A hoax? Paradise in Birmingham?
In name only . . . both Labour and Conservative-Liberal Democrat administrations have for many years invested in ‘iconic’ city centre development, whilst neglecting the areas where those on below average incomes live.
Yesterday: the expensive new Library of Birmingham is to reduce its hours significantly and a hundred more jobs will go. Brian Gambles, the director, has resigned.
The council borrowed to fund this icon and now has to pay £12m annual debt servicing charges.
Grant Thornton, the city auditors, warn that the city’s heavy debt charges could leave the council unable to settle the £638m it owes to hundreds of female staff over a longstanding equal pay dispute pursued by both administrations from the early 2000s.
Another icon, the NEC (exhibition centre), is on sale — so far without any takers.
As the city is congested by the German Christmas market drawing crowds from afar to buy over-priced trivia, councillors are reading a government-commissioned review of the council’s “governance and capabilities”, and its verdict that it showed a “dysfunctional” management, failing its poorest communities and being unable to deliver the most basic services.
Undeterred, council leader Albert Bore now exults in what he believes is perhaps the most important project: a £500m development around the site of the old library in Birmingham city centre – to be named Paradise.
Will Birmingham council leaders never learn?
Posted on December 16, 2014, in Democracy undermined, Economy, Finance, Government, Local government, Planning, Reward for failure, Taxpayers' money and tagged Albert Bore, Birmingham council leaders, German Christmas market, government-commissioned review, Grant Thornton auditors, Library of Birmingham, NEC, Paradise. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.