Sir Albert Bore, the Labour leader of Birmingham City Council has announced that Community Chest, the £100,000 budget allocated by each of the wards in Birmingham is to be cut to £50,000 next year. This is a real blow to local community organisations across the City which have been able to apply to Community Chest for local projects. In Acocks Green money has gone to a wide variety of local organisations, funding projects ranging from crime reduction initiatives to services for young people and much much more.
I think this savage cut is a mistake. We all know there are severe financial pressures and cuts have to be made. However when this is the case, Community Chest performs a particularly valuable role. It provides a local buffer, which allows each community, through its councillors, to give some protection to services and organisations, that are particularly important to their local area. When I was on the Council, I argued long and hard that Community Chest should be protected, for exactly this reason. I’m proud that the previous administration did not cut it, even when very hard decisions had to be made.
What makes the decision to cut Community Chest even more disappointing is that such a major decision was not flagged up in the recent budget consultation document produced by the Council. Cuts of £100k to the car parking budget and £50,000 to events were proposed, but a £2,000,000 cut to the total Community Chest budget wasn’t deemed worth mentioning. Strange that.
Its a bad decision for Birmingham and a bad decision for community organisations in Acocks Green.
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