Question and answers Time

Councillors from Birmingham City Council were giving a Question Time grilling on issues such as crime, the sale of Cadbury, alcohol abuse and street repair - from primary school pupils.

The debate was part of a drive to engage young people in politics in the run-up to the General Election.

City Councillors Sue Anderson (Lib Dem Sheldon), Randal Brew (Con Northfield) and Karen Hamilton (Lib Dem Perry Barr) put themselves in the firing line at Primerose Hill Community School.

Pupils aged between nine and 11 asked questions ranging from “do you get paid for being a Councillor?” to “should we raise the price of beer?”.

Event organiser Nick Anderson, from Birmingham City Council's Participation and Engagement Unit, said: “The event was a huge success. We were surprised by how good the questions were.

“It just goes to show that young people are not as disengaged from politics as some would suggest.

“It was great for the children to get an insight into the role of being a Councillor and I think our panel really inspired them with their responses.”

Full list of questions asked:

  • Can the Councillors tell us why they wanted to be Councillors in the first place and do they think they are doing a good job?
  • Do you get paid for being a Councillor and do you have other jobs as well?
  • There is always a lot of litter outside our school. What can the Council do clean it up and keep it clean?
  • Can you tidy up the rubbish on our grove near Guilders Avenue? • Can the Councillors tell us why some of the houses on our estate are being knocked down and is our school going to be knocked down?
  • When the estate is redeveloped what facilities for families and young people do the Councillors think there should be?
  • What can the Council do to keep parks on the estate safe and clean for children to play in?
  • There is a lot of under age drinking on the estate. What is the Council doing to stop it?
  • Do the Councillors think we should raise the price of beer to make people stop drinking? • Can you fix the pub? Sometimes people fight outside when I am playing out after school.
  • Why doesn't the Council fill in all the pot holes in the roads on the estate? • The roads on the estate were covered with ice and snow for a long time. Do the Councillors think that the Council should have put grit on them to make them safe?
  • My family have been assaulted on a bus. What should we have done and what can the Council do to make bus travel safer?
  • What does the Council do to combat the stereotyping of people who live in communities like this ie, the view that all the residents have low expectations or have drug or alcohol problems or that all the young people are abusive and anti-social?
  • Should the Government have acted to stop the sale of Cadbury?
  • Do the Councillors think that schools should open during the holidays to make up for the days lost during the snowy weather?
  • How can we make more people take an interest in politics and especially how can we get more people to vote?

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