The Conservatives were the major winners in the Birmingham City Council elections, wrestling six seats from Labour to strengthen their position as the city's largest party.
While Birmingham - currently run by a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition - remains in no overall control, the Tories now have 49 of the authority's 120 seats, Labour 36, the Liberal Democrats 32 and Respect three.
Birmingham's Council leader, Conservative Mike Whitby, attributed his party's success to three successive below inflation council tax rises, coupled with discontent at Labour's abolition of the 10p tax band.
Many Labour supporters on low incomes felt they had been "kicked in the teeth" by their own party, Mr Whitby said. The council leader said: "We have gained six seats, which is beyond what we expected, but the most important observation is that urban Conservatism is appealing to the true cultural diversity of our city.
"I have canvassed all over the city, as you would expect, and there is no doubt that we are seen as delivering very low taxation.
"We have shown also that we are going to clean this city up and then of course, assisting all of that, has undoubtedly been the major faux pas Labour have made by harming people on low incomes.
"Certainly, they feel they have been kicked in the teeth."
The Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, John Hemming, said of Labour: "They are being driven, gradually and step by step, out of the city."
Mr Hemming's counterpart in Birmingham Perry Barr, Labour's Khalid Mahmood, insisted the results did not constitute a collapse in his party's vote.
"The results are not hugely bad," Mr Mahmood said. "We need to take ground back and it's up to us to do that."
In Sparkbrook, Nayim Khan gained a third seat for Respect, taking the ward from independent councillor Talib Hussain, who finished fifth out of seven candidates.