Birmingham council poised to vote on 21% tax hike | EUROtoday

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Birmingham City Council has signed off a deal to impose tax hikes of 21 per cent and devastating cuts to public companies over the subsequent two years.

Europe’s largest native authority was pressured to declare efficient chapter final September, and is looking for to make an unprecedented £300m in financial savings – with the council warning of a “fundamental change” in the way it delivers companies.

While councils are usually prevented from elevating tax by greater than 5 per cent with out holding a referendum, Birmingham has acquired particular dispensation from communities secretary Michael Gove to hike charges by 10 per cent in every of the subsequent two years, in gentle of the council’s distinctive monetary difficulties.

The full council voted on the rise on Tuesday, which totalled round 21 per cent over two years – equal to an increase of round £280 on a typical Band A property, and £840 on a Band H house – along with the vary of proposed spending cuts.

Speaking in the course of the assembly of Birmingham City Council on Tuesday, Conservative group chief Robert Alden stated: “Lord Mayor, this is an important budget, it’s a budget that shows just how badly Birmingham Labour have made a mess of the council’s finances and how they haven’t got a real plan to fix that mess.

“Instead all Birmingham Labour have to offer is a double whammy of higher taxes and fewer services.”

John Cotton says the council has ‘no alternative than to face these challenges head on’


Accusing Birmingham’s council chief and its cupboard of dwelling “in a fantasy land”, Mr Alden added: “Since Birmingham Labour took control of the council 12 years ago, every time people look at their council tax bill, it’s gone up – car park charges have gone up.

“And yet despite all these tax and fee rises, Labour has still effectively bankrupted the council.”

Cuts embrace dimming road lights, making bin collections fortnightly as a substitute of weekly, and elevating burial prices. Up to 600 council jobs are additionally anticipated to be axed, with cuts proposed in social care, the humanities, highways upkeep and public areas.

Councils’ spending energy has plummeted since austerity was imposed in 2010, and Birmingham is merely one among eight native authorities pressured up to now six years to situation a bit 114 discover, which is in impact a declaration of chapter. Prior to 2018, the final time a council had been pressured to take action was in 2000.

Birmingham was left unable to stability its books after a botched rollout of up to date IT programs, with the council additionally figuring out an additional £760m excellent in equal pay claims following a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2012 which noticed the council pressured to pay £1.1bn to employees who alleged ladies have been being paid much less.

But the council’s Labour chief John Cotton has additionally blamed a “national crisis in local government finance” attributable to “a combination of austerity and underfunding”. Councils throughout the nation additionally hard-pressed by inflation and rising demand for companies “are facing some of the biggest budget challenges in living memory”, he warned.

Europe’s largest native authority introduced it was successfully bankrupt in September


Mr Gove has given 4 councils permission to lift taxes by 10 per cent within the subsequent monetary yr, and Nottingham City Council on Monday accepted tons of of job losses and cuts to social and youth companies in a bid to scale back its £53m deficit.

In feedback final month as Birmingham’s finances proposals have been revealed, Mr Cotton stated: “I want to apologise unreservedly for both the significant spending reductions and this year’s substantial council tax increase.

“We have no alternative than to face these challenges head on. And we will do whatever is necessary to put the council back on a sound financial footing.”

The BBC reported that Labour councillor Liz Clements was dropped at tears at Birmingham council’s cupboard assembly final week on account of the plans to nearly totally lower town’s arts funding.

“Arts aren’t a luxury. They are actually what makes life worth living in this city and they are a reason to keep going,” stated Ms Clements. “So I, personally, I’m really devastated about that.”