BBC: ‘Despair and anger over council spending cuts’

Troubles for Birmingham Council began over a decade ago, when in 2012, 174 city employees sued the council under the Equality Act 2010, claiming that there had been unequal pay. Following a court case, in which the Supreme Court sided with the claimants, the council, as of the end of 2023 has paid out £1.1bn and will still have to pay in the region of £650m.

Along with these payments, the Council bought a new IT system; Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP System. Originally budgeted at just below £20 million, following issues with payments, data management and background checks, and changes of where the system would be used, implementing the system would actually cost £100m.

As a result, Birmingham was served with a section 114 notice, which is where they are unable to balance their budgets. This isn’t extremely uncommon, with Nottingham, Croydon, Slough, Woking, Thurrock and Northumberland all being served with section 114 notices in the last 4 years.

To try and balance it’s budget, Birmingham City Council has had to find £300m in cuts, these include; increasing council tax by 9.9% each year for two years, closing libraries and day care, reduced assisted transport, street lights being dimmed and bins being collected fortnightly not once a week from 2025.  

Along with these cuts, they have requested a £1.25bn bailout from the government. The government has increased funding for councils across England, announcing a £600 million support package, which is an increase in funding by £64.7 million from previous budgets. Although they did say that councils are responsible for their own funding, suggesting that a bailout won’t be granted. 

In response to the rises in council tax and cuts there have been protests outside Birmingham City Council, organised by the GMB, UNITE and UNISON unions. The protests are demanding that the Council tries to get more funding from the Government and suspend service cuts that will hit the most vulnerable.


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