Lib Dem councillors led the way in getting the council to take action on hate. In the light of recent events at schools and mosques, we got the council to adopt the APPG definition of Islamophobia:
Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.
Birmingham is a city of many communities, nationalities and faiths but we all have one thing in common. We are all Birmingham citizens and we all deserve respect.
No community should live in fear and no community should feel singled out and victimised.
We won agreement that the council undertakes a Community Cohesion Strategy to ensure that people from every community can live free from discrimination and able to speak out against intolerance whenever they see it.
On the 3rd of May Birmingham will elect a whole new council. It will run the city for 4 years. The Lib Dems have a plan to fix the councils failings. Failure to empty the bins, failure to clean the streets, failure to spend our money effectively. Download our manifesto here for more details.
Summary - 14 to Fix
1/ Clean up our city – we will reverse cuts to street cleaning, ensuring that crews work with local communities to build pride in neighbourhoods.
2/ Clean up our city - We will set targets for prosecuting flytippers, providing the necessary resources, until the problem is dealt with, and incentivising householders to use legal means to dispose of bulky waste
3/ Green up our city – we will set and meet demanding recycling targets, bringing levels past the 2012 achievement of 30% and significantly beyond the present 23%
4/ Make our city safer – we will work with the police authorities to enhance the role of PCSOs and restore neighbourhood policing teams based in communities We will fight for sufficient funding for police services.
5/ Provide basic services – we will reform the waste collection services bringing In external partners and increasing community influence on how the service is delivered,
6/ Build our communities – we will put serious financial power and power to make change in the hands of local communities.
7/ Build our communities - We will ensure that land that is available for housing gets housing, meeting demanding targets for new homes.
8/ Make our city happier – we will reverse cuts to parks budgets, placing them at the heart of our communities
9/ Make our city happier – we will ensure that nobody needs to sleep rough on the streets of our city
10/ Strengthen support for families – we will provide the support needed to keep families together when they are let down by the housing sector, getting tough on poor private landlords and ending the need to use bed and breakfast for those who lose their homes. We will fight for sufficient funding for schools and social services.
11/ Strengthen support for families – We will fight for sufficient funding for schools and social services.
12/ Build our communities – we will take the necessary steps to ensure that bereaved families in Birmingham have ready access to non-invasive CT scanning.
13/ A city that works – we will keep the city moving, improving the quality of road maintenance and pressing for the introduction of a Brummie bus ticket.
14/ A city that works – we will support high quality apprenticeships and training.
The Labour Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the West Midlands is proposing to close 24 buildings across the force area to save some £5 million a year in ongoing costs. The closure list includes Harborne police station, but other buildings closed in Birmingham include Quinton and Edgbaston.
One big impact would be on our Neighbourhood Policing Team. The police station on Rose Road is the base for our Neighbourhood Police Team. It's closure would mean they will either have to travel in from Bournville Police Station or find another nearer base. One suggestion in the PCC's paper is that they could co-locate with fire stations - in our case the nearest is Woodgate Valley. This would clearly be better than Bournville, but would still mean wasted time at the start and end of each shift, getting to and from the fire station.
We believe in the importance of our Neighbourhood Police Team. The Lib Dems led a debate in Full Council calling on the Government to increase funding in Neighbourhood Policing. Our motion was passed following a minor amendment.
Neighbourhood Policing survived the post crash cuts in reasonable shape for many years, but the past couple of years have seen significantly increased demands on police time, coupled with further cuts from the Conservative Government. It's a tough situation, but we believe closing our police station, without having already identified a new base, in Harborne, for our Neighbourhood Police Team, would be a major mistake. The Lib Dems are committed to protecting and increasing the role of the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in our city.
The Lib Dems have drawn up a plan to help the growing number of people who are sleeping rough in Birmingham. Local campaigner Colin Green said “To tackle rough sleeping properly, we need to know the real extent of the problem. Council claims that during their recent count only found 57 rough sleepers across the Birmingham seem too low. Anyone can see this is not the case and doesn’t included the thousands of hidden homeless who are sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation.”
Our Labour run council has been moved into the relegation zone for recycling. Birmingham is now in the bottom 10 councils for their worst recycling rates in England.
