Spending cuts have improved council services, says Eric Pickles
I'm told Birmingham City Council is keen to end the perception that it is at war with Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and get back to a cross-party approach to economic development - which arguably is what we've seen with Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore working closely with Tory peer Lord Heseltine this weekend.
But Mr Pickles is in no mood to call a ceasefire, and had a dig at Sir Albert in his speech to the National Conservative Convention this week.
Apparently, council leaders who worry that Government cuts to their grants are going to damage services have got it wrong. The cuts make councils and their services better, says Mr Pickles.
Attacking Sir Albert's warning that cuts mean "the end of local government as we know it", Mr Pickles said:
"The Labour leader of Birmingham City Council has predicted 'the end of local government as we know it'
"Well, after three years of savings in town halls across the country, you know what? Research by Ipsos MORI found that two-thirds of residents have not noticed any changes to the quality of council services.
"And according to the Local Government Association's own polling, residents' satisfaction with their council tax has increased.
"Three of out of four residents are happy with their council.
"The LGA found that people felt that councils had become more accountable and more responsive.
"Councils are demonstrating better value for money, and focusing on the issues of greatest importance to local people.
"Save more and get a better council."