Over the next few years Birmingham City Council has already committed to spending over £700m on hosting the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Only last week the press highlighted that Labour run Birmingham City Council agreed to pay 150% more as a fee to host the Commonwealth Games, to the Commonwealth Games committee than the City Birmingham has replaced was due to pay. Already Labour has set aside £40m from the business rates growth, money available for the revenue budget, for the Commonwealth Games. This is more than a third of all the savings Labour have agreed to make over the next four years. Already under Labour the frontline budget is being hit to fund the Commonwealth Games for their failure to find a funding solution over the last years.
It is vital that an event costing this much money must have a long lasting legacy on the City not just become a few weeks of sport.
That’s why Birmingham Conservatives have launched their Commonwealth legacy plan to show how they will make the best out of hosting the Commonwealth Games for Birmingham.
Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of the Conservative Group, said “Birmingham has a unique history we are truly the City of the Commonwealth with every country represented in our great home. We need to ensure that all parts of the City benefit from hosting the Commonwealth games. Our Conservative proposals will ensure a long term legacy of transport, housing, regeneration and cultural benefit to the whole city not just one section”.
Cllr Randal Brew, deputy leader of the Conservative Group said “to ensure the games are brought in on time and under budget, while protecting frontline services, we would make the Deputy Leader of the Council the Council lead on the Commonwealth Games reassigning other responsibilities to other portfolios to ensure that the eye is not taken off the ball, as has happened with the budget every year so far under Labour”.
As part of hosting the Commonwealth Games Birmingham Conservatives will:-
Provide a long term transport legacy by delivering new rapid transport lines and re-opening the Camp Hill and Tamworth railway lines for passengers. This would deliver train stations in Castle Vale, Hazelwell (Stirchley), Moseley, Kings Heath, The Fort and an enlarged Kings Norton Station. We would work with the West Midlands Mayor to open additional stations at Balsall Heath, Sutton Park and Walmley as soon as possible.
Provide a long term housing benefit by working with local communities to design the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village in a way that allows it to be converted to provide the housing that local residents are asking for after the games.
Provide a long term sporting benefit by cancelling all planned school playing field sell offs or building on parks to ensure Birmingham’s School children have access to proper sports facilities. Unattached playing fields would be given a link to specific school or groups of schools. We would also establish a Lord Mayors fund to support those children who wish to participate in sport but whose family cannot afford to purchase kits.
Provide a long term community benefit by celebrating and remembering the joint history of Birmingham and the Commonwealth we would create a Commonwealth Forest, a new urban forest, and a Commonwealth War Memorial to remember those from all 53 nations of the Commonwealth who gave their lives in service.
To produce a long term cultural benefit we would also establish a ‘Birmingham the Commonwealth City Fund.’ A new pot of funding to support cultural events aimed at nurseries, schools and other voluntary organisations working with children, in the work many already do to raise awareness and provide children with experiences of different cultures while highlighting with children the things we all share and have in common across Birmingham.
Ensure that the hosting of the games drives additional investment into Birmingham Suburbs and ensure that it does not prevent us regenerating our local centres or housing estates. Birmingham residents should not miss out on already overdue investment in the places they live to fund a sporting event.
As part of our plans to improve the support given to Children in Care we will work with sporting and cultural partners across the City to give them access to free tickets to enable Children in Care to be able to have access to the same cultural and sporting offer as other children in the City.
Protect frontline funding for Council Services, currently the Labour run Council has not worked out how to fund their section of the funding required to host the games. Birmingham Conservatives will ensure that no front line service is cut to fund the Commonwealth Games.
Work with the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, and regional business, public and third sector partners to ensure that all the talent in the region is brought to bear to deliver the best possible Commonwealth Games and legacy programme.