There were angry scenes at a meeting of Birmingham City Council last night when an organisation set up to tackle racism claimed it was being starved of funding and forced out of business.
Representatives from the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU) handed out leaflets at the Council House entrance and later jeered from the public gallery when a senior Conservative councillor claimed the unit only had itself to blame for the financial mess it found itself in. Alan Rudge, cabinet member for equalities and human resources, said BRAMU had refused to comply with a new council commissioning system for deciding which voluntary organisations should be given financial assistance.
As a result, no application for continuation of a £60,000 a year grant had been received from BRAMU.
Coun Rudge (Con, Sutton Vesey) accused BRAMU of “playing games” by suggesting that the council was responsible for its demise.
He added: “BRAMU has to go through the proper procedures like everyone else.”
Responding to a claim by Sparkbrook Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob that failure to give BRAMU a grant was “sending out the wrong message”, Coun Rudge added: “If you are saying certain organisations should be exempt from any rules and procedures and should be given money regardless of putting any business case forward you are opening up a Pandora’s box for this city.”
Opposition Labour group leader Sir Albert Bore urged the council to think again.
Sir Albert (Lab, Ladywood) said BRAMU had more than 100 cases of alleged racism on its books which would not be investigated if the organisation folded.