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Category Archives: Geography

First Constituency Wide Residents Meeting of 2015 – Immigration – Saturday 24 January 2015

Dear friends,


Many of you will have read, in my Winter Newsletter, about the three constituency wide residents meeting that I will be holding between now and the election. They’re on the 3 big issues residents tell me are most important – and I want to hear what you think needs to change in the years ahead.


· Fighting for more and better jobs, especially for our young people who need more to do

· Battling for a better NHS which residents feel is under real pressure. We need it to be world class, especially for our kids and older residents who have paid in for a lifetime

· And of course, changing our immigration system, which I’ve always talked about as long as I’ve been a MP


The first of these is this coming Saturday 24 January from 11:00 – 12:30 at St Margarets Heritage Hall. Details below.

Saturday 24 January 2015 11:00 – 12:30
Immigration: What needs to change?
Venue: St Margarets Heritage Hall, St Margarets Road B8 2BA

I hope you can join me for the first of these exciting opportunities to discuss the issues that really matter to us.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

With all best wishes




PS. Details for the remaining two meetings are below:

Saturday 14 February 2015 11:00 – 12:30
NHS and Social Care: What’s the service we need in the 21st century for patients and carers?
Venue: The Beaufort Sports and Social Club, Coleshill road B36 8DX

Saturday 21 March 2015 11:00 – 12:30
New Jobs, Fair Pay, Fair Taxes – and Fair Tax Credits!
Venue: Shard End Community Centre, Packington Avenue B34 7RD

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Liam Byrne MP
Birmingham Hodge Hill
35a Coleshill Road
Birmingham, B36 8DT
United Kingdom


My letter to HS2 on ‘Plan B’ for Washwood Heath’ – 14 January 2015

Dear Friends,

I thought I’d share with you the letter I sent to Roger Hargreaves of HS2, in regard to the HS2 ‘Plan B’ for Washwood Heath.

All the best,


LB Letter to RH


My Letter from Birmingham City Council about Private Landlords and Anti Social Behaviour

Dear Friends,

I’d like to share with you the letter that Birmingham City Council sent to me regarding Selective Licensing of the Private Rented Sector.

All the best,



BCC Letter pg 1 16-01-15


BCC Letter pg 2 16-01-15


Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath – 19 December 2014



Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath


Liam Byrne MP has welcomed a major breakthrough in the battle for jobs at the LDV-Alstom site earmarked for a marshalling yard.


Following a major campaign led by Liam Byrne MP. The HS2 Bill Committee has ordered the Government and HS2 Ltd to change their plans to maximise the number of jobs on the site.


Although the committee has not ordered the marshalling yard to be moved, the committee have ordered HS2 to report on how they will work with site owners.


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 45% of the City’s unemployed.


The site owners, together with Liam Byrne MP, have now submitted a ‘Plan B’ proposal that would see  2,334 jobs be created.



Liam Byrne MP said:


“This is a real breakthrough. The HS2 Committee has heard our call for jobs. Now HS2 Ltd must work with us on a Plan B that could see 2,334 jobs created in the inner city.”



Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said today:


“I have long argued for jobs to be protected at Washwood Heath whilst also being conscious of not damaging UK Central’s prospects for delivery. The Select Committee’s decision on Washwood Heath is quite obviously a ‘win-win-win’. A win for the people of Washwood Heath, Solihull and also HS2. Now we need HS2 to engage fully with all interested parties to deliver the 2300 private sector jobs set out in the alternative plans referred to by the Committee plus the 600+ new railway jobs as soon as possible.”


Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden said today:


“The decision from the Select Committee is common sense in action in relation to the Washwood Heath site.  This is a win-win situation where HS2 get to build some of the infrastructure they need while the rest of the site can be used to create many more jobs, without needing to displace the marshalling yards into my constituency.  HS2 should now engage and respond positively to the AXA proposals. Anything less would not be in accordance with the Select Committee’s wishes.”






