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Category Archives: Geography

My letter to Hodge Hill residents today: what is Westminster’s vow to Birmingham?

 

Dear friends

 

What should be Westminster’s vow to Birmingham?

 

I’ve spent this week in Glasgow campaigning to keep our country together. I passionately believe that the challenges we have in Hodge Hill are easier to solve if we remain together as one United Kingdom. We had a stake in our Scottish neighbours voting to stay together.

 

All party leaders have now vowed to devolve more power to Scotland.

 

Today Ed Miliband has gone a step further and proposed a UK Constitutional Convention to debate more powers to cities like ours in Birmingham.

 

I am writing to you today to ask: what do you think are the powers that need handing over to Birmingham?

 

Today I’ve asked Birmingham’s leaders to organise a Birmingham Constitutional Convention. We should debate a simple question: what should be Westminster’s vow to Birmingham?

 

In Victorian times, Birmingham was known as ‘the best governed city in the world’; above all we were known for thinking radically. One the most famous MP’s to represent the city, the great John Bright once said, ‘Birmingham is radical as the sea is salt’.

 

Today I say, let’s be the heirs to that tradition. Let’s move quickly to organise a constitutional convention of our own.

 

I think there are five key powers we need – these are the key powers we need to get our city back to work:

 

1. Powers, like those in London, to raise revenue from local businesses to reinvest in the city – or to finance tax breaks for innovative or small businesses.

 

2. Power to help lead a regional Transport Commission, with integrated powers like TfL, and to unlock Birmingham Airport’s potential to become Britain’s fourth hub airport.

 

3. Power to lead school improvement, to boost the local skills base and improve ‘coasting schools’.

 

4. Power over Skills Funding Agency budgets, to help boost apprenticeships and gear skills spending to the needs of local employers.

 

5. Power over housing budgets, including powers to keep savings from Housing Benefit delivered by getting people back to work, to allow the city to help shift money into building homes – providing much needed construction employment.

 

But next week, I’ll publish a longer draft plan – including thoughts on culture and the arts – to get help get the debate in gear.

 

Let me know what you think – and as this debate unfolds – please get involved!

 

Very best

 

Liam Byrne

 

Power to our people: its time for radical devolution to Birmingham – 19 September 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

Today, Ed Miliband has taken the bold step of moving quickly to grant new powers to Scotland’s people and to propose a UK Constitutional Convention ”rooted in our nations and regions, to address the need for further devolution in England and political reform of Westminster.”

This will look at issues like

 

- how sub-national devolution can be strengthened

- how the regions can be given more of a voice in our political system

- how we can give further voice to regional and national culture and identity

 

Once upon time Birmingham was known as ‘the best governed city in the world’; above all we were known for thinking radically. One the most famous MP’s to represent the city, the great John Bright once said, ‘Birmingham is radical as the sea is salt’.

 

Today I say, let’s be the heirs to that tradition. Let’s move quickly to organise a constitutional convention of our own. Today, I’m writing to the leaders of Birmingham City Council to propose we get on with it, and as chair of Birmingham Labour’s policy committee, I’ll be asking the Labour party in the city to help ensure there are radical options on the table.

 

For my money, there are five key powers we need – these are the key powers we need to get our city back to work:

 

1. Powers, like those in London, to raise revenue from local businesses to reinvest in the city – or to finance tax breaks for innovative or small businesses.

 

2. Power to help lead a regional Transport Commission, with integrated powers like TfL, and to unlock Birmingham Airport’s potential to become Britain’s fourth hub airport.

 

3. Power to lead school improvement, to boost the local skills base and improve ‘coasting schools’.

 

4. Power over Skills Funding Agency budgets, to help boost apprenticeships and gear skills spending to the needs of local employers.

 

5. Power over housing budgets, including powers to keep savings from Housing Benefit delivered by getting people back to work, to allow the city to help shift money into building homes – providing much needed construction employment.

 

But next week, I’ll publish a longer draft plan – including thoughts on culture and the arts – to get help get the debate in gear.

 

All over Britain, people are demanding new ways forward. We want the power to shape our city’s destiny; to build a better future for our kids and a more secure city for our parents. They want it in Scotland. We want it here. Let’s get to work!

