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Category Archives: Constituency news

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/

 

 

Letter to Jeremy Hunt re. Health Centres in Hodge Hill

Today, I attended a high-level meeting with   Cllr John Cotton, the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board for the city of Birmingham to discuss the complete lack of progress in operationalising health centres. Not a single NHS official  turned out.
This is the letter I sent to Jeremy Hunt following the meeting:

 

Dear Jeremy

Health Centres in Hodge Hill

Can I express my deep frustration with NHS officials who simply failed to attend a high-level meeting with both myself and Cllr John Cotton, the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board for the city of Birmingham to discuss the complete lack of progress in operationalising health centres – on Clodeshall Road and on the Firs estate – in my constituency.

As you know two health centres were built at the cost of over £20 million – and despite my work to consistently convene your officials at 3-6 month intervals over the last FOUR YEARS, almost no progress has been made maximising their use. Four years on, I am told they are running at around 30% utilisation. In a constituency with some of the worst health outcomes in Britain, and with the second busiest A+E department in Britain at Heartlands, this is simply not acceptable.

A summit convened by me and BCC earlier this year agreed an action plan, on which NHS officials have made no progress – and at today’s agreed meeting, they simply failed to turn up to discuss next steps, despite representation at the meeting from Heart of Birmingham Trust, BCC’s Social Care Director and the head of BCC’s health and well-being division.

This cannot go on.

Can I ask therefore;

1. For your urgent review of this matter and an apology from NHS England

2. A plan for maximising the utilisation of these centres

3. A timetable for securing maximum utilisation.

Given NHS England’s complete failure to deliver services at these centres, can I propose that they are either handed over the Heart of Birmingham Trust, or a community organisation, to maximise their use.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours ever

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

 

My letter to Nicky Morgan MP following meeting at Park View Education Trust

Dear Nicky

Park View Education Trust

I met today with Adrian Packer, principal of Park View Education Trust and a representative group of parents met today, together with me, along with Pat Smart.

Five issues were raised, and I would grateful for your urgent clarification.

1. Overall PVET structure.

Please can you set out the proposed PVET structure and let me know

(i) how many Trust members,

(ii) Trust directors and

(iii) parent governors are envisaged? What is set out in Trust articles? What is down to the discretion of Trust members/ directors?

2. Election of parent governors

Parent governors are being elected and the process has caused some concern.

For the sake of clarity please can you set out the following:

(I) How many parent governors are sought for each school in the PVET trust?

(ii) How will parent governors be selected? I am assuming this is a democratic election amongst parents.

(iii) If the mode of selection is free elections, what is the purpose of pre-screening of skills, who assesses these skills, and what are these assessments used for?

3. Relationship between parent governors and trust members and directors

How will parent governors become Trust members and Trust directors?

It would of course be completely unacceptable in the circumstances to shut out parent governors from these positions, so please let me know both the process and timetable for elevating parent governors to Trust membership/ directorship.

4. Parents council

DFE welcomes the creation of Parents’ Councils. Nanser school parents have proposed a structure and constitution for this; please let me know if the school will recognise and work with the Parents’ Council proposals now on the table? Urgent feedback on this point is requested.

5. Duties of parent governors

Please set out the duties of parent governors

Ofsted wants parental involvement; para 17 of the Education Act. Need strategy that’s new and this needs communicating.

Can I underline again my thanks to both Pat Smart and Adrian Packer for hosting us today, and I look forward to your most urgent reply.

I am copying this letter to Colin Diamond, PVET trustees and parents

Kind regards

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

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

My letter to Nicky Morgan – we need a timetable for parents’ engagement in Park View’s leadership

 

Dear friends,

 

This afternoon I have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan to ask her to set out a clear timetable for the involvement of parents at the Park View Educational Trust.

 

You can read a copy of my letter here.

 

For ease I have copied the text below.

 

With all best wishes

 

Liam

 

—————————————————————————————————-

 

28th August 2014

 

Dear Nicky,

 

Park View Education Trust

 

Thank you again for the constructive manner in which you and Lord Nash have approached the sensitive task of rebuilding governance – and parents’ trust – at Park View Education Trust. Please pass on my thanks too to your team of civil servants.

 

I write however to express profound concern about the lack of any progress since July in securing parental involvement in the Trust’s governance, or governance of Park View and Nansen school.

 

As you know, Park View and Nansen’s parents are passionate about their children’s schools. They were therefore completely straight-forward about the need for the previous trust members and governors to step down. Their ambitions were set out in the five point plan I presented to Mr Gove at the department in July.

 

Given the acute need to rebuild trust, it would have been wisest to move during the summer to involve parents and set out a roadmap for parental involvement in Trust and school governance.

 

Instead, parents and I have had to press repeatedly for meetings to take place, for briefings to be issued and for a roadmap for parental involvement to be organised. As a result, parents’ confidence has been damaged once again, and an opportunity for a fresh start lost.

 

As I am sure you will agree, this is not good enough. I have three children in Birmingham schools, and I would not accept this situation for my children’s school. If it is not good enough for me, it is not good enough for Park View and Nansen parents.

 

Can I ask therefore, that before Monday we have a clear timetable for involving parents at Trust and school level?

 

As you were kind enough to acknowledge in the House, I have worked tirelessly to advocate for our parents – and I am determined to see the job through. I stand ready to meet or talk to you, Lord Nash or your officials at any time to expedite a solution.

 

I am copying this letter to Lord Nash, Colin Diamond and the trust members at park View Education Trust.

 

With all good wishes

 

Liam

 

 

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

 

 

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