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Birmingham defends swine flu claims

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Birmingham City Council has rejected suggestions that local business communities are not being helped to cope with swine flu.

In a press release, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) had said it was not aware that any of its members had received any support or guidance on swine flu from their local authorities.

Councils are obliged to help businesses put in place measures to deal with outbreaks of infections as part of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

But Steve Grogan, head of Birmingham’s Resilience Team said he was “amazed” to read the report on the LGC website.

“That’s certainly not the case here in Birmingham, where there has been a constant ongoing dialogue with the business community - as the Forum of Private Business would know if they had bothered to check,” he wrote on his official blog.

“For example, we gave business continuity advice to over 5,000 local businesses when we launched out Birmingham City Centre evacuation plan and have carried our numerous exercises with local firms.

“We’ve had business continuity stands at Chamber of Commerce events and hosted workshops with utility companies.”

“So swine flu or no swine flu, business continuity promotion will stay top of our agenda and claims that local authorities are ‘failing over swine flu’ certainly don’t reflect the true picture here in Birmingham.”

The blog has a comment added by Chris Gorman who says: “I work for the FPB and all I can say is we applaud Birmingham City Council for its efforts. We would just like to see such an approach adopted more widely.

“Our press release made clear that we were not claiming that all councils were failing to do help their local businesses prepare for swine flu. Instead, it merely stated that, as far as we were aware, none of our members had received any help or guidance.”

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