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HUGH ARE YA?

08-05-2007

Labour veteran Hugh McCallion has been sharing exclusive extracts of his memoirs with Stirrer readers - and snippets have even appeared in the Mirror and Telegraph. If you’re not sure who he is though, here’s Hugh’s official career record.

Hugh McCallion joined Birmingham Council in 1972. Twelve months later he took over the Chairmanship of the Birmingham Municipal Bank.

Despite the fact that there was huge nostalgic opposition to the Bank merging with the TSB Movement, he set about convincing the Council that there was no alternative to moving in that direction.

Two years later he successfully took the recommendation through the Council, the enabling legislation was enacted and the Bank’s thousands of customers moved swiftly forward to a full banking service.

Hugh then took over the Chairmanship of the Housing Committee, the largest local authority housing department in Europe with 135,000 units of accommodation.

During the first year he introduced a number of schemes including the Purchase and Improvement Scheme (later taken on nationally by Peter Shore at the DofE), and the Equity Sharing Scheme, a concept which has now gone around the world and is used by practically every Housing Association and private builder in the land.

After nearly ten years Hugh moved from Housing to chair the Environmental Health Committee where he introduced Birmingham’s anti-smoking policy in 1983.

He also successfully integrated Waste Management and Consumer Protection into his department on the demise of the County Council. He was a founder member of Birmingham Civic Housing Association in 1975 and still serves as a Board Member.

In addition to the major Committees, Hugh also established and chaired the health, international, anti-poverty and sub-vention groups and spent five years as Chief Whip.

He chaired the Community Care Special Action Group, with Tessa Jowell as Director, throughout the whole of its three-year life.

As chair of the sub-vention group he travelled to America and helped to successfully negotiate bringing the International Lions Convention to Birmingham (147 countries), the first and only time it has ever been held in a European city. He also served for 12 years as a Birmingham Magistrate.

Hugh is proud to have been one of six people present at the meeting when the re-development of Birmingham was first broached. He is even prouder to have been a member of the Labour Group Executive that saw the ICC, Indoor Sports Stadium, Symphony Hall and Centenary Square all the way through to fruition.

After 18 years service, Hugh stood down from the Council to concentrate on his very busy job as a health service manager.

He returned in 2000 and spent four years chairing scrutiny committees before taking over as Deputy Leader of the Labour Group. He took the lead in laying the foundation for scrutiny of the Health Service and his work has been commended by all sides.

Hugh has now decided to stand down from representative politics but he will remain active on the political scene and retain his links with a number of voluntary organisations.

Hugh McCallion was made an Honorary Alderman of the City of Birmingham in 1990 and he resumes that title immediately on ceasing to be a Councillor.

To read Hugh’s memories of Edwina Currie, click here for Part One, and here for Part Two. And join the Mcallion’s Memoirs thread on our Messageboard.
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