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Letter: Blair threats to city.

Byline: JOHN HEMMING

Dear Editor, - During the past week I have heard three threats against Birmingham from the Government.

On Wednesday week at a meeting of Common Purpose I was told that if the council did not reinstate the bus lane on the Tyburn Road the Government would withdraw the funding of pounds 1 billion for transport in the West Midlands.

On Thursday I was told (at the Executive Management Team meeting) that if the Council did not waste pounds 1.6 million of tenants money on yet another stock option consultation the Government would fine Birmingham's tenants pounds 50 million.

On Friday I received a letter from the Government which said we must scrap our Ward Advisory Boards and bring in centralised 'snouts in the trough' decision-making. There are two generic issues here. The first is who is supposed to run Birmingham? Is it the city council elected by the people of Birmingham or is it the Government?

Secondly, there are substantial issues to debate.

On the issue of housing we know what the tenants want by a two thirds majority. Stock Transfer in Glasgow has been shown to fail (apart from having nice new offices for the staff).

As far as Neighbourhood Renewal is concerned the government want to replace a system which involves the local community being involved at a local level with a 'snouts in the trough' approach that has been shown to fail over many years.

The Government, however, appear not to be interested in this debate. They appear to be interested merely in enforcing the current governmental conventional wisdom.

JOHN HEMMING Deputy Leader Birmingham City Council
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 4, 2004
Words:272
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