Leader responds to Autumn Statement

By on 03/12/2014 in Leader

Autumn Statement: Leader calls on government to match commitment to Birmingham children

Responding to the Autumn Statement, the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore said:

“This statement includes lots of pre-election announcements for projects across the country but does nothing to address the financial crisis facing our local services.

“There are no changes to next year’s funding for local government, which will see cuts of over £100m in Birmingham alone.  And there is now the threat that cuts will continue at the same pace for a further two years.  The Government needs to wake up and realise the damage that is being done to local public services in this country, before it is too late.

“Added to the pressure on our social care services, further cuts will make it impossible to maintain non-statutory provision and further reduce the quality of statutory services.  But our greatest concern is for the children that need our support and careâ€

“That is why, despite these almost impossible pressures I can announce that we will be increasing our spending on the safeguarding of children next year, in order to address the challenges identified through joint working with Lord Warner, the Commissioner for Children’s Safeguarding.

“The council is still in dialogue with the Government to fund this agenda and we don’t yet know what level of assistance will be provided.  But today I am able to announce that we will identify an additional £19.9m for next year in addition to the £9m already put in place.  These combined resources will meet the expected increase in needs and allow for the recruitment of more social workers.â€

“This is not, however, enough to meet the full cost of the improvement programme next year, and we continue to ask the Government to afford Birmingham’s children the same level of importance as their other priorities.

“I therefore call upon the Chancellor to show the same commitment to vulnerable children and to match this additional spending – not just in Birmingham but across all the hard pressed areas of the country that have seen the biggest cutsâ€.

Sir Albert welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to a more balanced economy and investment in the major cities.  He added:

“Following the announcement of further investment in the North, we are happy to take up the Chancellor’s offer to discuss further funding and powers for Birmingham and the West Midlands.  We intend to work together to establish a strong local partnership of councils and make the investments that the people of the West Midlands want and need.

“As the manufacturing hub of the nation and the leading region for inward investment and exports, we believe that the West Midlands, working closely with the East Midlands will become the real economic powerhouse of the countryâ€

“As a first step we plan to expand the Enterprise Zones in the Black Country and Birmingham, bringing more investment like the Paradise Circus redevelopment, the regeneration around the new High Speed Two station and the i54 site, potentially creating over 60,000 new jobs.  We look forward to an announcement on this at the March Budget.

“We also want to take forward our vision for a full network of tram lines connecting the Black Country, Birmingham, the airport and HS2.â€

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