Greater Birmingham, a transformation for all, or more for those in the right place at the right time?

Decentralisation is something the UK could do with as the South East grows apace while the regions struggle to make ends meet. Birmingham it seems, and according to Lord Heseltine, has seen the light, and to mix metaphors, is grasping the nettle.
A new Labour administration came back into office this summer with Sir Albert Bore continuing at the helm and apparently more in charge than ever – that’s a concern voiced by one Labour councillor I spoke to. I did appreciate some quick turn around, in stating that Birmingham would pay a minimum living wage to employees. And yes of course these things have to be paid for.
The problem I see I can illustrate from another story in today’s Birmingham Post about another undoubted success story, Birmingham Airport. The opening paragraph shows who benefits from this with the directors’ pay “soaring” and pay outs to shareholders. So how do those employees who have contributed to the airport’s success benefit. What is left to put back into local authority’s coffers to deliver essential services to those citizens who are struggling to get decent jobs and housing and to pay for huge costs of fuel and food?
The idea is to make a link as Bore himself declare: “Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said that public sector involvement was key, as economic growth and improvement to the social sphere go hand-in-hand.
He added: ‘I believe we can make a difference and a difference that the region itself will recognise in a few years time.’ “
(Birmingham Post 4/1/2013)
In terms of change to local authorities what will this look like. Cameron declared it was his intention to roll back state intervention, and this is just what the Con Dem coalition has done nationally as its little blueprint running Birmingham City Council did. They brought in Capita, now a giant organisation specialising in offshore scams and tax dodges, ideas it passes on to others undoubtedly for a small consideration. Sir Albert favours KPMG who he had been linking with in his earlier administration. I remember walking into Birmingham Council House on morning to see the TV screens to read “KPMG welcomes you to Birmingham City Council.” I looked at the security officers to see of they were wearing a new uniform. Would I come into be welcomed by staff in Mickey Mouse costumes I wondered at the time. What is new to the announcement that local government will change? One or two firms of accountants have turned themselves into massive consultancies and are increasingly running the show and calling the shots. They or their employees don’t create the wealth themselves but rely on others. In Britain the 80% manufacturing, 20% service sectors reversed themselves particularly after Thatcher’s intervention and Blair’s continuation. While working people create the wealth those in a position to do so, like the happy directors and shareholders of Birmingham Airport, take the cream – and a lot more besides. New Labour, and other politicians talk of a new “cuddly capitalism”. That’s not the nature of the beast and the sooner that’s admitted the better.

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