Councils across the country have warned that they face a massive financial black hole and possible bankruptcy after the government provided English councils with only a third of what they need to get their communities through this coronavirus crisis.
Birmingham City Council alone faces a £212 million shortfall and is in the process of drawing up an emergency budget to deal with the growing pressure on the essential services it runs. The lack of support from central government has meant that councils are being forced to draw up plans that could see essential services cut.
At the beginning of this crisis, the Prime Minister gave his word that he would give councils whatever funding they needed to keep our communities safe. Despite this assurance, councils have only been given a fraction of what's needed.
Local authorities face a £10 billion coronavirus funding shortfall, an issue raised by Keir Starmer at PMQs earlier this month.
In a letterlast month, I joined Birmingham colleagues in urging the Prime Minister not to break his word to give councils the funding they need to keep communities safe during this crisis.
If he breaks his promise, it will be the most vulnerable in our communities, and the workers who are giving so much to support them, who will suffer most.
Without urgent support, local councils will be forced to introduce a new wave of cuts and be unable to reopen key services. This must not happen.
Weekly testing for NHS and social care staff
On Wednesday, the Labour Party brought a motion to Parliament which called on the government to introduce routine weekly testing for NHS and care staff. This is something I suggested earlier this month in a written question and a letter to the Department for Health and Social Care.
Routine weekly testing of NHS and social care staff will ensure NHS services can safely resume and help prepare for continuity of services over winter. Despite this being backed by health professionals, scientists and the public, 331 Conservative MPs voted the motion down. It is clear now that the government's talk of 'protecting the NHS' is just that, talk.
Following a meeting with residents regarding the Norfolk Road development, and after further discussions with Birmingham City Council and the developers, I am pleased to say that they have agreed to a number of amendments to their proposals including the retention of more than 20 trees.
They have also agreed to an extension of the submission deadline. You now have until Tuesday to have your say on the plans, and you can do so by clicking below.
I was pleased to take part in the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce's Global Trade Conference 2020 on Wednesday. It was a fantastic online event which featured dozens of panel discussions and key-note talks on all aspects of trade, and attracting over 600 delegates throughout the day.
The event was a great opportunity to celebrate our outward looking, collaborative city and speak about the opportunities that come with that for Birmingham businesses in the years to come.
It's official - DfID is the most transparent department
On Tuesday, the independent Aid Transparency Index published its latest findings which ranks the world's major development agencies according to aid transparency. The Department for International Development scored 'very good', whereas the Foreign Office only scored 'fair'.
The findings provide yet more evidence that DfID is a world-leader in transparency, achieves genuine value for money for British taxpayers, and confirms that the Prime Minister’s decision to scrap the department is irresponsible, counter-productive and wrong.