Birmingham massacre of service

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BIRMINGHAM city council is selling off its community centres and youth centres with millions of pounds of public property being auctioned off to housing developers, leaving inner city areas decimated.

In a vicious cycle, the money raised is being partly used to pay for redundancies from previous cuts.

Community centres across the city are being sold off to developers as a quick cash fix by impoverished Birmingham City Council.

Newtown Community Centre, where Ozzy Osborne’s Black Sabbath first rehearsed; Nechells Green Community Centre, once home to a thriving boxing club that’s produced a string of British champions; and The Drum arts centre in Aston are among the venues that have been shut.

The Phoenix community centre in Witton has been another casualty of the sell-off, which is being used to counter scything austerity cuts that have slashed the council’s spending power

In the months ahead more venues are set to go the same way – including a popular wellbeing centre and swimming pool, also in Newtown, earmarked for closure in October.

Most of the money raised from the sales is not finding its way back to the communities affected. Instead £50 million of it is being used to fund the cost of scathing redundancies, with another 1,095 job losses lined up for the year ahead to add to the staggering 12,000 council jobs lost already this decade.

Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr, is among a volley of voices furious about the sell-offs: ‘We should never have been selling the land that we have inherited from our forefathers … it just takes the future away from our children and grandchildren to come and that is really devastating.’