth Games.
Locals are also angered by a 2.5 mile, £10million cycle highway that is wider than a bus lane that residents claim has barely been used since it opened in 2019.
The Labour-run council claimed “Birmingham had £1bn of funding taken away by successive Conservative governments“.
“Unessential services” where spending could be cut could include grass cutting, street cleaners and bus routes, but these have not been confirmed.
One resident who lives in the city centre’s Crescent Tower says she is extremely worried about the future but admits the writing was on the wall.
She added: “We’ve had our bins locked up since the bank holiday weekend, we’re worried about rubbish piling up. It’s already bad where I live.
“Workmen on my flats said the council was struggling for money. They started only offering the minimum for repairs and services a while back so we could see the struggle.
“We get leaks and no one can come and fix them. Then it affects the whole flat. There will be more of that sort of stuff for her definitely.”
‘LONG TIME COMING’
Essential services including education services, waste collection and road maintenance must be provided by law.
But there are concerns events like the 2026 European Championships due to be held in the city could be affected by the bankruptcy.
Local Simon Fitzgerald blamed the council for frittering away cash on “fun stuff” like the Commonwealth Games and not on “the nuts and bolts” of everyday life.
The 50-year-old added: “The smaller stuff, they just ignore and don’t allocate funds to properly.
“I do blame both the government and the council for getting in this mess.”
The council blew £16 million moving a bus depot 300 metres to accommodate the Games.
While Brummie Catherine Donovan, 75, said: “All the parking tickets, where does the money that they collect go to.
“The amount of potholes here, you have to swerve around them all. That will only get worse as they cut the funding.”
While a man from the Black Country, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s been coming for a long time.”
How does a council burn through a huge grant and end up in £700m over budget?
But Catherine Loat was more chipper about it, admitting the potential fallout of Brum’s bankruptcy will not impact her hugely.
She explained: “I suppose it could have been handled better but a lot of councils have gone into liquidation.
“I’m un-phased by a lot of it. I’m at the age where it might affect the younger generation but I’m not bothered.”
The council has 21 days from issuing the notice to come up with a plan to balance the books.
Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) said: “Councils in England face a funding gap of almost £3bn over the next two years just to keep services standing still.
“Councils’ ability to mitigate these stark pressures are being continuously hampered by one-year funding settlements, one-off funding pots and uncertainty due to repeated delays to funding reforms.
“The government needs to come up with a long-term plan to sufficiently fund local services.
“This must include greater funding certainty for councils through multi-year settlements and more clarity on financial reform so they can plan effectively.”
Tom travels to Birmingham daily wondered how the council burnt through a ‘huge grant and end up in £700m over budget’[/caption]
Local Simon Fitzgerald accused the council of frittering away cash on ‘fun stuff’ like the Commonwealth Games[/caption]
Catherine Loat admitted the potential fallout of Brum’s bankruptcy will not impact her hugely[/caption]
The council has 21 days from issuing the notice to come up with a plan to balance the books[/caption]
September 09, 2023 at 11:56PM
from The Sun