Birmingham news and blogs Friday 18 March 2016
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Osborne’s budget raises more questions than it answers 

17 Mar 16

David Bailey on the latest budget issued by Chancellor George Osborne.


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Those in the middle of the EU referendum debate are not being helped by the heavy handed rhetoric on the fringes 

17 Mar 16

For some EU membership is not an article of faith and it could be those votes which matter…


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Trio being touted for deputy police role ahead of election 

9 Mar 16

Three contenders are in the frame following rumours that deputy police commissioner Yvonne Mosquito will be replaced after May 5 vote…


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Clancy talks of Tory misdirection but is unable to sprinkle any magic on the budget he inherited 

3 Mar 16

The Labour leader has dealt with the legacy of his predecessor and must now start pushing his own agenda…


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A sign of our times or a slice of Paradise that is better lost? 

26 Feb 16

If we destroy the naff Paradise Forum sign are we repeating the mistakes of the past? Plus where are the women candidates for mayor and why a councillor wants to change his name to Cassandra.


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Confusion around the congestion charge and the £2 million budget black hole 

19 Feb 16

Plus another close shave for Birmingham’s lollipop ladies (and men) and a cabinet member’s 40 minute fillibuster…


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Don’t think Birmingham is solving traffic problems? Look again 

19 Feb 16

Anne Shaw, from Birmingham City Council’s transportation team, gives a robust defence of all the work going on in a bid to get the city moving better…


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EU referendum: West Midlands is a heartland of the anti-EU campaign 

17 Feb 16

A number of Birmingham’s Labour MPs are calling for the UK to leave the European Union, while Tories in the wider West Midlands also back Brexit…


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Planning for transport is great but delivery is another thing 

11 Feb 16

Public transport improvements are years away, meanwhile Birmingham and the region are being grid locked on a regular basis…


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Library of Birmingham might be unworkable – but that’s no reason not to try 

11 Feb 16

Agenda editor Graeme Brown said there needs to be an engaging vision for the costly attraction, as the council can’t go it alone…


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Measuring street grime is a dirty business 

6 Feb 16

It was heralded as a great step forward for local government openness and empowerment for citizens looking to get to grips with the grime on their streets and neighbourhoods.


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You will take graveyard photos over our dead body says Birmingham City Council 

30 Jan 16

Council stuck in old ways as it stops amateur historians taking photographs of historic graveyards…


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Contest to become the first mayor of the West Midlands has already begun 

27 Jan 16

Labour has begun to think about how it will choose a candidate for next year’s West Midlands metro-mayor election, but jockeying behind the scenes is already underway…


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Housing to take centre stage under new council leader 

22 Jan 16

Labour leader John Clancy will place meeting the demand for good housing, a priority of his administration…


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New Birmingham leader faces friendly fire in his question time debut 

14 Jan 16

In the hotseat for the first time council leader John Clancy congratulated for winning the support of ‘almost half the Birmingham Labour group…


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A rocky year ahead for all Birmingham politicians and elections in Kingstanding and Sutton Coldfield could prove decisive 

6 Jan 16

The new leader, devolution deal, local elections and Birmingham City Council’s ongoing crisis point to a lively 2016.


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Annual awards for Birmingham’s brightest and best politicians 

24 Dec 15

Back by popular demand are the annual ‘awards’ which the members of Birmingham City Council would rather not win…


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Jess Phillips obviously didn’t threaten Jeremy Corbyn so stop being silly 

17 Dec 15

People who pretend to be offended on Twitter are like a footballer throwing themselves to the ground and rolling around in mock pain…


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Bordering on the ridiculous 

16 Dec 15

Place names rightly matter to people, so perhaps we should ditch them altogether in the boundary shake-up.


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A Lambo for the Mayor … but savings still have to be made 

10 Dec 15

Budget woes, more money for Capita, grumpy councillors and a tortuous moment for the Birmingham’s Deputy Lord Mayor…


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Forget the Northern Powerhouse – is Government is backing the ‘Midlands Engine’ at last? 

