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Category Archives: Economics

Labour is listening on Science – Byrne Speaks at Labour Science policy Breakfast – 29th October 2014

Dear Friends,

This morning I spoke to a wide range of business leaders about how Labour’s science policy can help create the jobs of the future.  It was an opportunity for Labour to set out its strong commitment to an ambitious plan for research and innovation. It was also a chance to hear from the science community about how to take this conversation forward.

We talked about how Labour’s approach to science and innovation are central to our priorities: skills, regional growth and the NHS. I was also able to share the key insights from the responses we’ve already had to Labour’s Science Green Paper, ‘Agenda 2030: One Nation Labour’s plan for Science’ which I published over the summer. The paper can be found here.

Labour will continue to listen to businesses and experts as we further develop our policy for science and innovation. Our goal is clear: to build an opportunity economy with high skilled jobs and wages to match.


Science Breakfast Picture

Byrne hosts Birmingham-China Summit to boost investment for the City – 28 October 2014




Dear friends,


I wanted to share a few photos from an exciting event which we held this afternoon here in the House of Commons.


We brought together Birmingham business leaders, academics and politicians with a group of Chinese investors to make the case for further Chinese investment in Birmingham.


The West Midlands is already a centre for Chinese investment – it’s the only region in the UK with an export surplus to China. But we want to build upon that success.


The event was covered by the Birmingham Post here and by ITV news here.


I chaired the proceedings and we had presentations from a stellar cast of speakers, you can access their presentations below:


  • Jack Dromey MP for Birmingham Erdington


  • Richard Burden MP for Birmingham Northfield


  • Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham University
    You can read Sir David’s speech here


  • Neil Rami, Chief Executive, Marketing Birmingham
    You can see Neil’s presentation here


  • Tim Pile, President, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce


  • James HunterJohnston, Marketing Manager, NVC Lighting
    You can see James’ presentation here












Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite – 23 October 2014



***Embargoed until 09:30 23 October 2014***


Dear all,


Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite


Please find below a press release from Liam Byrne MP including House of Commons statistics on severe increases in waiting times in A&E at Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a statement on Monitor’s report into the Trust this due for release this morning.


 23 October 2014News from Liam Byrne MP


Embargoed until 09:30 on 23 October 2014



Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite



A&E waiting times at HEFT increase by 240% since this Tory-led coalition took over



This morning Monitor is releasing its report into Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The report is deeply concerning – highlighting a severe increase in waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, as well as mortality rates.



In response to the report Liam Byrne MP said:



‘Residents all over Hodge Hill are telling me pressure on our NHS is hitting breaking point. And this reports shows why.  The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care means 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.’



Notes to editors:


1) Figures released by the House of Commons Library (below) show an increase in those waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Between Q3 of 2009/10 and Q3 of 2014/15 the number has gone from 1,619 to 5,518; an increase of over 240%.


Patients waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
As at Quarter 3:

Total attendances

Number waiting over 4 hours

% waiting over 4 hours

























Sources: 2011/12 -2014/15 NHS England Weekly Sit Rep reports, pre 2011/12 DH Total Time Spent in A&E quarterly data series



















2) Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.


3) Monitor’s press release attached.






Monitor Press Release:


Under strict embargo until: 09.30am Thursday 23rd October 2014

New action taken at Heart of England to improve services and strengthen leadership

Monitor is taking action to improve services and strengthen the leadership of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), so that patients receive better care.

The health sector regulator has imposed a further condition on HEFT’s licence enabling it to take further action if the trust’s leadership does not perform better.

Monitor is acting after HEFT failed to reduce long waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, together with additional concerns regarding mortality rates. The regulator has decided that the range and seriousness of these issues demonstrate a clear failure in leadership and the trust’s organisational systems.

The trust and Monitor have also agreed new legally binding enforcement undertakings aimed at improving these care services on a sustainable basis.

HEFT provides services across the West Midlands at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Community Services at the Birmingham Chest Clinic.

