Media Watch – Feb 26

By on 26/02/2015 in Media Watch

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

Record numbers enjoyed city’s Christmas market (Birmingham Post, BBC Midlands Today and BBC WM) New figures show that 5.5 million people headed into Birmingham during the period of the Frankfurt Christmas Market in 2014 – up 1.2 million since 2012, spending £397million up from £201million. Deputy City Council Leader Ian Ward quoted.

City led way in shaming sex groomers (Birmingham Post) Child protection experts from all over the UK are in Birmingham this week to discover how the city council was able to secure injunctions against suspected child sex groomers. Cllr Brigid Jones quoted as saying the council had been inundated with enquiries from other local authorities about Birmingham’s approach to the issue.

Sky’s the limit for New Street (Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail) A key phase of work on the revamped New Street Station’s atrium has been completed. Cllr Tahir Ali quoted.

Housing plans for fields reined in after campaign (Birmingham Post) Plans for a scheme on the former Ravenhurst Playing Fields in Harborne have been scaled down after council officers said the size of the development was not acceptable.

Tories: We’ll keep library open seven days a week (Birmingham Post) Details of the Conservative group’s alternative budget for the city council have been revealed – keeping all libraries open and scrapping the charge for garden waste collections are highlighted in article. Back office efficiencies cited as partial source of funding for plans. Conservative leader Cllr Robert Alden and Council Leader Sir Albert Bore both quoted.

Eastern promise as growth and jobs drive is launched (Birmingham Post) Details of the East Birmingham Prospectus for Growth, which it is hoped will bring forward 9,000 jobs over the next decade. Cllrs Sir Albert Bore, Tahir Ali and Penny Holbrook all quoted.

Out of sight, out of mind…(Birmingham Post) One city cyclist has contacted the Birmingham Post to complain about the condition of the canal network, suggesting the council will ignore the problems because of the investment being placed into the upgrading of towpaths. David Cox, chair of cycling charity CTC, disagrees saying the Birmingham Cycle Revolution Work is game changing and his own experience has been a positive one.

9,000 house plots ‘sat on’ by agency (Birmingham Post) More than a third of land held by the Homes and Communities Agency is in the Midlands – meaning it is sitting on almost 9,000 housing plots, according to CBRE’s latest Regional Land Report. Reference made to the BMHT plans to deliver homes on various sites and plans to develop on areas of green belt in the city.

‘Sell IT services – or tear up deal’ (Birmingham Post) The council’s Service Birmingham joint venture should be torn up unless more IT packages can be sold to outside agencies, Conservative councillor Ken Wood has said. Service Birmingham chief executive Tony Lubman quoted as saying the council should act as a salesperson for the venture, with schools and the proposed combined authority.

‘Nothing to fear’ from fluoride in city’s water (Birmingham Post) Fears over fluoridated water have been rejected by city health bosses after a study suggested higher levels of thyroid conditions were leading to weight gain and depression. Birmingham Director of Public Health Adrian Phillips quoted as saying extensive research shows it is a safe and effective public health measure.

Happy Chinese New Year – for now… (Birmingham Post) Coverage of the Chinese New Year festivities in Birmingham. Reference made to council plan to withdraw financial support for the event.

City ‘Olympic’ pool is step nearer reality (Birmingham Post) Council planners have approved designs for the new Sparkhill Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre, which will feature a full-size London 2012 Olympic training pool.

City food firm guilty of hygiene offences after mould found on pipes (Birmingham Mail) Mushtaq’s on Stratford Road in Sparkhill has been found guilty of seven charges of flouting environmental health laws. Sentencing adjourned until March 27.

Consultation launched on sweeping changes to Birmingham City Council (Birmingham Post Online) Roadshow events are to be held next month with residents to debate future structure of authority including the number of members and parish councils. Council Leader Sir Albert Bore quoted.

Right to Buy fails on funding target for new homes (Independent) The Government has admitted that the number of new homes funded by Right to Buy sales is just over half the number initially claimed. Birmingham’s figure has been reduced from an initial 817 starts to 296. The DCLG says the error was the result of councils giving them the wrong information, but article suggests councils have said they submitted the right details but they were then politicised by the DCLG.

Regional Headlines

A campaign has been launched by the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post, demanding a fair funding deal for the BBC in the Midlands after it emerged that over 90 per cent of Midland licence fees are spent elsewhere.

A leaked document suggests that disgruntled shop floor workers feel that Cadbury’s culture is being “smashed†by its US owners.

National Headlines

UK state-owned bank RBS has reported £3.5billion loss for 2014, down from £9billion loss the previous year.

The TV licence does not have a long-term future and is likely to be replaced by a new levy within the next 15 years, a group of MPs has said. The fee is “becoming harder and harder to justify” given changes in the media, according to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

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