Archives for posts with tag: Cllr John Clancy

Courage and principle. These are precisely what the Labour “moderates”, the heirs to Tony Blair’s “third way” politics, are said to lack. It was said they trashed principle in the pursuit of power”. So wrote former Conservative MP, Matthew Parris, in The Times last year.

Birmingham has lost a talented and caring leader due to its ‘moderate’ MPS, councillors and ‘support’ staff.

Earlier this month, Steven Walker blogged that councillors had denied the deal agreed with the Unite union and issued summary redundancy notices.

But an email from council leader John Clancy to depot managers confirmed the agreement and began its implementation. It may be seen in Walker’s article, republished on the BATC site.

Birmingham bin strike: cabinet DID support Clancy deal

A senior Birmingham Labour source told Walker that a cabinet meeting did take place on 17 August to discuss the deal, the day before Clancy’s email to the union went out. It was an official, formal ‘Part 2’ meeting and John Clancy’s proposed agreement with the bin workers was passed by cabinet with a clear majority in support.

Leave it to management – for how long?

The city’s equivalent of ‘Sir Humphrey’ is said, on returning from her holiday, to have applied ‘all kinds of pressure’ to the cabinet members to row back on the decision. A Mail article reports that the CEO told the elected leader of the council it was not appropriate for him to ‘interfere in a management disciplinary matter”.

The Labour councillors have now made a new statement saying: “A just settlement must be found as quickly as possible to the Birmingham bin dispute. Bin workers deserve justice on pay and our city deserves a high-quality service”.

But a just settlement was reached – along the very lines they now advocate – and they wrecked it. The Unite union is calling for the council to honour that deal struck by its able and honest council leader John Clancy in August.







Birmingham has been named the most entrepreneurial city in the UK for four successive years – with more start-up businesses than anywhere outside of London. Data released by StartUp Britain shows that 17,473 new businesses were registered in Birmingham during 2016, an increase of 25% on the previous year. There are almost 114,000 self-employed people in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, according to the Office for National Statistics. It also won an award for business support

The leader of Birmingham Council, Cllr John Clancy, said: “Birmingham, known for years as the city of a thousand trades, remains a vibrant centre for entrepreneurs who are prepared to work hard, strike out on their own, and get businesses off the ground. 

There was an outcry when the Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled a National Insurance hike for self-employed workers in the Budget – now postponed. Some 4.6 million people, around 15% of the workforce, are now self-employed and data from the Office for National Statistics show that two thirds of new jobs in the UK created in recent years are down to self-employment.

Cllr Clancy called on Mrs May immediately to overrule Chancellor Philip Hammond and rule out any increases in Class 4 NIC payments. He said the proposal would hit those who took risks to set up small businesses and create jobs.

Well-informed readers explain that – as long as the self-employed have a contribution record established – they get the standard state retirement pension and older self-employed workers attaining pension age today have, in many cases, some pension accrued as employees for a number of years of their life which the present generation will not have. Benefits the self-employed cannot access relate to holidays, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has announced that Labour is to convene a summit to develop a new deal for self-employed workers and small businesses and develop Labour’s policy on self-employment. – recognising “that the world of work itself is changing”.




A link was sent today by a Bournville reader and followed by Cllr John Clancy’s message: “I know we have to do more to deliver the houses our citizens desperately need and deserve. This is an absolute priority for me and the cabinet. We are already building at a scale unheard of for decades and delivering the housing this city needs.

wake-green-prefabsValued homes: Grade 2 listed Phoenix prefabs in Wake Green Road, Moseley

The reader’s link led to an article by Reuter’s  Astrid Zweynert. After a brief account of post-war prefab building, she writes: “Faced with a chronic, new housing shortage, Britain is once more embracing prefabrication as it struggles to meet its promise to build a million homes in England by 2020. In a major policy announcement last month, the government said it supported off-site construction, promised financial support for prefabs and to make public land available for “modular schemes”, as they are known now”.

An online search will reveal many expensive and stylish prefabricated houses and fewer low cost models – but such options do exist. Building Design highlighted three prefabricated solutions to the housing crisis in 2016.