Figures for 2016/17 show that only 24.4% of household waste is recycled, reused or composted. This compares to 42% in Solihull, 41% in Sandwell and 37% in Dudley. Nationally the rate was 43.7% - with the top performing council scoring 65.4%.
Liberal Democrat campaigner Colin Green said “This is a disgrace, Labour are letting down Birmingham and making us a laughing stock nationally. At the January Council meeting, Labour rejected Liberal Democrat calls for a trial of food waste collection, showing again how little they care about the environment.”
Nationally, the Lib Dems introduced the 5p plastic bag charge, since then plastic bag usage is down by 83% - that’s 9 billion plastic bags.
Colin added “The Liberal Democrats have been campaigning, since 2016, for a charge on disposable cups. Every day more than 7m coffee cups are thrown away, we can’t carry on like this. We also need to ban all plastics that cannot be recycled. Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up for the environment and making Birmingham a cleaner, greener place to live.”
Your local Liberal Democrats are calling for a trial of food waste collection in Birmingham. Lib Dem candidate Colin Green said “A recent Council report found that 48% of all Birmingham’s general waste was food waste. There is no reason Labour couldn’t have already introduced food waste collections saving money and helping the environment, it shows their lack of ambition.”
Food waste collections will save money and help the environment. Latest figures show the UK is throwing away £13 billion worth of food a year, much of which could be collected and used to produce energy or fertilisers."
Commenting, Ian Garrett, Liberal Democrat candidate for Harborne said “Ideally less food would be wasted, but that which is thrown away could be useful. The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Council to trial food waste collections.”
You can sign the Liberal Democrat petition asking Birmingham City Council to trail food waste at :
A big thanks to those who have taken part in our recent campaign to highlight the problems faced by local police. You have told us of your concerns that the police seem to have disappeared from the local streets - and you don't know how to contact them.
Our Liberal Democrat crime survey found overwhelming dissatisfaction with the level of local policing and also raised serious questions about the 101 helpline used by police forces. Your local Liberal Democrats are pressing for action to stop the collapse of community policing, warning that effective local policing is vital for effective crime prevention.
The survey found that just 2.5% of people are "very satisfied" with police visibility in their area. In contrast 35.5% said they were "very dissatisfied". Amongst those who had used the 101 service over half said the service was unhelpful, they couldn't get an answer, never heard back or that nothing happened.
Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Ian Garrett said “The results are disturbing. Neighbourhood policing is vital to crime prevention. It is also an open secret that the police officers on neighbourhood police teams now spend most of their time on paperwork, rather than being out and about in their communities. There are few police stations open and there are no local phone lines, only the 101 service if you can get through and even then there is no guarantee of any help”
The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to invest more in local policing and for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to examine the roles of police community support officers and of the 101 service.
Colin Green added “Local policing is essential in reducing crime, gathering intelligence and reassuring the community. There are fewer officers now than ever has been in the history of West Midlands Police and yet their workload has increased, we need more investment to make our streets safer.”
Housing associations, councils and charities are all saying the rollout of the universal credit is a disaster in slow-motion. Payment delays of six, eight or sometimes ten weeks are causing people serious financial problems. Many families feel forced to choose between not paying their rent, not eating or taking payday loans or similar which can lead to spiralling debt. Changes to Universal Credit are causing this hardship. It comes down to government penny pinching. The rollout of Universal Credit should be stopped until its problems are solved.
Birmingham’s Christmas market will lose the big wheel and ice rink from this year. Labour’s £10 million reflective pool in Centenary Square means there will not be room for the City’s usual attractions. The pool is a wasted opportunity to do some social good in the city. Now it is going to spoil the Christmas festivities too.
Vince Cable has set out the direction he wants to lead the country, in his first conference speech as party leader. An Exit from Brexit, a return to Economic Stability, and an increase in Intergenerational Fairness.
“Anyone who doubts the relevance of the Liberal Democrats should reflect on the three great disasters perpetrated by the two main parties in recent years: the war in Iraq; the banking crisis; now Brexit.” said Vince Cable as he opened his key note speech.
"At the end of these tortuous divorce negotiations, the British public must be given a vote on the outcome. Let me be clear about this. This is not a call for a re-run. This is not a call for a second referendum on Brexit. This is a call for a first referendum on the facts. When we know what Brexit means, the people should get the choice: the government deal or an ‘exit from Brexit’."