Labour senses historic city council election victory, while Tories and Lib Dems sulk in silence

Birmingham City Council House is in Victoria S...

Birmingham Council House

The Labour Party is continuing to ramp up its campaigning efforts in the run up to the Birmingham council elections on May 3, in stark contrast to the city’s ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which has made no effort to seek publicity in recent weeks.

A flurry of policy announcements by Labour during April included a promise to give a wage rise to 2,743 low-paid council workers and a commitment to appoint a “Victims Champion” to make sure that the voices of those affected by crime are heard in all local authority departments.

Further details setting out how Labour would go about making sure that the council uses its £1 billion-a-year procurement powers to buy goods and services from local firms is expected before polling day.

Labour’s 16-page manifesto – A Vision for Birmingham – has been regarded as Read the rest of this entry »

Government unpopularity may mean ‘tsunami-like’ council election defeat for Tories and Lib Dems

Birmingham Skyline from the west

View from Edgbaston

The latest opinion polls make grim reading for Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and it seems certain that barring an incredible reversal in political sentiment before May 3 the control of Birmingham City Council will swing back to Labour for the first time since 2004.

Since Labour needs to pick up only four seats to win a majority in the 120-seat council chamber, the result itself would appear to be pretty much a foregone conclusion.

But if the polls are right, a huge shift of national opinion against the Tory-Liberal Democrat Government will gift Labour a massive majority on the city council.

Councillors sometimes like to comfort themselves by suggesting Read the rest of this entry »

Elected mayor needs to control the purse strings – guest post by Councillor Phil Parkin

With the government’s consultation on mayoral powers now at an end and submissions from Birmingham City Council, mayoral hopefuls and business representatives piled up in Greg Clark’s in-tray for consideration, it’s apparent that there is a degree of consensus over the need for much greater local control over the decisions that affect this city.

Even those in the ‘no’ camp would (surely) agree that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to running our cities, with the levers of powers firmly in Whitehall and money channelled through Read the rest of this entry »