Monitor first found HEFT in suspected breach of its licence to provide healthcare in December 2013, after it failed to meet national targets at two of its hospitals, for treating patients in A&E within four hours.

Adam Cayley, Regional Director at Monitor, said:

“We want all patients of this trust to receive quality and timely care, which means all parts of the organisation must operate effectively.

“This action should ensure that the trust’s leadership takes appropriate and swift action to address our concerns around how it is led and run.

“We will continue to monitor the trust rigorously and take further regulatory action if we consider it necessary.”


Notes to editors

  • For further information please contact, Nick Burke Media Relations Manager, on or 020 3747 0800.
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) was authorised as an foundation trust on 1 April 2005.
  • Details on Monitor’s previous regulatory action at HEFT can be found here.
  • Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.
  • Information about Monitor’s role can be found here.
  • Follow Monitor on twitter @MonitorUpdate



Statement on Ofsted’s note on Birmingham Schools – 14 October 2014


Dear friends,


In response to Ofsted’s note, published today, on Birmingham Schools I have issued the following statement?


“This is incredibly frustrating for the parents I’ve been working with non-stop since the summer.


They are being forced to watch Government inaction from the side-lines and Nicky Morgan must remember that it’s their children who are the most important individuals in all of this. Crucially the Government and schools have got to dramatically step up the pace of getting parents involved.


Ultimately schools with strong parents are strong schools.”




Press Release: Liam Byrne condemns George Osborne’s attack on Birmingham’s children – 30 September 2014

Press Release: Liam Byrne condemns George Osborne’s attack on Birmingham’s children

Tuesday 30th September



Liam Byrne today condemned George Osborne’s attack on Birmingham’s children as the politics of ‘you’re on your own’.


George Osborne’s freeze of working age social security payments such as tax credits will trap thousands of Birmingham children living in working families deeper into poverty. Meanwhile the Chancellor also announced a £3 billion-a-year tax cut for the richest 1%.


House of Commons library figures for Birmingham show that 33,900 families are in receipt of working tax credits.


Liam Byrne said:


‘Child poverty already costs our city over £1 billion. Today we needed help. Yet what we got was a fresh attack. Osborne’s attack on help like tax credits is going to plunge yet more children in working families into poverty.


‘Nearly 70% of the people hit the last time the Tories did this were families with children’.


‘Only George Osborne could stand up in the ward with some of the worst child poverty in Britain and announce this fresh attack. He seems determined to ensure a generation of nearly 100,000 Birmingham children grow up in a poverty from which there is no escape’.


Liam Byrne, Cllr John Cotton and Tim Evans earlier this year published Labour’s review of child poverty in Birmingham highlighting the £1 billion cost of child poverty to the city – and the 40% rise in child self-harm cases in city A+E departments since 2009/10. Many health professionals believe this is directly linked to poverty pressure.



Statement on news of National College for High Speed Rail to be located in Birmingham – 20 September 2014


Dear friends,


I am delighted to share with you the news that the Government has today confirmed that both Birmingham and Doncaster will jointly host the new National College for High Speed Rail. This college will train the rail engineers who will work on HS2. The college is expected to be open in 2017.


You can read more here:


In response to the news I have released the following statement:


“This is a big step forward for our great city. Once we were the workshop of the world – and now we’re fighting our way back.


Today’s news is a real credit to the way the city pulled together to get this deal done.


Now we need to complete the picture and press onto relocate the job-killing marshalling yard planned for Washwood Heath. That’s the way we’ll ensure HS2 is 100% good news for our city – and not a mixed blessing.”


With all best wishes




My letter to Sir Albert Bore: “Power to our people: A Birmingham Constitutional Convention” – 19 September 2014


Dear friends,


Please see below my letter to City Council Leader Sir Albert Bore, dated today, entitled “Power to our people: A Birmingham Constitutional Convention”


Letter to Sir Albert Bore - 19 Sept 2014



My letter to Hodge Hill residents: 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.


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


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


Very best


Liam Byrne


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:



‘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.”


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