10 Dec 15

The Government has realised it needs to convince the Midlands it cares about more than the Northern Powerhouse…


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Climate talks – how to lose at cards 

3 Dec 15

Andrew Whitehead picks the key points out of the recent Autumn Statement from an environmental perspective…


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Greater Birmingham needs to convince the world we can match the ambition of the Northern Powerhouse 

2 Dec 15

The Government proved they can fast track major projects like HS2 if regions show they can be trusted to deliver…


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New Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy must find balance between steadying the ship and his radical agenda 

26 Nov 15

It’s not over for John Clancy and the wider Birmingham Labour group as they must pick up the pieces of a difficult and divisive leadership election…


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One after another, Labour MPs invited David Cameron to join them in criticising Jeremy Corbyn 

19 Nov 15

Labour MPs lined up to attack their own party leader – and to invite David Cameron to agree with them – as the House of Commons discussed the terrorist attacks in Paris…


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Metro mayor shows weakness of council leader, whoever wins 

19 Nov 15

Amid all the talk of election hustings and cries for greater democracy in the business of running Birmingham, the only real step towards genuine public accountability has been the announcement of a metro mayor to run the Greater Birmingham region …


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Council going nowhere fast unless they get to grips with transport 

12 Nov 15

As the council leadership battle enters its sixteenth week, we have heard much from the councillors and MPs on what should happen and, indeed, much from the Government overseers on what is expected of Britains largest local authority.


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David Cameron’s EU demands are meaningless and referendum victory is uncertain 

11 Nov 15

The Prime Minister wants to convince British voters that we should stay in the EU but he is taking a huge gamble with the nation’s future…


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Why has Council House car parking become major Labour leadership issue? 

5 Nov 15

Forget child protection, the economy or transport, it’s the long walk from car park to the Council House that is upsetting backbench councillors…


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Turns out George Osborne isn’t a political genius after all 

29 Oct 15

George Osborne could still become the next Tory leader but the tax credits disaster is a reminder that he’s not invincible…


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Birmingham’s most patient politicians in leadership battle 

23 Oct 15

Two front-runners first battled it out for opposition deputy leadership in 2005 and a decade on they face each other again as they go for the top job…


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If the leadership battle should be about more than internal feuds in the Labour group 

15 Oct 15

In 1999 the Sir Albert Bore won the Labour leadership as a result of internal struggles.


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Labour is descending into chaos under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership 

14 Oct 15

U-turns, public attacks on backbenchers and a stupid row about the Queen – Labour’s leadership is letting down the party…


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A difficult balancing act for the city’s leaders 

14 Oct 15

Local government correspondent Neil Elkes assess the task facing Birmingham City Council’s cabinet as they vie for the leadership of the ruling Labour group…


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Little enthusiasm for Bore and little appetite for change 

9 Oct 15

Sorry Labour group unable to reach consensus over leadership woes…


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The Chancellor won’t fund major projects unless they’re in the Northern Powerhouse 

8 Oct 15

You can’t get money out of the Treasury – unless it’s for the Northern Powerhouse.


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It’s not just the Tories who are making Labour politicians nervous 

2 Oct 15

Birmingham Labour politicians are endangered species thanks to boundary reviews and the ascent of Jeremy Corbyn…


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I think I finally understand why people like Jeremy Corbyn 

29 Sep 15

Jeremy Corbyn says that ‘people matter more than money’ – and some voters haven’t heard that before.


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Rise of strident young councillor showing she has talent to Byrne 

24 Sep 15

Those outside Birminghams political bubble, or the Washwood Heath community, could be forgiven for never having heard of Mariam Khan but that is beginning to change after a series of increasingly high-profile appointments and events.


