Birmingham City Council had announced that the government was forcing it to cut the cost of public services by £212m during the next financial year, but in May 2011 Alan Clawley, chairman of the West Midlands New Economics Group – after several days poring over the 166-page Budget Book – saw that public services were indeed being cut but that civic spending was set to increase.

He was so surprised by this finding that he emailed the council to check the figures, thinking that he must have made a mistake. He referred to these findings in the Birmingham Press after setting them out in great detail at a WMNEG meeting, adding his proposals for an alternative budget (tables may be seen here).

He actually found an overall INCREASE: the council made cuts of £149 million but increases of £164 million, so the overall cost of running the Council was to increase by £14 million, i.e. from £3,513 million in 2010/11 to £3,527 million in 2011/12.

Alan will open a general discussion of the current situation by presenting the latest figures on Saturday, 2nd February, at the BFOE Warehouse in Allison St, B5 5TH, 10.15-12.00.