 

Liam

 

 

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

Working hard for Birmingham Hodge Hill

www.liambyrne.co.uk

Statement on Birmingham City Council announcement on the financial situation facing the City – 17 September 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

A number of people have been in touch seeking my views in response to the City Council’s announcement yesterday on the dire consequences of the financial situation which the City Council is facing.

 

My statement is below:

 

“This government is trying to destroy our city, the safety of our parents’ social care and the strength of our children’s’ services. While leafy Surrey gets more help, we get smashed. We will never forget or forgive the Tories and their Lib Dem friends for what they’ve done to us, our city and our families.”

 

You can read the City Council announcement here:

http://birminghamnewsroom.com/2014/09/update-the-financial-situation-facing-the-city-council/

 

 

Monthly Residents Meeting – Friday 12 September; 18:00 – 19:00 at Small Heath Methodist Church, Blake Lane, B9 5QT

Dear friends,

Please do join us at our next Resident’s Meeting this Friday (12 September) evening from 18:00 – 19:00 at Small Heath Methodist Church, Blake Lane, B9 5QT.

More details below, I look forward to seeing you there.

With all best wishes

Liam

LIAM BYRNE MP and

Cllrs Shafique Shah, Mohammed Aikhlaq and Uzma Ahmed

 

INVITE YOU TO A

RESIDENTS’ MEETING

 

FRIDAY 12th September 2014 

 

6.00 pm – 7.00 pm

 

SMALL HEATH METHODIST CHURCH

BLAKE LANE  B9 5QT

 

WE WILL BE DISCUSSING GREEN WASTE, NHS, JOBS AND

CRIME AND DRUGS AND ANOTHER ISSUES YOU WANT TO RAISE

 

THIS IS THE TIME AND PLACE!

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU

‘Giant HS2 yard is ‘battering’ east of the city’ – article in Birmingham Post 8th September 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

I wanted to share the Birmingham Post’s article from yesterday on my evidence session at the HS2 Bill Committee earlier last week.

 

Giant HS2 yard is ‘battering’ east of the city

 

Loss of Washwood Heath jobs is threat to green belt, warns city MP Liam Byrne       

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne who thinks the eastern part of Birmingham will be “battered” by the development of HS2

 

City MP Liam Byrne has said HS2 is “battering” east Birmingham and warned demand for a giant marshalling yard posed a threat to the city’s green belt.

The Hodge Hill MP says thousands of jobs could be created on the former LDV site - with his ward suffering among the highest levels of youth unemployment in the country.

He said a committee hearing at the House of Commons heard that HS2 would create fewer jobs than suggested at a marshalling yard planned for Washwood Heath.

He believes up to 6,500 jobs could be created on the site the size of 100 football pitches to aid an unemployment epidemic in the surrounding area that shows no signs of abating.

Labour MP Mr Byrne also warned that the city would be forced to look at the green belt to claw back industrial land.

The result would be to “concrete over” the Sutton countryside “destroying one of the most beautiful parts of Birmingham”, he warned.

Mr Byrne said that, under pressure at the committee, HS2 representatives admitted they had not factored in the loss of 1,300 jobs from businesses already on site who would be forced to re-locate.

He said: “HS2′s jobs argument has collapsed this morning. They have been forced to admit that their evidence to Parliament was at best a half-truth, and at worst, completely misleading.

“Even the Government now admits that we could create an extra 4,000 jobs in Hodge Hill in the short term. It’s time HS2 now gets serious about giving east Birmingham a boost and not a battering. We’re fighting for jobs – they should be with us and not against us.

“They should certainly come clean to Parliament about the costs of their plan to jobs, lost taxes and lost business rates to the city. The phoney war is now over.”

Mr Byrne has previously said the land represented a third of all industrial land in Birmingham and that owners had already been approached by potential developers. The plan for the site, put together by the city council, would mean skilled jobs.

Instead, from about 2026, the site will be used by HS2 to clean and maintain trains. Until then, it is expected to be used as a yard to store materials during the construction of the line.

The site lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – three constituencies which are home to more than 40 per cent of the city’s unemployed.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are confident of the overriding strength of the case for locating the depot at Washwood Heath.

“We have always been very clear that the depot would create 640 jobs with the potential for more jobs through construction works and businesses using the residual land.

