Yesterday I attended full Council to listen to Cllr Mike Whitby, the Leader of Birmingham City Council, address the Chamber in, what is known as, his State of the City speech. It was a fantastic speech, which really captured the city’s potential while outlining its achievements since the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition was formed in 2005. Since 2005:
- Birmingham’s CPA results have doubled the number of services rated “good” or better than good, compared to three years ago (out of seven areas rated, 3 were good+ in 2005, 4 last year and 6 this year).
- The Audit Commission described BCC as “weak” in 2004 to “improving well” in 2009.
- The Council’s 4-year-average council tax increase of 1.9% is the lowest of all in the Metropolitan Authorities in the UK.
- BCC savings have been vested into front-line services with now over £182m additional investment in front-line services since 2004.
- BCC have secured £20bn of public and private sector investment for future years…
- …and maintained an unwavering commitment to delivering tight fiscal discipline and improving front-line services.
Now these are just the foundations I’ve mentioned. The world has a lot to look forward to including a reinvigorated New St Station; soon to be a world-class transport gateway creating 10,000 jobs, £2bn of economic impact with a capacity of 52m passengers each year. Birmingham International Airport and Central Library are also on the agenda.
It’s breath-taking how much a Conservative local authority can contribute to the country’s, as well as the city’s, economic well being. Now imagine how much a Conservative government could do! So lets take on the struggle to welcome a Conservative government in the next general election that will in turn give more power back to hard-working local authorities like Birmingham City Council. A win-win situation! ;-)