Birmingham's Labour leader has accused his opponents of the kind of "misdirection" a stage magician would be proud of as he pushed through an £88 million budget cuts package.
While Conservative and Lib Dem opponents hit out at cuts to super loos and dog cruelty investigations, Labour leader John Clancy said they had ignored the bigger picture - an up and coming £90 million-a-year reduction in spending on adult social care by 2020.
He said: "I am not prepared to be drawn into the edges of this debate. It's what magicians call misdirection and that's what we've had today.
"They are misdirecting you in order to make you forget, to not see what is going on."
He said the extent of cuts being imposed was in effect a "dismantling of the welfare state inside this city".
His comments came as the ruling Labour group, as expected, approved the budget which will see:
- 3.9 per cent council tax rise, about £50 a year for the band D household
- £4.7 million increase in spending on child protection
- Introduction of a £7.50 an hour minimum wage for private sector carers looking after city council clients
Coun Clancy firmly laid the blame for the major cuts, £20 million from adult social care this year, rising to £90 million over four years, on the Government.
He said the fact austerity was continuing, almost a decade after the economic crash, and the economy had still not recovered, showed that it had failed.
Coun Clancy said the Government had accepted a fairer funding deal for Birmingham this year but, had it listened to the same argument in 2013, the council would be £89 million better off.
He had inherited the majority of his first budget as leader from predecessor Sir Albert Bore and many attributed this to a largely unremarkable opening budget presentation.
Despite 1,200 council workers facing redundancy, a series of services being axed or sold off and charges increased, it was the first time during the era of austerity there were no vocal protests.
Coun Gary Sambrook (Con Kingstanding), shadow cabinet member for housing and neighbourhood management, suggested the far-left anti-austerity protesters "have now all joined the Labour Party" following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
Opposition Conservative leader Robert Alden claimed the Labour budget was full of "black holes".
He said: "The talk of doom and gloom by the council shows how they are incapable of dealing with a £3 billion budget."
And pointed out the Government has increased funding by £163 million over four years as well as increasing 28 separate grants to the council.
There was also a plea from the Conservatives to reinstate the £26,000 a year funding for dog cruelty investigations - a move dubbed by one as 'Clancy's cruel canine cuts package'.
Labour countered by saying the council retained an animal welfare division but this work was being done by outside organisations like the RSPCA.
Both opposition parties called for the withdrawal of the so-called garden tax - the £35 a year charge for collection grass cuttings and hedge trimmings from homes.
Lib Dem leader Jon Hunt said this would increase Birmingham's poor recycling rate and head off the threat of a fine if a 50 per cent recycling target was not met by 2020.
He also warned there was a huge risk in taking £190 million from care services for the elderly and disabled adults while expecting the NHS to make up the shortfall.