Notes to editors:


Statement from Robert Syms MP (Chairman, HS2 Select Committee) dated 16th December 2014:


“On Washwood Heath, we were impressed by the submission from AXA and our colleague Liam Byrne and we sympathise with the need to address high unemployment in and around his constituency.  We do not believe there is enough evidence to support a move of the RSMD from Washwood Heath.  We impress on HS2 the need to adjust the scheme so there is minimum land take and for the shortest time … We expect to hear from HS2 on that and on whether they can reach agreement on that taking account of the more recent AXA proposals which are dated 12th December.”



Statement on Ofsted letters to Saltley School and Nansen Primary School – 19 December 2014


Dear friends,


In late November Ofsted sent inspectors into Saltley School and Nansen Primary School.
They have released the findings of their inspections today which can be found here and here.


My statement is below:


“This is great news for Saltley School and Nansen Primary School. Both schools are making progress and, most importantly, the right plans are in place to extend those improvements. Our children deserve world-class education, that must always be our number one priority. I will be working with the Department for Education, Ofsted and the schools to make sure that is what they get.”

Birmingham City Council sees further fall in unemployment – December 2014

Dear Friends,


Great news, figures released today from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment continues to fall in Hodge Hill – 17 December 2014.


The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill as of November 2014 was 4,479.  This represents a rate of 9.9% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.


This number is far too high and there is still much work to be done, but the new figures show that the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) is 1473 lower than November 2013 and 263 lower than October 2014.


These figures show that Birmingham City Council’s efforts to tackle unemployment are making a real difference here in Hodge Hill – we will continue to fight to get more people into better jobs.

All the best,



Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – Birmingham Mail – 16 December 2014

Dear friends,


Please find below more concerning news on our local NHS A&E. I gave a statement to the Birmingham Mail on the story – see below.


We have got to get a plan in place to sort out the crisis in our local NHS.





Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

New figures show six out of seven Trusts missing four hour emergency admissions target


Accident and Emergency departments are ‘spiralling’ out of control with six out of the seven major West Midlands hospital trusts failing to hit the Government’s four-hour waiting target.

Latest figures showed Birmingham Children’s Hospital was the worst performer, with just 81 per cent of patients being seen within the time limit during the week ending December 12.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) followed closely at 86.7 per cent, with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust recording an A&E waiting time target of 87.2 per cent.

The Government’s national target is 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours.

Birmingham mum Nora Stevenson, 37, of Bartley Green, told how she waited SIX HOURS for her daughter to be seen at the Children’s Hospital after her daughter Maggie, aged three, began coughing up blood on December 7.

Her mother had called NHS 111 at 5pm and it took two hours for someone to call her back. She was given an appointment at Katie Road Walk-in Centre at 9.50pm where a doctor told her to take the youngster to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s A&E department.

Nora said: “It was horrendous. I really can’t fault the staff as they were trying their best, but there weren’t enough of them there.

“Children were lying across the chairs because of the time of night and being sick. Parents were getting annoyed and having a go at the receptionist.”

The mum and daughter had arrived at 11pm and Maggie was finally seen by a triage at 1am – but it took another four hours for a doctor to examine her.

Nora, a part-time bank worker, said: “They checked on her every 90 minutes after that until she saw a doctor at 5am. She was discharged 20 minutes later with a minor stomach illness.“We followed all the correct channels but it took a total of 12 hours from when we called 111, to her being seen by a doctor.

“Next time I will go straight to the hospital.”

Other mums have taken to social media to flag up their experiences at the hospital.

Emma Donoghue wrote on Facebook: “My son was admitted with glandular fever and a secondary bacterial infection. There was a six hour wait in A&E although we only waited an hour as he was prioritised as an emergency.

“There was nowhere to sit and at one point I sat on the floor. There was far too many children there that shouldn’t have been there, running around and playing whilst my son slept through all the commotion.”

Yet while Natalie Hodgkins experienced delays, she also praised medics at the hospital and urged more people to use their GPs and walk-in centres.

She added: “My daughter had just been let home after a week and a half in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The day before we went doctors at our surgery diagnosed a chest infection.

“The next day she had gotten worse and come out in a patch on her arm. It was rammed full of children running around with coughs. The wait time was four hours but we put straight through. She had sepsis. Doctors at the hospital acted very quickly and thanks to them my baby is still with us.

“Definitely people need to use GP and walk in more.”

