Media Watch – March 19

By on 19/03/2015 in Media Watch

Top Birmingham City Council Stories:

Lords clash over city poll plan (Birmingham Post) Plans for dramatic changes to the way Birmingham elects its councillors could sabotage attempts to improve council services and deal with the city’s many problems, a member of the House of Lords has warned. Lord Hunt of Kings Heath said councillors would be forced to focus their attention on selection battles and the creation of new wards, instead of tackling failings in services. However, Lord Rooker of Perry Barr backed the changes, saying Birmingham should be broken up into two or more councils.

Trojan Horse pupils let down by Ofsted and DfE, claim MPs (Birmingham Post) School inspector Ofsted and the Department for Education let down Birmingham pupils, a Commons inquiry into the Trojan Horse affair has warned.

MP: We must have child sex exploitation inquiry (Birmingham Mail) Calls by MP Khalid Mahmood for a full public inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Poorer white boys are left behind by classmates (Birmingham Post) Underprivileged white British boys are still the lowest achievers in Birmingham, a new report has revealed. Quotes Birmingham City Council spokesperson pledging more support for schools with high numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Children’s care crisis was ‘deeply ingrained in city’ (Birmingham Post) Lord Warner, appointed by the Government to oversee Birmingham’s children’s services has said he did not realise the problems were so deeply ingrained. The paper also reports comments by strategic director for people Peter Hay that a report linking Asian taxi drivers to child sexual exploitation would have been “groundbreaking” had it been followed up – although he reiterated that he did not believe there had been any cover-up.

Hemming loses ‘garden tax’ court bid (Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail) Yardley MP John Hemming has lost a High Court appeal against Birmingham City Council over green waste, but has vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court. Quotes Cllr Lisa Trickett welcoming the ruling but pointing out that defending the case had used resources which could have been put into street-cleaning services.

‘Quality of road repairs getting worse’ say councillors (Birmingham Post) Report claiming that a dispute between Birmingham City Council and road contractor Amey has deteriorated amid claims the quality of repairs is getting worse. Report from partnerships committee meeting, quoting Councillors Stewart Stacey, Sue Anderson, Ken Wood and Rob Sealey.

Gridlock fears over cycle lanes (Birmingham Post) Birmingham’s Tory opposition leader, Cllr Robert Alden, has said plans to create cycle lanes across the city as part of a £60 million plan could create huge congestion. Report from cabinet meeting which also quotes Cllr James McKay saying there was a need to encourage people to shift to alternative modes of transport to ease congestion, rather than simply increasing road capacity.

Metro heading to Digbeth after route is agreed (Birmingham Post) The route of a new Metro tram extension through the heart of Digbeth has been chosen following a public consultation. References Birmingham City Council’s involvement. Quotes Cllr Keith Linnecor in his capacity as Centro’s lead for the transport network.

Towering vision to replace loved and loathed landmark (Birmingham Post) Conservationists have objected to plans to demolish John Madin’s NatWest Tower in Colmore Row and its temporary replacement with a public square. References fact application will go before planning committee today, quoting report that says building has been disused for a decade and no one is prepared to take it on.

MIPIM Special Report (Birmingham Post) Supplement on recent MIPIM event in France, including comments from Sir Albert Bore.

Jobseekers to get helping hand with new app (Birmingham Post) A new smartphone app is being launched offering hundreds of vacancies across Birmingham. References fact that the B1 app is a joint initiative between Trinity Mirror Newspapers and Birmingham City Council.

Regional Headlines:

A sixth form college in Solihull has discovered it has been teaching students the wrong syllabus, just weeks before exams. Solihull Sixth Form College is offering emergency classes during the Easter holidays to help ensure students do not fail their health and social care exam.

Huge funding cuts will see West Midlands Police lose 5,500 staff in just 10 years, the Chief Constable has admitted.

National Headlines:

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls says there was nothing in a “pretty empty” Budget that Labour would reverse, as the pre-election battle over the economy steps up a gear.

The UK Government’s claim to lead the world in cuts of carbon emissions has been challenged by researchers. UK emissions are rising overall because current calculations omit pollution from goods imported from countries like China, Leeds University experts say. But the Government says it follows internationally agreed rules on CO2 accounting.

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