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£189m Library of Birmingham handed to council

An artists impression of the 'Book Wall' Credit: Mecanoo Architects

The new Library of Birmingham will be officially handed over from the builders to the council today.

Leader of Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore will place the first book inside the £190 million building.

It's going to be Birmingham author JRR Tolkein's The Hobbit. The library will open to the public in September.


Council leader on council tax freeze

Birmingham City Council will not increase council tax this year despite it still needing to save a hundred million pounds of government cuts.

The council says it'll start charging to collect garden waste. People will have to pay £35 a year to have their garden rubbish collected.

The council says the cuts are too harsh and the government hasn't listened.

Social services watchdog statement on Birmingham City Council investigation

A spokesperson from the Health and Care Professions Council has issued this comment in relation to the investigation of Birmingham City Council's social services department following the death of mother-of-three Natasha Trevis.

We are aware of concerns about a social worker at Birmingham City Council

and are looking into what action, if any, we need to take. We have a duty

of confidentiality to all parties involved so it would not be appropriate

for us to comment further.

– Spokesperson, Health and Care Professions Council

Birmingham City Council statement on Social Services probe

The Health & Care Professions Council is investigating Birmingham City Council's social services department after claims a social worker let slip a mother had aborted her unborn child days before her partner brutally murdered her.

Junior Saleem Oakes was sentenced to life on Monday for the murder of Natasha Trevis.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said:

"We are aware of this allegation and can confirm internal enquiries were undertaken in accordance with Birmingham City Council's policies and procedures. Following this investigation no evidence was found which would require further action against the social worker involved. "In addition the Health Care Professions Council, as the regulatory body for Social Workers, has been notified and we are engaging with their subsequent enquiries. Consequently it would not be appropriate to comment further until those enquiries are completed. "


Heated Commons debate over Birmingham City Council cuts

A heated debate in the commons took place today when Communities Secretary Eric Pickles criticised Birmingham City Council for increasing costs of around £10 million per year.

John Hemming MP for Birmingham Yardley raised the question if it was fair that council tax payers should pay an increase of 24% as he said some Birmingham City Council staff will be receiving a 70% wage increase.

Eric Pickles called the increase "an outrage".

Government responds to latest Birmingham City Council cuts

In response to the 900 jobs losses and cuts of £110million to Birmingham City Council's budget for 2013/2014, the Department for Communities and Local Government has issued the following statement.

"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
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