Publication of the Kerslake Review


Responding to the Publication of the Kerslake Review on the 9 December 2014, Labour MP for Birmingham Northfield, Richard Burden MP 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.”

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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