“Both Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council do not support the alternative proposals because of the associated impacts, including the loss of potential jobs and the significant impact on green belt land without any good justification.”

 

 

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/giant-hs2-yard-battering-east-7727789

 

My appearance at the HS2 Bill Committee – 3 September 2014

 

News from Liam Byrne MP

 

HS2 jobs claim destroyed

 

HS2’s claim that a marshalling yard in East Birmingham will create extra jobs has been destroyed in a committee hearing at the House of Commons this morning.

 

HS2’s counsel was cross-examining Hodge Hill’s MP, Liam Byrne who was giving evidence to the committee arguing that the marshalling yard should be built outside the city.

 

HS2’s team then presented evidence admitting that the plan to site marshalling yard at Washwood Heath will create nearly 2,000 fewer jobs – under pressure from Mr Byrne they admitted that they had not factored in the loss of 1,300 jobs from businesses already on site who will be forced to re-locate.

 

Liam Byrne said:

 

‘HS2’s jobs argument has collapsed this morning. They have been forced to admit that their evidence to parliament was at best a half-truth, and at worst, completely misleading.

 

‘Even the government now admits that we could create an extra 4,000 jobs in Hodge Hill in the short term.

 

‘It’s time HS2 now gets serious about giving east Birmingham a boost and not a battering. We’re fighting for jobs – they should be with us and not against us.

 

They should certainly come clean to parliament about the costs of their plan to jobs, lost taxes and lost business rates to the city. The phoney war is now over. It’s time for HS2 to get round the table and give us a better plan.’

 

Ends

 

Notes.

 

-          The proposed site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham. It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to over 40% of the City’s unemployed.

 

-          Liam Byrne was giving evidence to the HS2 bill committee this morning. You can find more information on the work of the committee here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill-select-committee-commons/

 

-          Mr Byrne has consistently argued that HS2 should not build their marshalling yard in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill.

 

-          Most recently he secured a Westminster Hall Debate on the siting of the Marshalling Yard at Washwood Heath. You can read the full text of the debate here: http://liambyrne.co.uk/my-speech-in-westminster-hall-debate-on-proposed-hs2-marshalling-yard-at-washwood-heath-18-june-2014/

 

-          In the 18 June 2014 debate the Minister responding admits that the government own estimate is that 3,700 jobs could be created on the site if the planned marshalling yard did not go ahead.

 

-          Latest unemployment figures for Hodge Hill:

Unemployment – July 2014

 

Hodge Hill            5,181                     11.6 %

West Mids          107,043                 4.0 %

UK                          995,835                 3.2 %

 

Youth Unemployment (18-24) – July 2014

 

Hodge Hill            1,415                     10.7 %

West Mids          26,185                   4.9 %

UK                          239,345                 4.0 %

 

Long-term Unemployment – July 2014

(Claims of duration over 12 months)

 

Hodge Hill            1,945                     (fall since July 2013) -355               -15.4%

UK                          303,160                 (fall since July 2013) -119,470      -28.3

 

“The long-term unemployment figures have fallen in Hodge Hill (in line with the trend nationally) but they have fallen at almost half the rate of the figures from across the UK.”

 

Hodge Hill rankings (out of 650 constituencies) July 2014:

 

Claimant rate:                                                    4th highest;        11.6%

Number of Claimants:                                    4th highest;        5,181

Claimants aged 18-24:                                    1st highest;         1,415

Claims of duration over 12 months:         3rd highest;        1,945

 

Nicky Morgan finally promises to engage with parents – 2 September 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

I have now received a response to my letter to Nicky Morgan last week urging her to engage in communication with parents at the Park View Educational Trust.

 

You can read a copy of her response below.

 

I am glad to see that she has promised that there will be “elections for parent representatives on the local governing bodies and the trust board in September.”

 

This marks a welcome response to my calls for more engagement with parents and I will seek to ensure that Nicky Morgan and the Department for Education makes good on these promises.

 

Liam

 

Nicky Morgan 2 Sept letter pt1 Nicky Morgan 2 Sept letter pt2

Unemployment in Hodge Hill continues to fall – July 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

Brilliant news, the monthly figures from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment has fallen again in Hodge Hill.

 

The number of unemployed claimants in the constituency of Birmingham, Hodge Hill in June 2014 was 5,224. 

