Labour leader at Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore claims his previous administration before 2004 laid the original groundwork for many of the successes of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
Sir Albert, whose Labour group returned to power in Birmingham after an eight-year absence following this month's local elections, said: “We had put a high proportion of schemes in place by the time their administration came to power.
“In 2003 arranged £200 million of funding with Advantage West Midlands and transport funds for New Street and I am pleased the project moved on.”
He also claimed that a great many of the council’s successes were based on improved funding deals from the Labour Government.
He said: “In 2004 the Government relaxed the rules on prudential borrowing, allowing the council to borrow the money to improve the housing stock and achieve the decent homes standard. This funding wasn’t available to us.”
But it was the library which Sir Albert was most scathing over, claiming coalition leader Mike Whitby changed the plans in order to make his own mark on the project.
“We decided that the Central Library was not fit for purpose and had a project in place," he said.
"It was costed and designed and would have underpinned the continued development of Eastside. We wanted the library there because there was no public sector investment.
"But Whitby changed the location out of political pique. He just couldn’t adopt our project. It set the development back years.”
Sir Albert also highlighted education as an area of concern, saying there had been no real leadership.
“Our concern is that as Secretary of State Michael Gove has taken powers from the council it has lost its way on this agenda.”
The Labour leader says he is concerned that the last Conservative-Lib Dem budget – hit £300 million Government spending cuts in two years – is full of ‘black holes’ as there were many savings to be achieved through unspecified ‘efficiencies’.
“I don’t know what kind of mess we will inherit,” he said.
* Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition record 2004-2012
Inherited backlog of 49,000 repairs and failing department. John Lines steadied the ship, fixed houses, stopped pay outs to no-win no-fee lawyers, took more than 99 per cent of properties to decent homes standard and restarted council house building for first time in generation.
Sue Anderson managed to turn round failing department. Lost children’s services to education. Began closing out of date care homes and their replacement with new retirement villages and specialist nursing homes or commissioning private sector places.
But recently had to make u-turn on attempts to cut care packages following court challenge.
Children’s Social Care
A disaster for the administration after the department was taken over by education. Khrya Ishaq and other cases brought shame on the city and highlighted serious failings. Improvement plan only just in place.
Schools have had a rocky time, building schools programme cut by Government, increasing number of academies and free schools removing pupils from council control. U-turn this year over youth service cuts.
Crippled by indecision during early years. Took long time to win funding for Metro, while much confusion over bus lanes and car share lanes.
Runway extension at Airport finally agreed. Eventually the £2.7 billion Highways contract deal done in 2010. Improvements now in progress.
With savings to be realised by 2020 jury is still out on this. New offices have replaced old buildings and there have been problems with call centre and website costs. Both are improvements on before but still not achieving satisfactory performance.
Made significant progress with new heat and power systems, reduce energy bills and cutting carbon emissions. But Labour believes they can go further.