Media Watch – Jan 30

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

Fear of town hall failures as savings sought (Financial Times) Whitehall’s financial watchdog has raised the spectre of “multiple failures” of councils against the backdrop of more cuts into the next parliament. The National Audit Office says it has seen evidence of “councils at risk of becoming financially unviable” in the last year – although this was not the same as becoming “financially unsustainable”. One example the NAO points to is Birmingham City Council, which has warned that a potential £750m liability over equal pay claims could affect its financial resilience.

Birmingham City Council £200m short to pay equal pay bill (BBC) Birmingham City Council is facing a shortfall of about £200m to settle equal pay claims brought by mainly women who missed out on bonuses.

Birmingham construction academy opens (BBC) A £1m construction training centre is due to open in Birmingham later in a bid to cut youth unemployment in the area. The 4Life Academy, based in Aston, has been set up by construction company Wilmott Dixon. Birmingham City Council said it would provide a valuable skills boost in the area.

Tearoom family forced to close (Birmingham Mail) The business (Victoria Tea Rooms in Kings Heath Park) that sparked a storm in a tearoom after its owner ignored an eviction notice has closed.

Hospital homes plan gets go ahead (Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post) Up to 650 homes will be built on the former Selly Oak Hospital site despite fears over pressure on school places and local roads.

We’ll visit every home in Brum before wheeling out new bins, says council (West Midlands Housing News) Birmingham City Council surveyors will visit every home in the city before rolling out wheelie bins across the city, it has emerged.

Regional Headlines

Boy, 9, threatened in axe robbery
A nine-year-old boy is threatened with an axe by a gang also armed with sledgehammers, who burst into a family home in Birmingham.

Tributes to pregnant crash victim Ahtia Tabasim
A father has said he is “still in shock” after his pregnant daughter was killed when her car was hit by a vehicle which police had tried to stop. Ahtia Tabasim, 28, who had been married for five months, died near her home in the Saltley area of Birmingham on Sunday.

National Headlines

Police face recruitment shake-up
Plans to allow police in England and Wales to recruit senior officers from other professions are to be set out, amid much opposition from within the service.

Stiff upper lip ‘harms cancer fight’
The UK’s “stiff upper lip” culture may explain why it lags behind other countries when it comes to beating cancer, say experts.

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