City MP calls for greater local involvement in light of Review

“Institutions in Birmingham must rise to the challenge.”

The Kerslake Review into the governance of Birmingham has drawn an immediate response from city politicians.

Responding to the publication of the review, which criticised the running of the city over a period of many years, Richard Burden the Labour MP for Birmingham Northfield, said: “As Sir Bob Kerslake says, we Brummies have pride and passion in our city. He is also right to identify serious problems – in relation to the strategic management of the City, its approach to partnership working and in the extent to which local people have a real say over decisions affecting their lives.

“These problems go back a long time. They are not limited to one political administration of the Council, as those of us who have been raising them for years can testify.

“There are some important recommendations in the Kerslake Review. He is right to call for fresh thinking and I am pleased he recognises the important work which both Lord Warner and Sir Mike Tomlinson are doing to keep children safe and to improve education.

The City Council and other public institutions in Birmingham must rise to the challenges that have been identified. But I also have three messages for the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.

“First, that simply trying to impose top down solutions from Whitehall will not work. Brummies themselves must be in the driving seat in securing the changes our city needs.

“Second the disproportionate cuts his government are imposing on Birmingham make it more difficult to secure the changes Birmingham needs. Worse than that, they are limiting the life chances of our young people.

“And third, he needs to break out of his own mindset. He has referred to Birmingham as Britain’s second city. There is nothing second best about our city or our people. It is not about ranking cities. It’s about enabling them to fly. It’s time we saw more serious devolution of power to English City regions to make that happen.”