Media Watch – Dec 18

By on 18/12/2014 in Media Watch

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

Transport alert as decade-long Paradise Circus rebuild begins (Birmingham Post) A host of changes to the city centre road network have been announced ahead of the start of work on the scheme to redevelop the Paradise Circus area of the city centre, now rebranded as Paradise.

Edgbaston clinches major tournaments (Extensive local media coverage) The home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, revamped thanks to a city council loan, has secured a range of fixtures including World Cup, Ashes and ICC Champions Trophy matches in the period covering 2017-2019.

The great British library betrayal (Independent) A look at cuts affecting library services across the country. Proposals announced last week for the Library of Birmingham are referenced.

Writers hit out over cuts at new city library (Birmingham Post) The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain has spoken out about proposals to reduce staff numbers and operating hours at the Library of Birmingham. Cllr Penny Holbrook quoted – saying that while the library was world class, the council’s leadership needed to be honest about the budget position it faced.

Man who wrote scathing report on city once went for top job (Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail) Continued coverage of comments made by Sir Bob Kerslake in the Guardian – in which the author of the recent report critical of the city’s governance said he rejected the chance to become Chief Executive for the city council in 2002.

City promises to turn around Trojan Horse schools in a year (Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail) A 50-page plan containing £11.6m of proposals has been unveiled by the council as part of the effort to improve schools in the wake of the Trojan Horse allegations in the city. Cllr Brigid Jones quoted.

Birmingham ‘in top 10 world cities’ (Birmingham Post and the “I†newspaper and mirror.co.uk) Travel information publisher Rough Guides has put Birmingham in its top ten places to visit across the globe.

‘Sheer luck’ no more women died as scale of abuse revealed (Birmingham Post and Birmingham Post) Further coverage of the Domestic Homicide Review into the death of Natasha Trevis, published earlier this week. Article also looks at figures revealed at a scrutiny committee this week, which suggest up to 25,000 women a year in Birmingham are thought to suffer domestic abuse. Cllr Jess Phillips quoted, saying it is “like a cancer in our societyâ€. It has also been suggested ‘healthy relationship education’ should become compulsory in city schools.

Grade-II listed building sold to developers (Birmingham Post) Louisa Ryland House has been sold in a deal worth £7million, according to reports in specialist property publication CoStar News.

New hope for stalled canal regeneration as hunt starts for investor (Birmingham Post) The city council and the Canal & River Trust have instructed real estate adviser Savills to secure a joint venture partner for the Icknield Port Loop scheme. Cllr Tahir Ali quoted.

Christmas truce marked at cathedral (Birmingham Post) Choirs from Birmingham and Frankfurt will join forces to mark the centenary of the First World War Christmas truce at Birmingham Cathedral on Saturday. Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Leddy is set to be in attendance.

We’ve got what it takes to be great – but we just need to hone our skills (Birmingham Post) Column from Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart, in which she says everyone involved in public life and the business world need to join forces to ensure the city’s future success and prosperity, with a focus on the skills agenda being essential.

Want t0 save taxpayers’ money? Then start with our pension fund bosses (Birmingham Post) City councillor John Clancy criticises the way in which the West Midlands Pension Fund is run. He compares the investment management fees paid by similar schemes in West Yorkshire and West Midlands (£2.2million and £11.2million respectively this year). He concludes if reforms cannot take place, Birmingham should move its pension fund out of the West Midlands, manage the fund itself or join West Yorkshire. Note: The council is statutorily required to participate in the West Midlands fund.

Undercover op by police nets 40 illegal taxis (Birmingham Mail) Coverage of a recent operation, led by the council and police, to ensure passenger safety. Cllr Barbara Dring quoted.

Birmingham’s Labour MPs calling for the scrapping of the ‘garden tax’ (Birmingham Post website) The calls have been made to suspend the council’s garden waste service following the publication of a scrutiny report into the first year of the chargeable opt-in collections. Richard Burden MP quoted. A response made by Cllr Lisa Trickett saying that although there were teething troubles, improvements had been made and more were due to be made to ensure the best possible service in the future.

Regional Headlines

Unemployment in the West Midlands has fallen below 7 per cent for the first time since 2008.

Birmingham’s new “local†television station will have 41 hours of local programming – and 40 hours of repeats, it has been revealed.

West Midlands Police has been told to save another £23million – prompting a warning from the Police and Crime Commissioner that the force’s “capacity and capability†would be placed under threat.

National Headlines

Councils in England are to learn later how much money they will have next year to spend on local services. Ministers will present the funding grants for 2015-16, which account for most of councils’ budgets.

The government made £180m less from the £2bn sale of Royal Mail than it could have, a report commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable has said. It says shares could have been valued up to 30p more than the flotation price of 330p because of the high level of demand from banks and individuals.

Cuban President Raul Castro has urged the US to end its trade embargo after the two countries opened formal talks on restoring diplomatic relations.

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