Today (2 June 2018) marks the 150th anniversary of the first Trades Union Congress (TUC). The congress brought the trade union movement together for the first time. Councillor Mary Locke describes the positive impact unions have had in our society and why they remain vitally important to creating a fairer future for us all.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday 25th May 2018, Birmingham, UK
Newly-elected Labour Councillors, Liz Clements and Fred Grindrod, have expressed their anger and dismay that a phone mast in Bournville Village will be installed as a result of an error in Birmingham City Council’s handling of the planning process.
Labour candidates Fred Grindrod and Liz Clements have written to the Conservative West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street and the leader of the Conservative Group on Birmingham City Council, Robert Alden, asking them to condemn remarks made by the Conservative candidate for Bournville and Cotteridge at yesterday (Thursday 27th April) evening’s hustings in Bournville and Cotteridge.
Last Saturday (2 December), Cllr Mary Locke supported Small Business Saturday UK for the third year in the row by visiting small businesses and talking to the people who bring added variety and interest to our local shops.
Cllr Mary Locke recently met with Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and staff from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) to discuss ways of improving traffic congestion in Cotteridge.
This week, Cllr Mary Locke (left in photo) and Bournville Labour Party volunteers have been out talking to people in Cotteridge and Bournville to better understand the issues – both local and national – that local people are most concerned about.
We’re planning to be out most weeks in the run up to Christmas so that we can gather feedback from local people in Bournville, Cotteridge and Stirchley. We’ll then use this feedback to set out our priorities for the local elections in May 2018, so that we’re focusing on the issues that really matter.
Here’s some of the things we’ve learned so far.
On Wednesday (16 August), the conciliation service Acas announced the bin strike had been suspended and Birmingham City Council were in negotiations to bring the seven-week dispute to an end. Here is Cllr Mary Locke’s response to the news.
National Express West Midlands is currently consulting on possible changes to bus services in South Birmingham and there are real concerns bus services, including the 27, could be reduced or cancelled altogether.
Last week, we provided an update on what Cllr Mary Locke and the council have been doing in response to the Grenfell Tower fire to keep local people safe. Earlier this week (Tuesday 27 June), the Cabinet met to take stock of the actions that have already been taken and to decide what will happen. Here’s an update on what actions have been taken, what future work is planned and what Mary is doing to reassure local people living in high rises.
Actions taken so far
Following the fire in London, Birmingham City Council has taken the following actions:
- Central government cladding checks. The council has sent details of all different types of cladding used in council properties to central government. Where central government has had concerns over safety concerns, councils have been asked to send cladding off for testing. So far, Birmingham has not been asked to send off any samples.
- Local council cladding checks. The council has decided to go beyond the requirements set by central government and run tests in Birmingham on cladding. So far, the tests have found no concerns but testing is ongoing.
- Fire Safety checks. The council has carried out a review of all risk assessment papers to ensure assessment are up-to-date. All towers have an up-to-date risk assessment.
- Physical checks on blocks. Daily inspections of all high-rise blocks were already being carried out before the Grenfell Tower fire and these have continued.
- Refurbishment checks. Where refurbishment work has been undertaken, a review of all specifications on the materials used has been carried out. The council is confident that the materials used in Birmingham properties are not the same as those used in London.
Future investment in safety measures
- Sprinklers should be retro-fitted. The council has reviewed the safety of Birmingham’s tower blocks and identified that water sprinkler systems would assist us in ensuring that residents living in tower blocks have the best protection in the event of fire.
- Central government need to help Birmingham meet the cost of fitting sprinklers. The Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr John Clancy, has written to the leaders of other major cities in England, asking for their support to lobby central government for help paying the estimated £31 million it will cost to retro-fit sprinklers.
- Birmingham City Council is determined to improve safety. Regardless of whether it receives financial support from central government, the council will be developing a rolling programme of sprinkler installation and fire prevention measures. These improvements will be paid for out of the council’s Capital receipts.
- Birmingham City Council will implement any recommendations that come out from the enquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.
A positive start but no room for complacency
The results of the safety checks carried out so far indicate Birmingham City Council has taken its Fire Safety responsibilities seriously. The Leader of the council and the Cabinet have also made a clear commitment to build on the safety measures that already exist through a rolling programme of sprinkler installation.
Cllr Mary Locke will be writing to residents living in high-rise towers on the Masefield Estate to inform them about what is being done to keep them safe. Over the coming weeks and months, Mary will keep a close eye on the situation, to ensure that the council makes good on the commitments it has given to local people.