Police chief could lead investigation into bankrupt council

Credit: Department for Levelling Up

Birmingham City Council is facing even more upset as reports suggest that a police chief will be appointed to lead an investigation into the authority. 

The Telegraph alleges that Michael Gove is on the hunt for a former police chief to chair the investigation and will provide details of its terms and powers in the coming weeks.

He will use powers under the 1999 Local Government Act instead of having a judge oversee affairs according to an unnamed Conservative source. 

As the region prepares for the local elections tomorrow (May 2), the source said to The Telegraph: “Labour has put Birmingham into bankruptcy and increased council tax on local residents to pay for their out-of-control spending and eye-watering debt loads. Residents deserve answers after a decade of decline under Labour.

“This is a flashing red warning sign of what Sir Keir Starmer would do to Britain if he gets his hands on the keys to Number 10: more spending, more borrowing, more debt and higher taxes – driving Britain into bankruptcy.”

Residents of the largest local authority in Europe have been hit with a council tax increase over the current referendum limit from 4.99% to 9.99% for the next two years. The additional income for 2024/25 would reduce the £300m budget gap by just £21.8m.

The council has received £1.255bn in Exceptional Financial Support (EFS) from the Government, which must be paid back through £750m of asset sales.

It will help to tackle an equal pay liability above £867m, an overspend on IT system Oracle of £136m and support a £100m redundancy scheme when it cuts 600 jobs.

The bankrupt council has two years to balance its budget and make revenue savings of £293m. It’s now signed off where £226m will be saved with measures including dimming streetlights to save £900k, spending £12m less on maintaining roads and making waste collections fortnightly to save £4m.

Both Birmingham City Council and the Department of Levelling-Up have been contacted for comment. 

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