The first design (above), by Urban Splash, was one of the new range of low-cost prefabricated housing solutions being ‘rolled out’ across the country with the potential to help tackle Britain’s affordable housing crisis.




john clancyBefore receiving ‘stop press’ news about a grant for hydrogen buses, we recalled the words of Birmingham City’s Council leader, “Transport links and the Buses Bill are key to making local economies across the UK more economically inclusive and prosperous. High quality public transport is fundamental to ensuring more inclusive growth. Poor air quality is responsible for around the same number of deaths across core cities as it is in London and must be tackled if our cities are to thrive.”

This was a paragraph written by Cllr John Clancy to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, urging him to put improved transport links between the UK’s major cities at the top of his ‘to-do’ list.

We then asked, ‘why not consider a gradual transition to cleaner forms of road and waterway passenger transport’?


It is reported that the Icknield Port Loop development will open up a little-used and inaccessible corner of the city’s canal network, creating 1.5km of new towpath, new moorings, waterbus stops and space for historic boats.

Thames river buses are well used and people arriving in Leeds by train can take a water taxi from Granary Wharf every day, travelling along a scenic canal route – free of charge. The service is funded by the docks’ management.


Such services could be introduced on Birmingham canals, which are lined with many handsome, well-designed industrial buildings, some in need of restoration for reuse, and could become a pleasing feature of the city, with commuters and visitors travelling by water.

Diesel emissions would become a distant memory as cleaner vehicles are used on road and waterways.

Microcab, Coventry University’s spin-off company, has for several years operated hydrogen-fuelled minicabs powered by motors so green their only “emission” is water pure enough to drink and the UK’s first hydrogen fuelling station was opened at the University of Birmingham before a fleet of five Microcabs was delivered to the University of Birmingham in 2008.

And as Professor Harris (Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham) pointed out during a recent BMI address, ‘Hydrogen and Rare Earth Magnets: Towards a Pollution Free Environment’ the Ross Barlow canal boat, operating between the University and the City Centre, is powered by hydrogen.

ross barlow city background

Instead of being mired every day in city centre congestion, many travellers could escape to the outskirts by water and – as the use of clean fuel rose – the burden on the NHS would be lessened.

Is this revolution on its way? The Tyburn Mail reports that Birmingham City Council and Transport for London has jointly been given £2.8 million by the Government’s  Department for Transport for 42 state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell buses.













Regional economic development in question

Aston BS Pic

Professor David Bailey sends notice of the Aston Centre for Europe workshop on Brexit and its regional and industrial impact: Thursday 21 July 2016: 1.30 – 5.15pm. Venue: Aston Business School, Aston University, Conference Room 1. Speakers include academics, MEPs, trade unionists, business groups.

Panel 1: The  and Britain’s economic development: what can we expect for the regions?

Panel 2 The referendum outcome and workers’ rights in the UK: regional implications in the West Midlands and beyond.

Details and booking here:

David Bailey,  Professor of Industrial Strategy

Economics & Strategy Group Aston Business School

The Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK.

Our projects:


David’s Blog:





Care for EVERY child in the city – wherever they live

council house

Cllr John Clancy, leader of the city council, records good progress already being made with social care and education improvements. He adds that a joined-up approach to family support, learning, skills and employment, embedded in the community and the home will be developed, working with leaders across the public, private and voluntary sector. “Every Child, Every Citizen, Every Place Matters – this is not just a slogan but a promise that every school matters, and everyone in those schools matter”.


A reader who spent many years teaching in what used to be called Birmingham’s social priority schools, in Hockley, Small Heath and Yardley Wood, welcomes Cllr Clancy’s inclusive approach and the assurance of careful monitoring of all schools, registered and unregistered, outlined in his message to the city’s residents by website and email alert. A report to the education scrutiny committee on this and other related subjects may be heard again here.

Many are hoping that, in future, the application of his innovative economic policies will ensure purposeful work for the young people who will have benefited from improved social care and education, in particular:

  • the proposed redirection of local government pension funds to invest in local infrastructure
  • the added support for enterprise and innovation and the recognition of the contribution made by large numbers of the city’s small and medium businesses, many family owned.

There is a welcome focus on the rejuvenation of the city’s forty wards, through a package of devolution measures transferring decision-making to the most local level.

A Green Deal

On Tuesday it is hoped that Birmingham City Council will approve a £59 million programme of investment into its stock of council properties, upgrading heating systems, insulating and replacing windows and roofs for around 5,800 homes. As Cllr John Cotton (cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management & Homes) said: “Not only will this substantially improve our tenants’ homes, but by replacing inefficient heating systems, we can further reduce the city’s carbon dioxide emissions and lower our tenants’ heating bills.”

