Birmingham City Council finds itself in dire financial straits and has declared bankruptcy in the wake of a staggering £760 million payout to resolve equal pay grievances. The council officially announced the issuance of a section 114 notice, mandating an immediate halt to all new expenditures, except for the safeguarding of vulnerable people and the provision of essential statutory services.
In an official declaration of financial hardship, the local governing body announced its intention to enhance existing expenditure oversight measures and entrust them to the section 151 officer to ensure a firm grip on the situation.
The council, led by the Labour party, holds the distinction of being the largest local authority in Europe, boasting a total of 101 councilors. This diverse group consists of 65 Labour members, 22 Conservatives, 12 Liberal Democrats, and two Greens.
The statement indicated that Birmingham City Council had issued a s.114 notice as a component of their efforts to address the council's financial obligations regarding equal pay claims and an in-year financial deficit within their budget, which is presently estimated at approximately £87 million.
The council announced in June that it had a potential liability concerning equal pay claims, estimated to be around £650 million to £760 million, with an ongoing liability accruing at a rate of £5 million to £14 million per month.
The council finds itself in a situation where it needs to fund the equal pay liability that has accumulated up to this point (estimated to be in the range of £650 million to £760 million), but it lacks the necessary resources to accomplish this.
In a joint statement, council leader John Cotton and his deputy, Sharon Thompson, mentioned that Birmingham City Council is facing unprecedented financial challenges. They noted these challenges include substantial increases in adult social care demand, significant reductions in business rates income, and the impact of rampant inflation.
In a series of tweets, Minister for Local Government, Lee Rowley stated that they had been aware of significant problems at Birmingham City Council for some time. These problems were caused by a failure to address historic pay issues and a mishandled IT implementation.