 

That’s a 155 lower than in May 2014 and a whopping 1296 lower than in June 2013.

 

Despite this great news we can’t become complacent; I will continue to campaign to see more jobs come to Hodge Hill, particularly for our young people.

 

All the best

 

Liam

 

Launch of Birmingham Labour Child Poverty Report 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

Today Cllr John Cotton and I published Birmingham Labour’s hard-hitting report into the growing scandal of child poverty in the city.

 

The evidence is set out in the final report of the Birmingham Labour Child Poverty review which has investigated the issue over the last six months – to read the report click here

 

The review found:


• A huge 20 per cent rise over the last year in children arriving in the city’s A&E departments, having self-harmed
• A 40 per cent rise in child self-harm cases in A&E since 2009/2010.
• Nearly a third of the city’s children – 84,114 – now live in poverty in Birmingham
• Birmingham’s child poverty now costs an estimated £914 million in extra services such as education, healthcare and benefits, as well as, lost tax receipts and lost earnings

 

The report’s main recommendation has led to plans for a new Child Poverty Commission for the city to coordinate action to support parents.

 

Liam Byrne said;

    

‘The scandal of child poverty in our city is a moral crisis and we simply refuse to stand by and do nothing. The child poverty crisis may now have triggered a huge increase in the number of our children so desperate that they try and take their own lives or self-harm.

 

This report is a wake-up call for Birmingham and for Britain. We may not have a government that cares but we can still take action ourselves.

 

Our new Child Poverty Commission must now call to action our business leaders, our teachers, NHS and the DWP to act together to make a difference. We cannot pretend this isn’t happening in our community.

 

We have to declare now that we will act together to end this scandal.’

 

John Cotton said:

 


“The fact that a third of Birmingham’s kids are growing up below the poverty line isn’t just a moral outrage, it’s an act of social and economic sabotage.

 

Continuing to tolerate a situation in which another generation is trapped in poverty, unemployment or low paid, insecure work doesn’t just hold back individuals, it holds back our city as a whole.

 

We can – and must – do more to fight poverty in all its forms”.

 

Tim Evans, co-author of the report, said:

 

 
“The best policies are made when we listen. As we listened to stories of people struggling, both our understanding and anger grew.

 

As we listened to committed people in the public and voluntary sector, to people of faith, we realised that harnessing people’s desire to tackle this moral and economic issue, based on real life experience, was the way forward.

 

So I am delighted to see the establishment of a Child Poverty Commission to co-ordinate this energy and transform the life chances of children in Birmingham.”

 

 

To read the report click here.

 

With all best wishes

 

Liam

 

 

My question to Nicky Morgan this afternoon in the House of Commons – 22 July 2014

Dear friends,

 

See below for the text of my question to Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education, and her subsequent response.

 

Mr Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill) (Lab):I, too, welcome the Secretary of State’s statement, but it is important that nobody shirks their responsibilities. Park View trust was an academy for almost two years, and chapter nine of the report paints a sorry picture of the Department’s oversight. I hope she thinks it appropriate to apologise for those failures today and that she asks Les Lawrence to do the same.I welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement of an education commissioner for the city, as I suggested to her on Friday. The commissioner’s first task is to ensure that teachers and officials who should not be in their jobs either resign or are removed, but the bigger task is to come together, with the city of Birmingham and the parents and pupils of Park View school, to rebuild trust and the pride of pupils and to ensure that the school’s reputation is turned around. Its best years lie ahead.

 

Nicky Morgan:Let me begin where the right hon. Gentleman ended: absolutely, we need to look forward. Of course, the Department, Birmingham city council, Ofsted and others involved need to learn the lessons, but he is right: we are talking about children’s education, and we need to look to the future—to rebuild the schools and give parents confidence, particularly when families return to school in September, that lessons have been learned and that the teaching staff involved have been dealt with.I am pleased that the new members of the Park View education trust are taking swift action to ensure that the behaviours reported by Peter Clarke have no place in schools. Obviously, I cannot comment on individual cases, but I am assured that the trust will be instigating disciplinary proceedings where appropriate. Also, the National College for Teaching and Leadership will take extensive evidence from Peter Clarke so that its misconduct panel can consider whether any teachers involved should be barred from the profession.

 

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