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Birmingham is built on tolerance and the toil of refugees 

10 Sep 15

City will wither and stagnate unless it remains open to new arrivals and new ideas, says local government correspondent Neil Elkes…


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Birmingham is built on tolerance and the toil of refugees 

10 Sep 15

City will wither and stagnate unless it remains open to new arrivals and new ideas…


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Tom Watson’s challenge is to heal Labour 

10 Sep 15

Black Country MP Tom Watson, the favourite to become Labour’s deputy leader, is trying to heal a party divided by a brutal leadership contest…


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City of Sanctuary in Birmingham reinforces who we really are 

8 Sep 15

Birmingham has its own problems, but we’d be worse off for not standing up and being counted…


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Cliques and stitch-ups part and parcel of party politics 

3 Sep 15

Neil Elkes takes a look at some of the internal wrangles currently affecting the Labour group at Birmingham City Council…


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Home Secretary is talking to the right people as she draws up new anti-extremism strategy 

30 Aug 15

Efforts to tackle extremism recognised, the ongoing green belt saga and what will national politicians will make of our combined authority chief.


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Why the Labour left is blind to what public really wants 

21 Aug 15

Political editor Jonathan Walker examines the continuing debate over Jeremy Corbyn and his apparently unstopable march to victory in the Labour leadership contest&#xa…


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Poor A-level results don’t have to mean a poor future 

13 Aug 15

Education correspondent Emma McKinney asesses the future for those teenager today which didn't get quite what they hoped for in the A-levels&#xa…


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Manufacturing’s firm foundations need greater investment for greater success 

12 Aug 15

Beverley Nielsen, director of Birmingham City University think tank IDEA Birmingham, discusses challenges around redesigning manufacturing and driving regional economic growth&#xa…


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We could be witnessing the start of a new wave of local activism in Birmingham 

6 Aug 15

Grass roots movements in Sutton Coldfield and Balsall Heath are beginning to bear fruit – and more could follow&#xa…


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The fear and anger of Labour MPs as they realise Jeremy Corbyn might win 

6 Aug 15

His supporters use the slogan Jez We Can – but some Labour MPs fear their party is doomed if Jeremy Corbyn becomes their new leader&#xa…


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Summer holiday from hell for Bore and co as deadlines loom 

31 Jul 15

Local government correspondent Neil Elkes assesses a busy time for the council in what would normally be a fallow summer period&#xa…


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A 2007 vision for library finally starting to take shape 

27 Jul 15

Local government correspondent Neil Elkes remembers a vision for the new library from eight years ago which is only now starting to bear fruit&#xa…


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Birmingham Labour group must clamour for change or get behind Sir Albert Bore 

24 Jul 15

Few seem to grasp seriousness of Improvement Panel's damning review of Birmingham City Council&#xa…


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Only the best will do for Greater Birmingham 

17 Jul 15

Same old faces being tipped to become 'Metro Mayor' for the region suggest that the search needs to be widened…


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Chancellors Planning Reforms on course for hidden icebergs 

13 Jul 15

The Chancellor is playing around with the deck chairs on the titanic English planning system as it lurches inexorably towards floating icebergs with severe engine trouble and only a skeleton public sector planning crew who are struggling to …


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Why allowing the public to have their say is not always a good idea 

9 Jul 15

Calls for a referendum on a combined authority are misguided as direct democracy only works when the public are fully engaged…


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Budget: George Osborne hasn’t really introduced a living wage 

8 Jul 15

Chancellor George Osborne's claim to have introduced a compulsory living wage is not all it seems, but it helps his campaign to position the Conservatives as the workers' party&#xa…


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Despite Chancellor’s talk of Northern Powerhouses and Midlands Engine for Growth there is little evidence of genuine devolution says KPMG 

8 Jul 15

Ahead of budget there are calls for Chancellor George Osborne to back his devolution talk with hard cash…


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Public services in Birmingham are in decline, but is improvement on the way? 

2 Jul 15

The city council’s annual performance report threw up the sad fact that 62 per cent of key targets were missed in 2014/15 – Neil Elkes looks at the issues…


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David Cameron believes British Muslims have an extremism problem 

1 Jul 15

David Cameron believes ideas which can encourage violence – such as opposition to democracy – are sometimes tolerated in British Muslim communities…