29th November 2013
Fao Councillor Sir Albert Bore
Birmingham City Council
The Council House
Birmingham B1 1BB
Dear Sir Albert
Birmingham Budget Consultation
I was giving consideration to actually asking a question on this matter at full council on Tuesday, but, thought better of it, as question are never fully answered.
Once again its that time of the year just as last year where the City Council decides to consult the people on the proposed Budget Cuts, despite your meeting tomorrow where decisions will be made on the anyway, hence, asking the question are these meetings meaningful or just a tick box exercise, yet again as last year, when you controlled the question and answering sessions.
In a super diverse city as Birmingham is described with an ever increasing population of in excess a million people, I cannot understand why it is that you have only arranged 5 meetings, which apart from a workshop at the New Library are evening meetings in Erdington, South Yardley, Handsworth and Longbridge.
Therefore, not taking into account access for the elderly and travelling on dark evenings.
Also there is limited or no consultation in the heart of communities that the Cuts will be impacting upon, such as Ladywood, Aston, Winson Green, Lozells, Alum Rock, Bartley Green, Hodge Hill, Shard End, Castle Vale, Washwood Heath, Newtown, Sparkhill just to name a few areas. In addition to this I see no real provision for consultation with the BME Community yet alone the wider communities of Birmingham.
I can only conclude that this is a tick box exercise that will be yet again controlled as you clearly did last year, as the only solution on the table are cuts to services for the poor and vulnerable of this City, despite fuelling corporate profiteers such as Captia with Public Funds.
At a time when this City faces serious financial issues especially in the face of the single status claims, I find it hard to believe that there is no real commitment to arrange a minimum of one public meeting per constituency, which at least would demonstrate a willingness to reach out to the public and be as transparent as possible.
I would ask that you increase the number of meetings and increase publicity and vary the times to allow access for the elderly in the appropriate areas.
This City as you know has 40 wards and 10 constituencies, therefore why not have one meeting per constituency? I am sure if it were an election there would be several meetings, no matter how gruelling a schedule. Transparency and accountability to the people of this City is essential.
I must confess I am disappointed with this and clearly the lessons of last year have not being acknowledged.
Is it only in May that the City Council remembers who they are responsible too?
I look forward to hearing from you.