I was interested to see a snippet of the Erdington District Committee meeitng this week. That district is apparently considering cutting some of its school crossing patrols (lollipop men and women) and the Chairman Cllr Holbrook stated “every district across Birmingham is looking at this as an option”.
Let me assure Edgbaston district residents that the Conservative Councillors in Edgbaston are NOT. When we had our budget discussions (where the Conservatives made it crystal clear to the Labour members that we were not closing a library), the subject of school crossing patrols was raised. I said immediately that I thought it would be absolutely wrong to look at that as a way to save money, and I was having none of it. I said something on the lines of we were categorically NOT going to put children’s safety at risk.
The other Conservative members and the three Labour members present (there are five of them but they didn’t all turn up) did not disagree with me. So that suggestion was on the table for all of about 30 seconds in the Edgbaston district, before being thrown out.
Yes we all know money is tight and savings have to be made. But at such times it is more important than ever that we spend what money we do have wisely.
Localisation – giving some (albeit limited) powers to local Districts – was always going to show (eventually) the difference between the priorities of Labour and Conservatives in the city. Now money is tight, those differences are becoming apparent. Edgbaston hasn’t been treated any more fairly than any other district. We actually had one of the smallest (if not the smallest) budget of all the districts to start with, and we have been treated the same as everyone else. Funding has been given for deprivation (not as I understand someone implied in the news recently because an area is marginal) and Edgbaston District has its share of deprived areas.
But like every other district, Conservative run Edgbaston is having to make savings. However NOT in the area of libraries, and absolutely definitely not in the area of school crossings. Because those things are priorities of the Conservative Councillors running Edgbaston.
Whereas spending 62 million on wheelie bins when times are hard, is Labour’s priority is Birmingham.