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Category Archives: Bordesley Green

The constituency priorities for the year ahead

On Friday, Labour party members met for one of our regular discussions – and this month we focused on the constituency priorities for the years ahead. Soon, the Labour council will be devolving new powers to the district, and we will have a district convention in December to hear local residents’ priorities. So Labour party members met to have a think about how we see the future.

Here’s what members had to say.

In Hodge Hill ward, we felt the priority had to be jobs and employment. We felt there was a big opportunity to bring thousands of local jobs by having the old LDV-Alstom site developed for jobs, and not as a marshalling yard of High Speed 2.   If we are successful in this campaign, then the priority will become ensuring that local people have the skills to do the jobs. That means making sure that there are local employment agreements in place with new employers, and it means making sure that schools and colleges are working together to help train local people for local opportunities.


Second, we felt that security, crime and anti-social behaviour was a priority. We were deeply worried about the impact of cuts on local police numbers and we felt that cuts would make the crime situation worse. Equally, we felt that good facilities were needed for local young people to make sure that they had something to do, other than hang around on the streets.


Third, local play areas for local residents and their children is a big priority, especially on green spaces on the Brockhurst, Firs and in Ward End.


Fourth, we have a serious problem with parking and speeding on a number of roads. Road safety measures which have been installed aren’t really doing the job and we need to look to new solutions. There is a particularly acute problem around a number of local schools.


In Shard End ward, members felt that housing inequalities were a major concern, as were health inequalities. On housing, we noted that lots of residents live in blocks and lack appropriate accommodation. Many will be hit by the government’s change to housing benefit which will cut into residents’ income. Average life expectancy for both men and women was lower than the national average. That demands investment in health services for the area. Jobs, were a priority too, in particular making sure that training was available for new jobs that might be created around the airport, especially for those not in education, employment and training. We need to make sure that GCSE results continue to improve for local youngsters.  New facilities were needed at Hallmoor School.


It was felt that more street wardens were important, not least to help promote better exploitation of the Cole Valley. A campaign was needed to drive up unclaimed benefits, which are available.


In Washwood Heath, education and employment were seen as the major issues. In particular, primary school were oversubscribed, and class sizes were expanding above the level of 30 students to a class. Space outside for play was limited. Teaching assistants were being taken out of schools, and this was stopping teachers providing extra help for children; together these problems were stopping the ward’s children from reaching their potential.


This challenge is precluding local young people from securing good quality jobs. The lack of local jobs accentuated the problem. We need local jobs and we need training to make sure that young people secured these jobs. But raising education standards from primary school onwards is the key to long term change.


Third, housing and parking are both issues and are linked. They’re simply aren’t enough bedrooms for local families and because families cannot afford to move house, several generations are forced to live under the same roof. This creates over-crowding and this in turn contributes to challenges keeping the local environment clean. It also makes parking and traffic difficult as families and children will often have a car of their own.


Fourth, health services are generally weak; there is a whole host of chronic disease problems in the area which are well known (such as type 2 diabetes) but there are few proactive, actively managed public health interventions to tackle them. The lack of strategic intervention is also a challenge for schools where good school nutrition and exercise are essential requirements.

In Bordesley Green, there are many of the challenges identified in Washwood Heath; there is a lack of employment and therefore a need to create local jobs for local people. There is a need to upskill local residents so that they are able to take the jobs which do exist.

School standards too remain an acute concern. Many are judged outstanding, but overall, exam results need to be better.

Third, there is big appetite to create a safe, secure and drug-free environment.

Poor housing and health are priorities that the ward shares with others; again, the poor economic status of local residents is a big contributor to this problem. Chronic diseases are widespread. And like other wards, there is a lack of well-organised strategic intervention to tackle this.

Anger at squeeze on local residents

Local residents are up in arms to learn that the Tory-Lib Dem government has handed Britain’s millionaires a £40,000 tax cut, while part time workers have had their tax credits slashed.


The Lib Dem Tory budget ordered a big cash handout for Britain’s richest citizens – yet took money away from the poorest.


Anyone working 16 hours loses ALL their tax credits unless they can find more hours.


And in April, cuts to help for families goes up by £6 billion as help with housing and council tax bills is taken away.


Worst of all, many disabled people will lose the allowances they need to cover the extra bills they face.


MP Liam Byrne voted against the plans in Parliament:


“I simply can’t see how its right for the richest people to get a tax cut – and the poorest workers get money taken away.  These Tories and their Lib Dem friends simply care only for the rich not the ordinary family”.


