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‘Bankrupt’ council at centre of budget-cut protest holds ‘Queering Nutrition’ event

‘Bankrupt’ council at centre of budget-cut protest holds ‘Queering Nutrition’ event


A council refuse collector empties bins in Birmingham on the day the city council announced it was unable to balance its budget and was, in effect,' bankrupt'

A council refuse collector empties bins in Birmingham on the day the city council announced it was unable to balance its budget and was, in effect, ‘bankrupt’ – Mike Kemp/In Pictures

A ‘bankrupt’ council that became the subject of protests over proposed budget cuts has held a ‘Queering Nutrition’ event.

The brainchild of Birmingham city council’s public health division, the workshop explores the “interaction between the LGBTQ+ community and our food system”.

Forthcoming sessions will cover “approaches to care for non-binary and gender diverse individuals with dementia”, delivered by Newman University through an “intersectional lens”, and “alternative cervical screening for marginalised groups” and “inclusive language in healthcare settings”, led by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The 21-session programme comes as leaders formulate plans to plug a £300 million funding gap.

Gary Sambrook, Conservative MP for Birmingham Northfield, said: “Since the council’s bankruptcy was announced I’ve had countless meetings with community groups, people who rely on council service, and with councillors about the future of libraries and youth services.

Spend money wisely

“Labour’s bankruptcy will cost Birmingham for years to come. I want to see money being spent wisely and directed at those in need – not spending on projects which make well paid officials feel better about themselves.”

Ben Bradley, Conservative MP and leader of Nottinghamshire county council, added: “I’m the first person to acknowledge that local government is under huge pressure. As a council leader, I see that, and the challenge of balancing the books is a difficult one.

“But I totally lose sympathy in some of these areas where they’ve gone bankrupt and they’ve so visibly wasted money on absolute nonsense. Some of these things are pet projects or wokery and just designed to make the officers feel like they’re lovely people.

“It’s really hard to sympathise with their pressures and financial position when they spend so much money on so much [rubbish].”

Last year The Telegraph reported on Birmingham’s “food revolution conference”, during which Dr Justin Varney, the city’s director of public health, warned: “Food is really important to all of us … we can’t survive without eating”.

More recently the department was recruiting for a support officer – salary £25,119 to £31,364 per year – “to address health inequalities in communities of interest in Birmingham, including LGBT+” communities.

Budget cuts protest

On Tuesday protestors marched through the centre of the city after the council proposed to reduce the £57 million budget allocated to its children and families department. It is also considering cutting the adult social care budget by £22 million and housing by  £6 million.

A senior Conservative councillor on the West Midlands authority, who did not want to be named, said: “Birmingham council is bankrupt with its services failing the most vulnerable in the city, its children and those with additional needs.

“Due to these failings [its] children’s special educational needs service is now run by a government commissioner. And who will pay for this?

“Not just the children and families with poor services, but all the residents of this city with a 10 per cent council tax rise this year and another 10 per cent next year.

“Why should they be paying for this nonsense when their bins are regularly not emptied?”

Eliot Keck, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, says Birmingham city council has 'clearly learnt nothing' from criticism of previous spending plansEliot Keck, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, says Birmingham city council has 'clearly learnt nothing' from criticism of previous spending plans

Eliot Keck, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, says Birmingham city council has ‘clearly learnt nothing’ from criticism of previous spending plans – https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/elliot_keck

Elliot Keck, head of campaigns at the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Birmingham council have clearly learnt nothing from the shocking damage it has inflicted on its finances.

“A culture of shocking waste and mismanagement is being paid for by local taxpayers, yet bureaucrats in the town hall are still happy to waste time on the taxpayers’ dime.

“Birmingham needs a complete overhaul of the current culture and its replacement with one where delivering quality public services at low cost is the top priority.”

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said that its public health division was “facilitating a range of webinars for LGBT+ history month” but insisted it was a “zero-cost endeavour”.



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