Dealing with our challenges and looking to the future

Cllr Ian WardI’m proud to have been elected as the new leader of Birmingham City Council’s Labour group and Interim Leader of the city council.

As a Brummie born and bred, I grew up in the east of Birmingham in Tile Cross, I’m passionate about our city. We’ve done tremendous things in the past and we’ll go onto do great things in the future.

So I’m ambitious and optimistic for the future but also realistic enough to know that we face significant challenges – not least the bins dispute.

Along with setting a balanced budget and working with Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel, this is clearly one of the biggest challenges currently facing us and I won’t pretend this has been our finest hour. But we are where we are and it’s clear that we’ve got to resolve the dispute quickly.

The recent court case gives us a window of opportunity to do that, because the staff are now all back at work and we have the opportunity to sit down around the table and enter into talks.

I’ve been speaking to people at the top of the Labour Party, I’ve written to Jeremy Corbyn and I’ve discussed the issues with Howard Beckett of UNITE. We’ve also met with ACAS this week. That’s what will resolve this situation. We’ve had enough megaphone diplomacy. Enough has been said across the airwaves in recent months and we now need to get down to some quiet negotiation.

I won’t shirk the current challenges but Birmingham is an ambitious city and I make no apology for looking to the future.

Speaking of which, the Government today confirmed it is now backing Birmingham to be the UK’s official candidate city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Birmingham bid team, the Government and Commonwealth Games England are now working together to finalise the formal bid submission to be delivered to the Commonwealth Games Federation tomorrow (30 September).

We have worked closely with the Commonwealth Games Delivery Unit set-up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Treasury to create a compelling, compliant and value for money bid for Birmingham to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The support of the UK Government is a great endorsement of our bid and we are excited about finalising our submission and edging closer to the opportunity to bring the Games to Birmingham.

The support we have received from a range of public and private sector partners and from across the wider West Midlands region and beyond has been incredible and we thank everyone for backing Brum’s bid to get us this far.

This city is of a scale that we means can do things here that other places never have the opportunity to do. The Commonwealth Games is a good example of that. Because of the investment of previous generations and their foresight, we have the facilities in place that enable us to put together a bid and, hopefully, successfully host the Games in 2022.

Understandably some people will tell us to forget about the Games and concentrate on collecting the bins. I say understandably because there is anger and frustration over the dispute.

But I firmly believe we can do both and we must not let temporary problems distract us from our long term ambitions. Our city deserves better than that.

Posted on September 29, 2017, in Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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