The upturn in the city’s governance is being achieved despite serious cuts.  It has been reported that most of the extra cash set aside to help councils cope with funding changes – ‘transitional grants’ – are going to Conservative areas. This move appears to add an eighth strategy to the seven listed by Jeremy Corbyn in his Fabian Society address, ‘rigging’ the electoral system to hold on to power and increase a narrow majority by weakening opposition inside and outside parliament.

A few days after Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, announced a targeted programme of action to clean up litter-strewn neighbourhoods, leaflets are being distributed by Conservative councillors urging constituents to get involved their own litter-picking drive in Britain’s largest litter pick’.

In the second of nine actions recommended to rebuild the rapidly declining Conservative party membership and appeal to the urban ‘grassroots’, via the Brummie we learn that an inventive touch has been added. Parveen Hassan reports that all are being urged to join a “Clean for The Queen” campaign weekend during 4th-6th March 2016: “This is a great opportunity to make residents in Birmingham wards get neat and tidy in time for The Queen’s official 90th birthday on 21st April 2016”.

clean for the queenWhich Compassionate Conservative action point will be selected next:

  • Formation of a local Compassionate Conservative Caucus to focus on social justice – too late for Dr Mattu . . .
  • Formation of a Birmingham RoadTrip group? We hope not.

bham air pollution

A Compassionate Conservative government could grit its teeth and – facing down corporate dismay – cleanse the country’s water and air of the high levels of pollution damaging the health of all.

On his website, Cllr John Clancy, the Leader of Birmingham City Council, celebrates the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust development by Jessups in Nechells and Small Heath (below) – properties offered at an affordable rent.

bmht 2 small heath

BMHT, founded in 2009, aims to build attractive homes which are cheap to run. As fuel costs are a major factor in budgeting, its use of the latest ‘green technologies’ help to make running these homes as cheap as possible. They are carefully designed to meet the Building for Life standards and are all Secure by Design compliant, achieving a reduction of crime risk ‘by combining minimum standards of physical security and well-tested principles of natural surveillance and defensible space’.

Cllr Clancy writes: “Building housing here and now is our first priority.

“The Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust is building houses in the hundreds and I’m absolutely determined that the city as a whole must now move towards building thousands.

“Housing transforms lives, it transforms futures. It has an impact on people’s physical and mental health, it has impacts on education and much more. That’s why I make it my first priority in this city. Nationally Labour is looking to develop housing policies and BMHT shows how local authorities can play a major role in addressing the housing crisis.”

“This isn’t simply about bricks and mortar though, it’s about people and families. The Karem family have moved from a one-bedroom flat to a house with a front garden and a back garden and you could see the joy on their faces. It was an absolute joy to see how much the move has meant to the family and that’s down to the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust.”


Central government will no doubt appreciate this work and ensure that every support can be given to enable further building and refurbishment of empty housing.

“(The Madin Library) is an iconic building of the 70s. We need to keep examples of the best architecture of every era”, said Jen, who was lobbying councillors going into the Council House reception entrance.

clancy entranceOn December 1st, as councillors arrived for the first meeting with John Clancy, the new leader of Birmingham city council, many gave their views for and against the retention and reuse of the Madin Library’s ‘ziggurat’ (pictured in leaflet) to campaigners at three entrances to the Council House.

A reporter present placed an account on the BBC website.

clancy library joeCouncillors were offered a copy of the leaflet designed by Joe (right), calling for the building to be given an alternative use.

Alan Clawley, who has written books about the library and its local architect John Madin, hopes that it can still be saved:

“Although we previously held a wake for it, there is still some life in the building”. A Certificate of Immunity from Listing runs out in January and campaigners will apply to have the building listed.

clancy library leaflet

The campaign ended with an address by Mary Keating (below left), who pointed out that it was “internationally” significant, as the petition she presented at the Council House had been signed by people all over the world. She described the 1974 structure as a “Marmite building”, either loved or loathed, but insisted that either way it must be saved because of its importance.

Many present expressed confidence in the new council’s leader’s proposed policies and look forward to an exchange of views with him in due course. Ms Keating held up a copy of an open letter to Cllr Clancy on the subject.

clancy library letterclancy library alan








Mary continued: “The site can be developed with the Library as the centrepiece. The alternative development plan, that retains the Library, does not compromise the new road layout, and is comparable in density and floorspace to the Argent masterplan. . .

