Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Birmingham Labour Party creates a ‘John Carter’ manifesto

The Birmingham Labour Party has launched its manifesto for the local election. If you haven’t seen it, count yourself lucky. The only way I can describe it is like Walt Disney’s latest financially disastrous film ‘John Carter’ –
complete fantasy, large plot holes, incomprehensible in places, dull and will end up costing us millions of pounds.

The Labour manifesto reads like a wish list, with nothing substantial behind it. At times the use of jargon and buzzwords results in incredibly long and pointless sentences. Try saying the following in one breath – and at the end of it, does it really mean anything?

"Ensure that there is proper integration between housing management services and other services that are essential to the maintenance of local neighbourhoods, and with allocations and homelessness procedures that treat people with respect"

What is definitely interesting is the almost silence on Council Tax – do they think it should stay low or be raised through the roof?

All the manifesto says is:

"We will not increase council tax in 2012. Our priority must be to deal with the financial ‘black hole’ created by the Tory Lib-Dem coalition in the City."

A quick reminder about Albert Bore’s Labour administration from 1999 to 2004. Simply, it was a financial mess. It repeatedly failed to stay within budget, with sudden freezes of department budgets mid-way through the year. In 2001, for six months, the Transportation Department did not
fill any potholes, as it was running over budget. The only way Albert’s administration knew how to govern was to increase Council tax above the rate of inflation.

Below is the annual Council tax rises under Albert and the rate of inflation:

Year Council tax increase Inflation rate
1999/00 5.42% 1.8%
2000/01 4.99% 2.9%
2001/02 4.40% .07%
2002/03 4.40% 2.9%
2003/04 4.40% 2.8%
2004/05 1.50% 3.5%

Yet despite those repeatedly above inflation Council tax increases, the quality of Council services declined. The Government’s inspectors rated the Council as ‘POOR’ and threatened to take Social Services and the Planning department out of the Council’s hands since they were being so badly run.

In other words, Labour took more and more of our hard-earned money and did less and less with it.

Contrast those Council tax increases with the present administration, which has kept increases as low as possible whilst continually improving council services.

Year Council tax Increase Inflation rate
2005/06 2.80% 2.2%
2006/07 1.90% 4.4%
2007/08 1.90% 4%
2008/09 1.90% 0.09%
2009/10 1.90% 2.4%
2010/11 1.90% 4.8%
2011/12 0% 5.2%
20012/13 0% 3.6%

As a result Birmingham now has the lowest Council tax in the West Midlands and one of the lowest in the UK for a metropolitan area.

So what would an Albert Bore Labour administration do to Council Tax?

Well as the manifesto says “We will not increase council tax in 2012.” – which is correct, since it has already been set by the present administration and can’t be changed. But what about the Council tax for 2013/14? Not a peep. But the following sentence says it all: "Our priority must be to deal with the financial ‘black hole’ created by the Tory Lib-Dem coalition in the City." This might be interpreted as follows: "we can find no issues with the present budget, but once we fund our promises to ‘special interest’ groups, there will be a ‘black hole’ – so get ready for an above inflation Council Tax rise in 2013/14"

Indeed Albert hinted at this in the budget speech in February, when he described the Council tax as “artificially low” – see

So just like the new Disney movie John Carter has wasted million of dollars, Albert Bore’s Labour administration is going to waste your money, all over again.


At 7:09 PM, Blogger nicktheowl said...

Erm... The Manifesto says "We will not raise Council Tax in 2012." Do you need that spelling out for you or shall I draw you a diagram?


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