Birmingham requires pounds 1bn to maintain its council dwellings, which it has a statutory duty to do. Tenants are told that there is 'no money' in the budget and it is difficult to find contractors. So tenants have to live in premises officially classified as 'unfit'.
Yet this week the city centre is torn apart by contractors (suddenly available), working (through the night) to create a good impression. Money, suddenly, is no problem, nor is labour.
What people see is a council obsessed with image but also lacking motivation in regard to social issues such as housing. Such feelings eventually find their outlet, as they did with the failure of some 10 million people to vote on 9 April 1992.
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