The Children’s Hospital reported its busiest day EVER on December 1, when medics saw 223 patients in one day. Numbers have been hitting around 205 a day on average, whereas last year’s figure was in the 180s.

Dr Ben Stanhope, a consultant in paediatric in Emergency Medicine, said: “We have seen this problem in the last three to four weeks. There are an unprecedented number of children presenting in our department and we are seeing 20 to 30 more patients a day than we normally would.

“This is a massive increase. And it means that everyone is waiting longer.

“There are a huge number of children coming in with the influenza virus and we know that the national uptake of the vaccine is very poor.

“Many of these children would not be here if they had been given the nasal spray that protects them against the virus. It gives them better coverage than the old style needle.”

MP Liam Byrne (Hodge Hill Lab) said: “These shocking figures show A&E queues are spiralling. Our NHS staff do a great job but they’re being overwhelmed.

“The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care service mean it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.”

At HEFT, which runs Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, medics are also seeing a rise in admissions for the flu virus. Restrictions are in place at Heartlands because of flu and the winter bug norovirus.

Dr Ola Erinfolami, clinical director of the Emergency Department at Heartlands, said: “As with the rest of the region we are seeing increased attendance at our A&E departments and the addition of patients suffering from flu and norovirus not only exacerbates that situation but also increases the risk of those viruses being spread within the hospital.”

She added the best remedy for patients was to rest at home.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, in Brierley Hill is the only trust to hit the national target, seeing 98.2 per cent of patients in less than four hours.

WHAT THE HOSPITALS SAY: *Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has a “detailed plan in place” to improve its ability to see people within four hours.

*University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said it has seen an unprecedented year-on-year in emergency admissions in the last two years.

*The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust said pressures had been building for some months. A spokesman added: “Additional resource via the winter pressures money has been made available, which includes additional doctors, nurses, technicians and porters for example.”

*Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust advised patients to also explore other alternatives than A&E.

*Dudley Group NHS Trust said: “We have a dedicated ‘capacity hub’ that acts as a command centre and is aware of current waits, patient volumes in our Emergency Department, how many patients are being discharged from the wards etc.”

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

All you need to know to keep safe at Christmas

Our Christmas Safety Guide contains lots of useful tips to help you keep yourself, your home, your car and valuables safe over the festive period. Please take a few minutes to read through our safety tips.

Keep your home secure

  • Securely lock all doors and windows before going out or going to bed. Use a timer device to switch lights on after dark.
  • Don’t put presents under the tree until the last possible moment – and close curtains so your gifts can’t be seen from the street.
  • Mark your postcode on new presents with a UV pen. Note down the serial number and record it at so if it is ever stolen, you’re more likely to get it back.
  • After Christmas, remove any trace of expensive gift packaging by taking discarded boxes to the tip or recycling centre.

Keep your car safe

  • Check your fob has done its job – don’t assume your vehicle is secure, always check doors and windows are locked before you walk away.
  • Remove valuables such as sat navs, MP3 players, laptops, tablets, coats and loose change before leaving the vehicle.
  • Wipe away tell-tale suction marks from the windscreen – this may alert a thief to your sat nav being hidden inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t advertise what you’ve bought by leaving gifts on show while you return to the shops – lock everything away in the boot. Take shopping inside immediately when you get home.

Freeze out car thieves

  • Don’t leave your vehicle unattended and the engine running while it defrosts – a thief could drive off with it.
  • Stay with your vehicle and if you’re in a rush, use de-icing spray and a scraper to speed up the process.
  • Sit inside your vehicle while the heater de-mists the windscreen.
  • Claims on insurance policies can be affected if the vehicle owner is deemed partly responsible for the theft.

 Love your phone

  • Be discreet – keep your phone and other valuables out of sight in public.
  • Note down the unique IMEI number – you will need this number to report a stolen phone. Key *#06# into your mobile to display this number on screen.
  • Listen to your instincts – know your route, avoid dark places and if you don’t feel safe, move to a busier area.
  • Trace lost or stolen phones by activating the in-built tracker app or by downloading a reputable one from your app store.

