Birmingham & Black Country

Street lights to be dimmed as council makes cuts in Birmingham

Birmingham Council House Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Birmingham City Council says its has to save £46m over the next financial year

Streetlights in Birmingham are set to be dimmed as the city council announces £46m in cuts over the next financial year.

Councillors met on Tuesday to approve the £852m budget for 2019-20, which includes a 4.99% council tax rise - the maximum permitted without a referendum.

People in Band D properties will see a £65 rise to £1,380.85, plus additional charges to fund police and fire.

Council leader Ian Ward said "brutal" cuts by the government were to blame.

The Labour-run authority says the cutbacks are needed to save £85m over the next four years.

The savings include:

  • Dimming street lighting and shortening the time they are active for
  • Increasing bulky and garden waste fees
  • Reducing funding to arts and cultural organisations by £1m
Image caption Council leader Ian Ward said cuts had to be made due to a cut in government funding

Up to 1,095 full-time jobs are also anticipated to go, previously revealed last year. The council has not yet said where the axe will fall.

Plans to introduce charges for dealing with rats and cutting funding for crossing patrols were shelved following a public consultation, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Despite the cuts Mr Ward pointed to "reasons for optimism" including major housing projects in the pipeline, HS2 and the Commonwealth Games 2022.

He said: "The budget is not simply a response to our financial challenges, it is a forward looking financial plan to transform the way we work, change the way services are delivered, and look towards new opportunities to improve quality of life for citizens in the long-term."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Ward was criticised by Conservatives over his handling of the bin strike

But the Conservative group criticised him over his handling of the bin strikes and said the budget "lacked ambition."

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