'Largest' budget cut in local authority history announced by Birmingham City Council

  • ITV News Central Reporter Lewis Warner spoke to councillors and the people affected by the cuts

The 'largest' budget cut in local authority history has been announced by Birmingham City Council.

The damning indictment was made by the think tank, The Audit Reform Lab, as the authority put some flesh on the bones of plans to save £300m over two years.

Council leader, John Cotton said: "The proposals that we'll be publishing today set out cuts of £150 million and also a proposal to take advantage of the powers we've been given by the government to bring in a 10% council tax increase this year and next.

"This is a really, really difficult budget and it's a really difficult set of choices that we've had to make.

"We are like every other council up and down the land dealing with the consequences of a massive crisis in local government funding.

"We've lost £1 billion from Birmingham since 2010, and that's made this challenge even more difficult for us to meet.

"But we're trying to set out proposals where we can bring the council back into financial stability and financial health, whilst also looking to support services that protect the most vulnerable in the city."

Breakdown of the cuts for 2024-2025:

  • Adult social care (£23.708m)

  • Children Young People & Families (£51.518m)

  • City Housing (£6.236m)

  • City Operations (£39.268m)

  • Council Management (11.872m)

  • Place, Prosperity & Sustainability (£8.365m)

  • Strategy, Equalities & Partnerships (£2.447m)

  • Cost Cutting (£1m)

£900,000 will be saved by dimming streetlights across the city with more than £4m by bringing in fortnightly bin collections from 2024-25.

Cllr Cotton continued: "We're taking steps to ensure we're protecting our wellbeing centres that serve some of the most deprived communities in the city.

"We also were putting in place a very generous council tax support scheme, so a quarter of households in the city will be receiving some form of cancer tax support, help with their bills and indeed 75,000 households won't be paying anything at all."

On the sale of assets, Cllr Cotton said "no big-ticket assets are on the table at this point."

Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Robert Alden said: "Birmingham Labour have hidden the details of their devasting cuts until the last possible moment.

"For an administration that had promised to be open and transparent, thisis sadly exactly the kind of behaviour we’ve come to expect from Labour in Birmingham –symbolically underscored by the constant refusal to publish the draft budget and the letters they have sent saying they are not going to set a balanced budget without selling the city’s assets.

"The Labour group has been discussing their plan to gut the city's services for a yearand yet have left it until the last two weeks to tell Brummies of their plan.”

"The impact of Labour’s double whammy of reduced services and significantly increasedcouncil tax – 21% over 2 years – will be particularly painful for residents and businesses inBirmingham. 

"After promising a golden decade, this budget reveals Labour’s true legacy forBirmingham; fewer services, higher taxes, and more debt. Labour’s plans amount to sellingyour car to pay the mortgage, and then taking out an expensive loan to make up theshortfall in subsequent months.

"These problems have been created by Birmingham Labour, but it is Birmingham residents – and their children and grandchildren - who will pay the cost of fixing it."

The budget proposals will be discussed at a full council meeting next week, and voted on on 5 March.

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