 Beat the pickpockets

  • Keep handbags closed and close to you, and wallets out of back pockets.
  • Try not to overload yourself with bags and coats.
  • Don’t leave pushchairs, shopping bags or trolleys unattended. Take personal belongings with you into changing rooms.
  • Be discreet when handling cash and cards at the till and at cash machines – put them away immediately and keep an eye on who is around.

 Socialise safely

  • Pubs, restaurants and other venues will be crowded, so don’t hang bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body.
  • Have fun but drink sensibly – binge drinking and excessive drinking at home before a night out puts you at risk of crime. Never leave drinks unattended or accept them from strangers.
  • Find out the times of the last tram, train or bus home, or pre-book a taxi from a local licensed operator.
  • Never drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

Response from Park View Educational Trust Trustees – 3 December


Dear friends,


I continue to work with the trustees at Park View Educational Trust as well as representatives of the DfE in order to ensure that Parents can be involved in the school and that we have the best education possible for our young people.


You may remember that I published a letter which I sent to the PVET Trustees after our meeting in November. You can read a copy of that letter here


You can read the response from the PVET Trustees below:




Dear Liam


Thank you very much for meeting with us on Friday.  We appreciate the honest dialogue and your acknowledgement of our efforts to do the best possible for Park View, Nansen and Golden Hillock Schools.  We are also very appreciative of your offer to support a positive way forward and for your assertion that we are the right people to lead the schools to a brighter future.


We completely understand why you would wish to support the elections of parents to the Local Governing Bodies but we are mindful of the extraordinary situation surrounding PVET.  We take our responsibilities very seriously and want to be certain that we are appointing people with the skills and commitment to take the schools forward positively.  Once we establish the Local Governing Body in each school, we will then move on to make arrangements for the elections of parents at Director level.  We will keep you fully informed of our plans and decisions.


Thank you for your specific offers of support, particularly offering to consult with local business leaders as potential new partners and to reinforce messages to parents about the progress the schools are making.  Both these actions will be very helpful and will further support our progress.


You are most welcome to visit the schools to meet students and talk to parents.  The staff are working very hard to get the schools out of special measures and will appreciate your interest.  We know that you recognise the challenges we are facing.


Please rest assured that we are doing everything possible to move these schools forward and reduce anxiety among all stakeholders. We are also working creatively to provide the children at our schools the best possible opportunities. We were pleased to welcome you to Park View’s KS4 Celebration Evening last Friday and appreciate your enthusiasm to offer us continued encouragement and practical support.


Thank you very much for your interest and support and for giving us so much time on Friday.  We feel that we now have a more positive way forward.


Yours sincerely,



Kamal Hanif OBE, Pat Smart, Yvonne Wilkinson and Adrian Packer




Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK – Birmingham Mail – 2 December 2014


Dear friends,


You may have seen my press release on Friday about the concerns that I and local Councillors have around the strain which our local NHS Trust (including Heartlands Hospital) is under.


The Birmingham Mail have today published a story about Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which proves many of the concerns we’ve been hearing in the community recently.


Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK


Three serious complaints made to health ombudsman EACH DAY about NHS Trust, watchdog reveals


A troubled Birmingham hospital trust has been named and shamed as one of the worst in the country for patient complaints.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) received 958 complaints to the Health Ombudsman in 2013/14 – almost three a day.

The shocking figures which places the trust as 13th on the league of shame, come just a month after it was revealed that thousands of patients were waiting more than four hours in A&E. Health watchdog Monitor slammed the leadership at HEFT and just a few days later chief executive Mark Newbold resigned.

New data has also showed that in 2013/14 the trust received 404,697 clinical incidents ranking it the fourth busiest out of 440 NHS Trusts and CCGs across the country.

The figures were released earlier this week by Dame Julie Mellor, the health ombudsman.

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne (Lab) said: “This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched.

“The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS health centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle.

“More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.”

Latest figures show 5,518 patients waited more than the four hour target at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, all run by the Trust, compared to 1,619 in 2009/10 – an increase of 240 per cent.

Action is being taken to improve services and strengthen leadership so patients receive better care. Conditions have been imposed on HEFT’s licence so that Monitor can take further action if it does not perform better.

Waiting times are also said to be too long for routine operations and cancer care patients and there were additional concerns regarding mortality rates.

Heartlands NHS Trust was unavailable for comment.



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