Jobs summit to fight youth unemployment – 19th July

I’m taking direct action to help get local young people into work. I’ve bought together JobCentrePlus, Enterprising Communities, Birmingham businesses and training providers for a massive jobs summit for local young people.

Hodge Hill has the highest rate of youth unemployment in Britain – long term youth unemployment up 57% in the last year.

So I’m holding a massive jobs summit where real employers with real vacancies will meet local unemployed youngsters and there will be opportunities to talk to experts about accessing support and funding to set up their own business and a jobs board with help to set up interviews.

Local young entrepreneurs who have already succeeded in business will be on hand to inspire and motivate and offer help with CVs and networking.

I will be personally introducing young people to employers and will be joined by Sarish Jabeen, the local apprentice I took on in 2008 and who is now a full time constituency caseworker.

Our community is packed with potential. We’ve got hundreds of young people hungry for work. All of us have got to roll our sleeves up and do whatever it takes  to get these young people on the road to a job.

We have some of the highest youth unemployment figures in our area. This is not right.
That’s why I’m inviting employers with real vacancies plus support for setting up your own  business and apprenticeship matching schemes to meet our great young people and help get them back to work.’

If you’re 18-24, live in the constituency and are unemployed please come along to Beaufort Sports and Social Club, 89 Coleshill Road, B36 8DX on 19th July 10.30-1.30pm. Attendees on the day will be entered into a prize draw to win an ipad courtesy of UK Mail.

What drug-dealers deserve

Just after I made my announcement that I’d stand for mayor yesterday, I was straight off to Bordesley Green to go and see some of the results of a huge campaign against drugs and drug-dealing. This has been the the key local issue we’ve pressed the police for – and yesterday we saw just how aggressively our brilliant local police have taken action; seized assets from drug-dealers crushed in front of the public.

It was excellent too, that we had a host of pupils from Waverley School to look on. One of the reasons I’ve fought so hard for tougher action against drugs is that young people saw to me, that when they see drug-dealing going on it makes them feel scared – and fearful of just where they can go – and where they can’t. That’s not the kind of city we want to bring up our kids in.

Here’s a brilliant video of the day from the Birmingham Mail. Well done to the West Midlands Police – more please!

Belchers Lane Update

One of the most exciting developments in Bordesley Green is the new Waverley School – already outstanding but I think even more is possible when the move goes ahead. I’m really keen to see a new relationship between the school and the hospital help unlock the potential of the Belchers Lane site. I’d love to see new car parking to get cars off the street – and ideally a new way for Waverley’s students to develop their skills and potentially doing work experience and more at the hospital – which has ambitious plans to house all of its teaching services on the Heartlands space. It may even be possible for new sixth form provision to grow at the site.

Press Release – Liam calls for local residents to support our Service men and women

All Saints Church, Shard End has organised a Remembrance Service Church Service, March and Cenotaph Service for Sunday 13th November 2011. This is the day people across the nation pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave Service men and women.

Liam Byrne MP is calling for residents to support our Service men and women by attending the Service at 10.45am, All Saints Church, Ownall Road, Shard End. Followed by a March to the Crown Club and Service at the Cenotaph.

Liam said:

‘This is an incredibly important ceremony to preserve for generations to come. The individuals and families that have sacrificed so much for our freedom deserve the full gravity and dignity of the Cenotaph Service.

We have a duty to honour their memory by making sure our children, and our children’s children, understand not only the sacrifices made by service men and women in the past – but that today thousands of British Soldiers all over the world are putting their lives in danger to protect people from violence and oppression.’

Press Release – Liam Consults Residents on Jobs Plan

Liam Byrne is asking residents to comment on Labour’s plan for jobs and growth following new unemployment figures revealing the jobless rate in Hodge Hill is still rising.

Under the Tories an extra 753 people are claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Hodge Hill, that’s a rise of 11% in the last 12 months – giving Hodge Hill the second highest jobless total in the country.

The Government’s economic policies have resulted in a total of 2.57 million people out of work – the highest in 17 years. One in five young people are without a job.

The UK has experienced zero economic growth over the last nine months. The International Monetary Fund has warned that if the UK’s economic situation deteriorates further then the Tory-led Government will have to change course and slow down the cuts and tax rises.

In response, Labour has taken action and set out a clear five-point plan to create jobs, help struggling families and support small businesses:

1. A £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people – which they would be required to take-up – and build 25,000 more affordable homes. Getting the construction industry back to work and providing homes for local families.

