Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden has called for Birmingham City Council to rethink proposals published today following its Early Years Health and Wellbeing Review. Under the review Birmingham City Council proposes to contract out children’s centre services to a consortium of the Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s Spurgeons children’s charity and St Paul’s Community Trust. The City Council say the plan will better integrate health visiting and children’s centre services, but it will see a number of children’s centres de-registered by the Council.
Mr Burden said today:
Government cuts are hitting children’s centres and other Sure Start initiatives all over the country. A third of all the UK’s sure start centres have been lost since 2010. Birmingham has lost £17m from its own early years budget. Nobody should be under any illusions that the responsibility of cuts to children’s centres in Birmingham lies anywhere other than, at root, with the Conservative Government. That is why, together with other Labour MPs and the City Council, I will continue to demand that ministers change course.
But that does not let the City Council off the hook with what they are proposing here. In my constituency and several others they still appear not to have addressed most of the consultation responses they received over the summer from parents and from people who actually deliver early years services.
Looking at the position in my constituency, I am pleased the Council have told me that they will retain Wychall and Frankley Plus Children’s Centres as hubs for early years services, and that they have modified an earlier proposal to close Merrishaw Children’s Centre. Elsewhere in the constituency, however, it is far from clear what kind of support will be there for families. In an area of high deprivation like Kings Norton’s three estates, that is a real concern. In Weoley Castle, meanwhile, the City Council is planning to de-commission the well-established and highly regarded Children’s Centre only to then suggest running slimmed down services from two venues next door.
This remains a top-down reorganisation with far too many questions unanswered and precious little information about how its authors actually expect it to work.
Mr Burden has written to Council Leader Ian Ward urging that the City’s Cabinet withhold approval of the new arrangements unless and until the serious questions that have been raised are answered.
Government cuts to public services are bad enough but it is even worse when investment is approved for projects, only to then be delayed and threatened through unnecessary bureaucratic wrangles.
That, however, is what is happening on the Bournville Village Trust College Green development on the site of the former Bournville College on Bristol Road South. A new Health and Wellbeing centre is planned for the site and investment to construct the centre has been approved in principle by NHS England.
Now, though, delays by NHS England in revising some if its own rules and procedures are delaying the investment needed for the new centre. The danger is that if those delays go on much longer they could even prevent the centre being built at all. It is a crazy situation. Nobody seems to be questioning the need for the new centre or that it aligns with the strategic priorities of NHS England. It seems to be an entirely procedural wrangle that is holding things up.
Today I urged Ministers to step in to clear whatever procedural blockages are holding things up and make sure Bournville Gardens Health and Wellbeing Centre is built as planned.
Birmingham Airport are proposing to change two of the flight paths into the airport and have informed me that some parts of the Harborne, Selly Oak and Weoley areas could be affected.
The Flight path is called MOSUN and you can see the areas affected via this link to a map provided by the airport https://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/about-us/community-and-environment/flight-path-changes-north-runway33/which-flightpath-affects-me/.
More information on the new flightpath and the consultation documents published by the Airport can be found at https://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/about-us/community-and-environment/flight-path-changes-north-runway33/
Public consultation on the proposed flight path changes lasts until Monday 6th November and the link above tells you how you can submit your views. The airport are also holding a public meeting on Monday 16th October from 6-8pm, at the School Hall, Harborne Primary School, Station Road, Harborne, B17 9LU to brief residents in this part of South West Birmingham on what they are proposing and to listen to concerns.
Weoley Labour Councillor, Julie Johnson, and I will also be meeting with the airport in the next few weeks to discuss the proposed changes. If you live in my constituency of Birmingham Northfield and there are any issues you would like to raise with us as the elected representatives for your area, having read the consultation document and/or attended the public meeting, please e-mail us – if possible by no later than October 18th – to email@example.com.
Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter. This covers local issues and developments as well as my actions in Parliament. You’ll find updates on the bin dispute, traveller sites and other issues. As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on these or any other issues.
After weeks of missed collections across Birmingham, I am relieved that agreement has been reached to bring the bins dispute to an end and I thank the Council and Unions for doing so. Birmingham residents have understandably been left angry and frustrated by all of this, but they too will be relieved to have the clean streets that they expect and are entitled to.
The immediate focus must now be on the backlog of missed collections and clearing the mountains of rubbish that have been left behind on Birmingham’s streets and estates. My team and I will continue to work with local councillors and residents to report outstanding collections and piles of rubbish while the clean-up gets underway.