"I shall be brief, although I may take more than my usual 140 characters today.
It appears that the coalition that we endured for eight years has staggered on into opposition and despite two electoral thumpings, it just won’t die – it has become something of a zombie coalition, stumbling around searching for brains.
However, Lord Mayor, the serious issue is whether this Labour council should continue these policies and some figures were cited to advance that argument.
Certainly, the past few months have shown some improvement, but let us consider the record of the previous administration and their partners, the government.
Lord Mayor, the members opposite criticised the former Labour government for their handling of the economy through a global crisis.
I will remind you that when the Labour government left office in 2010, the national economy was growing and unemployment was falling again, as it was in Birmingham, where in May 2010, we had 47,950 people claiming JobSeekers Allowance.
Too many, Lord Mayor, far too many.
But now, we are being asked to celebrate the fact that thanks to two years of economic incompetence by the Tories and Liberal Democrats at national level and lack of response at local level, May 2012 saw 50,239 people claiming Job Seekers Allowance. And when we look at the detail, we find that Birmingham has the highest percentage of young people out of work of any of the core cities and that women have been disproportionately affected by the policies of this government.
The people of Birmingham know this, Lord Mayor, which is why they have rejected the coalition opposite in their thousands. They have voted for change and I am proud to be one of Labour’s 20 new councillors elected as a result this year.
We must make Birmingham the Enterprise Capital of this country. We must build upon the diversity of economic and cultural life in this city – our manufacturers, our retail, financial and professional services and we must work to encourage the new drivers in the economy, the life sciences, green technology and the digital creative industries.
Lord Mayor, it falls to Labour to work through the wreckage left behind by the previous failed administration and without a supportive government, to try to deliver the jobs and prosperity that the people of this City have a right to expect.
Lord Mayor, I urge the council to support the amendment to this motion."
Aside from me, three other new councillors made their maiden speeches - Lisa Trickett, Phil Davis and an excellent opening speech from Cllr Mariam Khan, who at the tender age of 21 skilfully put the long-serving Peter Douglas Osborne properly back in his box, after he condemned the Connexions service because after they closed, they had a misspelled sign on the front door.