2. Bring forward long-term investment projects in schools, roads and transport to get people back to work and to strengthen our economy for the future. Projects like the cancelled Building Schools for the Future in Washwood Heath School, Hodge Hill Sports and Technology and Bordesley Green Girls School

3. Temporarily reverse January’s damaging VAT rise – an extra £450 for a couple with children would provide a boost for our high streets and help struggling families.

4. A one-year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance to help homeowners and small businesses.

5. A one-year national insurance tax break for every small firm which takes on extra workers would help small businesses to grow and create jobs. This could benefit up to 1,000 small businesses across Hodge Hill.

Now Liam is emailing and writing to thousands of local residents to ask if they think the Prime Minister should adopt Labour’s plan for jobs to get Hodge Hill back to work.

Liam said:

I want to see people in work and paying taxes. That’s how we will get Britain moving again. George Osborne is determined to keep pushing up the benefits bill, costing every Hodge Hill household more than £500.

George Osborne has pushed his disastrous financial plan for 18 months. It isn’t working, it’s hurting Britain and it’s hurting Hodge Hill. I think it’s time the residents had their say.

By cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast this Tory-led Government is getting our economy into a vicious circle. By choking off the recovery and putting more and more people on the dole, claiming benefits rather than paying taxes, the Government is making it harder to get the deficit down.

“There is a better way – Labour’s plan for jobs and growth will get our economy moving again and help get the deficit down in a steadier and more balanced way.”


To find out more about Labour’s five-point plan for jobs please visit

Childcare changes – Tell me how they will affect you and your family

As you know my top priority is creating jobs and getting people back to work. No-one wants to rely on handouts.

But it also helps our economy. People paying taxes in is much better than having people on the dole and getting benefits.

The Tories failure to get people back to work is driving up the benefits bill by £12.6 billion. That’s £500 for every single family in Hodge Hill.

To pay for their welfare waste they are cutting support such as tax credits for working families, who have played by the rules and done nothing wrong. The Government’s Welfare Reform Bill is a leap in the dark for families as we don’t know how childcare will work for families under the new system.

The Government has got to call a halt to its unthinking attack on Britain’s childcare. Millions of Britain’s parents feeling the squeeze desperately want to work – but literally can’t afford to without help with childcare.

30,000 women have already given up on work because childcare ‘reforms’ mean they’re no longer better off in work.

We have the second highest unemployment in the country. I don’t want to see anyone having to give up work because they can’t afford childcare.

As Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions I am fighting these cuts – But I need your help. Please take 5 minutes to answer my survey on how your family will be affected by the changes by clicking here.

School Games 2012

I’m delighted to see Starbank Primary, Saltley School, International School and Braidwood School have all signed up for the School Games programme, a year round calender of comoetition for pupils of all abilities. The national finals will take place in the Olympic Park in May 2012 – meaning our talented young athletes could be amongst the first to compete in the main 2012 venues next year!

To register you school go to

Statement on Boundary Review

Today, the Boundary Commission published its plan for new parliamentary constituencies for after 2015 and right across the city, they’ve torn up the map.

Two of our wards – Hodge Hill and Washwood Heath – will be joined to two wards from Ladywood to create a new constituency, of Hodge Hill and Ladywood. Bordesley Green will go into a new Yardley constituency and Shard End will go outside Birmingham and into the seat of Meriden.

I imagine people will be furious at the idea of this pointless reorganisation, costing millions of pounds that will distract attention when we need a laser-like focus on creating jobs and getting the economy back on track.

In our community, we’ve worked incredibly hard building a first class team of councillors and community activists in Hodge Hill that together with me, has helped bring in an incredible £150 million of new investment in the last 6 years for new homes at Shard End Crescent, new schools and class-rooms everywhere and two brand new health mega-centres (in Saltley and on the Bromford), plus local police teams. Recent successes include the £1 million Big Local Award for the Bromford and a £300,000 grant to renew St Margarets in Ward End.

Now the government plans to tear this team apart for its own political advantage. It says it wants to shrink the number of MPs – but it’s stuffing the Lords full of unelected Tory and Lib Dem peers.

I know many in Shard End in particular will be incensed by the idea that somehow they’re no longer part of Birmingham – and have been bundled into a constituency that’s covered by three different local authorities.

My job now is to make sure Hodge Hill residents have their say. The Boundary Commission will take evidence on local views – and I’ll send out details soon. But – let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I’ll be working just as hard as ever representing the area and battling for our fair share.

Best wishes


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