Stinky bins pile up and houses fall into disrepair as the catastrophic failures of bankrupt Birmingham Council are laid bare.
Angry residents of the West Midlands told The Sun they were baffled at how politicians had left Britain’s largest local authority with a poor range of services.
And as a mountain of crippling debt piles up on the 1.1 million locals, they feel there is no way out.
Tom, 34, who travels to Birmingham daily, fumed: “How can a council burn through a huge grant and end up £700 million over budget?”
Politicians issued a Section 114 notice on Tuesday as the council declared itself “effectively bankrupt” – the seventh authority to do so since 2000.
All spending except on essential services has been blocked as a “necessary step” to tackle a crippling £760m bill related to equal pay schemes.
In June the council revealed it had paid out almost £1.1bn in claims over the past decade after losing a Supreme Court case in which female staff claimed they were not receiving equal bonuses like men.
There is also disappointment that £46.5m was needed to repair the council’s IT system and a reported £184m was spent on last year’s Commonwealth Games.
Locals are also angry about a 2.5-mile, £10m cycle path wider than a bus lane, which residents claim has seen little use since it opened in 2019.
The Labour-run council claimed: “Birmingham has had £1 billion of funding withdrawn by successive Conservative governments.”
“Non-essential services” where spending could be cut could include lawn mowing, street cleaning and bus services, but these have not been confirmed.
A resident who lives in Crescent Tower in the city center says she is very worried about the future but admits the writing was on the wall.
She added: “We have had our bins locked since the bank holiday weekend, we are worried about the rubbish piling up. It’s bad where I live.”
“Workers in my apartments said the city government was fighting for money. They started offering the minimum repairs and services a while ago so we could see the fight.”
“We get leaks and no one can come and fix them. Then it affects the entire apartment. There will definitely be more things like this for her.”
‘AFTER A LONG AWAITED TIME’
Basic services such as educational services, waste collection and road maintenance must be provided by law.
But there are concerns that events such as the 2026 European Championships, due to be held in the city in 2026, could be affected by the bankruptcy.
Local resident Simon Fitzgerald blamed the council for wasting money on “fun things” like the Commonwealth Games rather than the “be-all and end-all” of everyday life.
The 50-year-old added: “They just ignore the smaller things and don’t allocate resources properly.”
“I blame both the government and the council for getting themselves into this mess.”
The council wasted £16m moving a bus depot by 300 meters to accommodate the games.
While Brummie Catherine Donovan, 75, said: “Where do all the parking tickets they collect go?”
“With so many potholes here, you have to avoid them all. This will only get worse if funding is cut.”
While one Black Country man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s been a long time coming.”
How can a council burn through a huge grant and end up £700m over budget?
But Catherine Loat was more calm, admitting that the potential fallout from Brum’s bankruptcy would not affect her too much.
She explained: “I think it could have been handled better, but a lot of communities went into liquidation.”
“A lot of it doesn’t faze me. I’m at an age where it could have an impact on the younger generation, but it doesn’t bother me.”
The council has 21 days from the publication of the notice to develop a plan to balance the books.
Shaun Davies, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “Local authorities in England are facing a funding gap of almost £3 billion over the next two years just to shut down services.
“Councils’ ability to mitigate these intense pressures is continually compromised by year-long funding arrangements, one-off funding pots and uncertainty caused by repeated delays in funding reforms.”
“The government needs to put forward a long-term plan to adequately fund local services.
“This must include greater financing security for municipalities through multi-year comparisons and more clarity in financial reform so that they can plan effectively.”