Shropshire Star

How did Birmingham get into this fine mess?

Incompetence, complacency or sheer stupidity?

Birmingham is now 'bankrupt'

What other reasons can you think of to explain why the leader of Birmingham City Council was supposedly as shocked as everyone else when it declared 'bankruptcy'?

It’s not as if he had no idea what was happening. John Cotton, the Labour leader of the council, is a member of the GMB union which is at the forefront of the drive to drain the local authority of its money.

Yet he claimed he only learned of the financial crisis at the same time as other councillors during Tuesday morning’s cabinet meeting.

In the immortal words of John McEnroe: “You cannot be serious.”

Birmingham City Council

It’s not as if the crisis emerged out of a clear blue sky. In June, the council stopped any extra spending because it had run out. More to the point, its auditors Grant Thornton have refused to sign off the council’s accounts for two years in a row because it didn’t have the funds to meet its £760m equal pay liability.