1. ITV Report

Nine hundred jobs to go and £110 million to be saved by Birmingham City Council in 2013

Birmingham City Council has announced it needs to make a further 900 job cuts and slash £110 million from its budget in 2013.

Initially the council believed it would need to save £70 million next year, but this has now risen by £40 million because of reduced funding from the Government and rising costs.

Council leaders released their budget for 2013/14 this morning. Thirty three million pounds needs to be cut from its adult services department - which helps the disabled, vulnerable and elderly, and 24 million from the budget set aside for children and young people.

The leader of the Labour-run council, which is the largest local authority in the country, warned of the wider funding gap to come in the next four years,

"By the time we get through the next few months into 2013, I will be conducting an exercise whereby we will be looking at the decommissioning of services in 2014.

"It's a situation which places local government with an impossible task."

– Sir Albert Bore, Leader Birmingham City Council

Sir Albert Bore described the task ahead as peering into the 'jaws of doom', as the council has to save £600 million by 2017.

Cuts have been made across the council's departments, but he says in 2014 entire council run services will have to be shut down.

"We are going to have to change fundamentally the nature of the streets' sweeping operations, the refuse collection operations. You'll see it in children, young people and families in terms of home to school transport, provision around children centres, I can run through a host of services. There are no services from the city council which aren't going to be affected one way or another. "

The council have blamed the Government's austerity measures and reduced funding for the measures.

It also claims taxpayers are being short changed by Ministers as the average amount having to be saved by Birmingham City Council is double than by other councils around the country.

The average each council is having to save is equal to £74 for each taxpayer.

But in Birmingham that doubles to £149 per person, meaning a shortfall in funding of £80 million per year.

Unison have said they will support the council and take the fight to Westminster to lobby for more money.

"With the cuts to Birmingham being so huge the unions will be joining together with the council and with business leaders to demand a fair deal for Birmingham from the Government, because people in Birmingham, whether they work for the council or whether they live in the city, are just getting ripped off by the current government and it's just not good enough."

– Tony Rabaiotti, Unison, Regional Head of Local Government

The consultation process will soon start for members of staff at the council who are facing redundancy, with those affected issued with Section 188 notices.

Sir Albert Bore says the Government has forced councils to come to a crossroads, as they simply can't cut any more without losing essential services.

"Those days end with this budget - we have got to a point where from now on it will be about decommissioning a range of services which are extremely valuable to the people of this city.

"During 2014 we will start to consult on a range of services which we will have to either provide at near-zero cost or we will have to decommission.

"We will be in 2014, in my view - because of this 'Birmingham jaws of doom' - beginning to systematically decommission services."

– Sir Albert Bore, Leader Birmingham City Council

He went on to issue the stark warning that he believes further cuts will damage the West Midlands' economy, and make Birmingham a worse place to live.

In the autumn statement yesterday, Chancellor George Osbourne said he's sticking by the austerity plans to get the country out of trouble.

In response to Sir Albert Bore's comments, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said:

"Next year's funding for councils will be announced shortly. Councils still account for a quarter of all public spending - £114bn of taxpayers money - so they must help act to reduce the inherited deficit.

"This year, while Birmingham pleads poverty, it is hoarding £112 million in reserves, getting almost £400 more per household than the national average to protect frontline services, been given a £1.5bn city deal, £22m Growing Places Funding, an Enterprise Zone and £7.5 million in New Homes Bonuses.

"The Chancellor has exempted councils from the reductions Government must make in 2013-14. This will give councils like Birmingham time to find sensible savings by transforming frontline service delivery as well as reducing fraud, procuring better and sharing back offices. In addition taking up the Government's third council tax freeze fund offer is potentially worth over £200 to their Band D residents."

– Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis