Birmingham City Council will be taken over by commissioners

Birmingham City Council will be taken over by commissioners appointed by Michael Gove – and inquiry will be launched after it declared itself effectively bankrupt

Michael Gove has announced he will appoint commissioners to take over Birmingham City Council and will launch a local inquiry into the authority after it declared itself effectively bankrupt.

The Communities Secretary said he was ‘satisfied that Birmingham City Council is failing to comply with its best value duty’ after it issued a Section 114 notice.

He added: ‘In line with the Local Government Act 1999 therefore, I can announce that I am today writing to the council to set out my proposal to intervene and to appoint commissioners and that I intend to launch a local inquiry in due course.

‘I do not take these decisions lightly, but it is imperative in order to protect the interests of the residents and taxpayers of Birmingham, and to provide ongoing assurance to the whole local government sector.’

The commissioners will run the council’s financial affairs and are expected to sell off assets to balance Birmingham’s books, including the city library, and the council’s 18.7% stake in Birmingham airport.

Gove’s announcement comes after Birmingham City Council declared itself effectively bankrupt on September 5, due to lacking sufficient resources to pay a £760million equalities claim. 

Councillors blamed the situation on ‘huge increases in adult social care demand… dramatic reductions in business rates’ and ‘rampant inflation,’ as the authority announced all new spending would stop immediately, with the exception of those statutory services and those that protect vulnerable people. 

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