‘I'm gutted, devastated. I've done nothing wrong.'
Plus: A big development about our broken roads
Good morning readers and welcome to Friday’s Dispatch.
We’ve been told by Birmingham Labour that the government has finally axed the remaining £600 million contract to improve and maintain Birmingham’s roads until 2035. Which I guess means an end to those rather strange ads we keep seeing plastered across social media.
More importantly, it means our uneven and potholed streets won’t get the TLC they need — at least not £50m a year’s worth. However, Birmingham’s leader John Cotton has declared: “We will continue to fight for the funding that is rightfully ours”. Is it hollow fighting talk or fuel for the mayoral race next spring? Time will tell.
Today’s Brum in Brief leads on the news the Labour Party has suspended another member — this time a Birmingham City Councillor who has been in post for nearly 20 years. And for weekend recommendations, read on to find out about a lunchtime concert and a festive foodie market.
Before that, we are now up to 4,456 subscribers, nearing the big 5k. And there are 67 pledges to pay for our journalism. Having readers commit to paying before it is even necessary is a big deal for us. Thank you. You can pledge by logging in and hitting the green button below.
Brum in Brief
🚨 At least three police officers were injured following disorder ahead of a Europa Conference League match between Aston Villa and Legia Warsaw last night. In a statement, Villa said it “strongly condemned” the violence and confirmed away fans had been prevented from entering the stadium. The BBC reports: “Aston Villa said the away ticket allocation was reduced to 1,002 following the advice of safety authorities after Dutch police officers were injured during large-scale disorder at Legia's match against AZ Alkmaar last month.”
🚫 A Birmingham councillor has been suspended from the Labour Party. Oscott Councillor Barbara Dring claims the action is related to her forwarding emails surrounding Kingstanding Councillor Des Hughes. Hughes was suspended in September pending an investigation into allegations about declared interests. The Local Democracy Reporting Service reports: “[Dring] said: ‘I'm gutted, devastated. I've done nothing wrong. They have paralysed me. The people of Oscott will not stand for this any longer.’”
🔥 Birmingham City Council leader John Cotton has said there will not be a firesale of assets in the battle to fix the city’s financial crisis. He told BBC WM: “We need to do this in a grown up and sustained way, working with the commissioners.”
⚽ Wolverhampton Wanderers sporting director Matt Hobbs has been given a one-match ban and fined £4,000 for swearing at a referee. The BBC reports: “Hobbs said he had become "increasingly frustrated" at decisions in the game, which he felt "exacerbated two incorrect decisions earlier in the season".
🎅 You can arrange for Father Christmas to send your child a personalised letter this Christmas, complete with a North Pole stamp, courtesy of Acorns Children’s Hospice. There is a suggested donation of £6 to help support families and letters will be posted from 1 December. Vicki Rowles, Director of Fundraising, said: “The letter will make this holiday season truly unforgettable for your child and every donation you make will mean that we can be stronger together for children across Birmingham and their families this Christmas.”
🌿 Birmingham Brewing Company’s annual Vegan Christmas Market takes place in Stirchley on Saturday between 10.30 and 5.30. Expect lots of food, beers, and DJs.
💒 The Asian Wedding Exhibition takes place this Sunday, for any brides and grooms preparing for their big day. There will be more than 80 stands of suppliers plus fashion catwalk shows at the West Brom venue. Entry is free.
🥁 You can enjoy a lunchtime percussion ensemble at the CBSO today at 2pm. It’s one of a series of informal, afternoon concerts, which the orchestra describes as “one of Birmingham’s best kept secrets”. Admission is £10.
Our cover photo is by James Baylis AMA/Getty Images.