“Demolition has begun around the edges of the Library, our mission is to save the main structure the iconic Ziggurat. The Council have said on their website that the demolition of the main structure will not commence until Spring 2016. Time to apply and process a listing application that will be made on the 11th January 2016” .

Alan Clawley (above right), who has been campaigning to save the Library since 2002, is publishing ‘The Library Story’, which will be launched on the 18th December, and tells the story of the protracted campaign. If you would like to reserve a copy of the book or support the campaign contact Mary Keating at

Mary ended: “I think we now have the support of a new generation of people in Birmingham who love the building and have grown up with it”.

Anna Douglas, chair of the West Midlands branch of the 20th Century Society, has given ongoing support and sent photographs taken on Dec 1st, from which the pictures of Mary, Alan and Joe were clipped.

For more information go to

Only 78 Labour councillors will have the opportunity to elect the next leader of Europe’s largest metropolitan authority. The Chamberlain Files thinks a few more should have a say and has profiled the four candidates and created a poll for visitors to the Chamberlain Files here:

john clancyHaving watched the constructive egalitarian policies set out by Cllr John Clancy for over ten years, the writer had no hesitation in voting for him – and noted that currently over 50% responding to the poll are doing so.

In the Chamberlain Files, Paul Dale informs us that John Clancy, councillor for Quinton ward, is a former corporate lawyer turned teacher who hails from Labour’s working class moderate trade union wing:

“He has a good brain and has been at the forefront of policy development for Labour, in particular dissecting the accounts of almost 100 local government pension schemes to prove that billions of pounds a year is wasted by councils throwing fees at city investment advisers for poor returns . . .

“Clancy’s big idea, which has been embraced by the present government, is to amalgamate the very many public sector pension funds into four or five large funds, and use the money saved on administration to deliver economic development and new social housing . . .

“Professor David Bailey, head of industrial strategy at Aston University Business School, would be a key member of Clancy’s cabinet. Bailey has been a trusted adviser to Clancy for several years and can expect to make a significant contribution to the city council’s economic strategy going forward, if John Clancy is elected”.

Use the Chamberlain Files’ link to read about Cllr Clancy’s views on New Street Station and the Grand Central shopping centre, HS2, the Southside development of the wholesale markets and the redevelopment of Paradise Circus.

Most of the wider public do not read the Birmingham Post in which Clancy’s articles have appeared, but hearsay arising from his presentation to the discriminating WM New Economics Group indicates that that he is a good communicator and – given more exposure though social media – his policies could have Corbyn-level appeal for the Labour Party influx and the Birmingham electorate. Highlights on record:

  • For ten years, local councillors led by John Clancy and the Hodge Hill MP battled to protect the Brockhurst Playing Fields but finally, in 2010, Birmingham’s Conservative City Council permitted Tesco to build a superstore on them;
  • His 2010 analysis of the 2008 economic crisis stressed the failure across much of the private sector – not the public sector: the failure of global markets, global finance, credit systems and of the light-touch regulation to keep the market supposedly as free as possible. He adds that if the taxpayer not stepped in, there would have been widespread, catastrophic private business collapse across the West Midlands.
  • In 2012 Cllr Clancy urged the council to place the wholesale markets at the heart of Birmingham’s economy. His stirring speech to the full council contrasted the council’s attitude to the German Market with its treatment of the wholesale markets – describing the wholesale and retail markets as the city’s most long-lasting SME cluster. His slogan for Birmingham, a global city with a truly local heart, “Markets matter!”
  • He believes that instead of building a city from global retail, financial markets and office space, it should be built from thousands of small and medium businesses. He proposes less emphasis on the global and more on the local, repeating that global capital got us into ‘this mess’ and local capital and local circulation of capital could get us out of it.
  • In 2014 a new report on air quality in Birmingham showed that our community is on course to fail targets on nitrogen dioxide levels because of traffic congestion. Since 2005 Councillor John Clancy has chaired a local focus group and advocated reduction of harmful emissions.

snow hill canary wharf like

  • In 2015, with reference to yet more glitzy city centre Canary Wharf-style development he asked: “Do the people of Birmingham really want to divert investment to ‘destructive casino banking?”

Certainly, if John Clancy succeeds Sir Albert Bore, his intention to make a fairer distribution of economic development investment from the city centre to inner city areas and the suburbs will offer hope to neglected wards and a path to a wider based regional prosperity.