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Category Archives: Public services

Statement on Education Select Committee – Extremism in schools: the Trojan Horse affair

Dear friends,


Yesterday the House of Commons Education Select Committee published a report entitled: “Extremism in schools: the Trojan Horse affair” criticising the response of the Department for Education and Ofsted to the so-called ‘Trojan Horse Affair’ last year.


You can read the report here


And some media coverage of the publication here and here.


My statement in response to the report is below:


“I welcome yesterday’s report from the Education Select Committee. The report exposes the shockingly poor service which parents at Park View and the other schools involved in the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ affair have received from both Ofsted and the Department for Education.


The chaotic response from the establishment, highlighted by yesterday’s report, has undermined efforts to get our schools back to providing the brilliant education which our young people deserve.


Both Ofsted and the Department for Education have a mountain to climb in terms of restoring trust amongst parents in my constituency.


Right from the get go my priority has been, and always will be, a first class education for our young people and opportunities for parents to be involved in their children’s education. We are making progress in our schools towards that goal. A number of the schools have now received favourable reports from Ofsted and the new set of Governors at PVET have my support.


The publication of this report should draw a line under this episode and reinforce the message that Government must work with parents to ensure the best education possible for our young people.”





East Birmingham Growth Prospectus – 24 February 2015


Dear friends,

I wanted to share with you a copy of the East Birmingham Growth Prospectus which I launched this morning. 

East Brum Prospectus for Growth Front Cover


This is the biggest plan for jobs in East Birmingham we’ve ever had. It was hard fought. But by demanding the government, the Council and HS2 pull together we’ve got an amazing plan for jobs and skills. At Washwood Heath we’ve forced HS2 to look at new plans to ensure 2,334 jobs are created rather than a giant train carpark – plus a £1 million investment in skills for local people and the City Council’s regeneration plan. It’s a once in a generation opportunity to transform our local economy.

LB with Cllrs and MPs at WashwoodHeath

Liam with Jack Dromey MP, Shabana Mahmood MP and Cllrs Ansar Ali Khan and Mohammed Idrees at the old LDV site in Washwood Heath – a centrepiece of the new plan


You can find the full press release with statements from Shabana Mahmood MP and Jack Dromey MP here.


The news was covered by both the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Mail.


Washwood Heath jobs boost as HS2 gives up claim on development land

HS2 land freed to create over 2,000 jobs in Washwood Heath


With all best wishes




Birmingham Labour sets out bold plans for 9,000 jobs in East Birmingham – 24 February 2015


Birmingham Labour sets out bold plans for 9,000 jobs in East Birmingham


The City Council’s East Birmingham Growth Prospectus, backed by a new plan for the old LDV-Alstom marshalling yard, and £1 million skills investment by the government was launched today by East Birmingham’s three MP’s and Council leader, Sir Albert Bore.


Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, who has spent the last three years helping nurture and coordinate the plans today heralded the breakthrough as a ‘triple win’ for the city.


The plan has identified 3.7 million sq.ft of new employment floorspace as home for 9,000 new jobs including 3,000 jobs at Bordesley Park, and 1,000 new homes and improvements to local community and shopping provision in the Eastern Triangle – including Shard End.


Alongside the City Council’s East Birmingham Growth Prospectus, the MP’s have secured Parliamentary backing for a Plan B at the old LDV-Alstom marshalling yard, creating space for 2,334 jobs, and £1 million for investment in skills to be delivered through a new joint venture, chaired by Council chief executive, Mark Rogers.


Speaking at the former Alstom and LDV site in Washwood Heath,


Liam Byrne MP said: “This is the biggest plan for jobs in East Birmingham we’ve ever had. It was hard fought. But by demanding the government, the Council and HS2 pull together we’ve got an amazing plan for jobs and skills. Here at Washwood Heath we’ve forced HS2 to look at new plans to ensure 2,334 jobs are created rather than a giant train carpark – plus a £1 million investment in skills for local people and the City Council’s regeneration plan. It’s a once in a generation opportunity to transform our local economy.”


Jack Dromey MP said: “Our city has a great industrial tradition. We want Birmingham once again to be the workshop of the world, the city of a thousand trades. The constituencies we are proud to represent suffer from high unemployment and an acute shortage of affordable housing. This bold joint-initiative with Birmingham City Council will create badly-needed jobs and build baldy-needed homes, transforming East Birmingham into an economic power-house.”


Shabana Mahmood MP said: “Unemployment and worklessness has remained stubbornly high in East Birmingham for too long. This detailed plan for jobs provides a real opportunity; it recognises that it’s not enough to give people skills, we have to ensure there are skilled jobs for them to go into as well. In addition, we will keep up our pressure on HS2 bosses to ensure that the old LDV-Alston marshalling yard is used to create even more jobs locally – rather than the giant train carpark some envisage.”



1)      Contact Deborah Harries at Birmingham City Council for further details on the East Birmingham Growth Prospectus., 0121 303 4777.

2)      Liam Byrne MP, Jack Dromey MP and Shabana Mahmood MP, as well as a number of local council candidates will be doing a photocall at the Washwood Heath / old LDV site on Tuesday morning at 10:15

3)      For further details please contact James Pignon at or on 0207 219 6953

Response from the Council on Wheelie Bins service – 29 January 2015


Dear friends,


I have received a response from the Council with some details on the new wheelie bins service. You can read the letter below.


Have you received your bins yet? What do you think of the new service?
Do let me know at:


Very best


FWM Response(P1)


FWM Response(P2)

Byrne demands summit with NHS chief – 3 February 2015


News from Liam Byrne MP


Liam Byrne has today demanded talks with NHS chiefs to stop East Birmingham health services falling into crisis.


The move comes as health service regulator Monitor insists on further steps to ensure a proper improvement plan is in place at Heartlands hospital.


But Mr Byrne is demanding further action to improve GP services to relieve the strain on pressurised A&E services, including more urgent care services at local health centres, after his snap inspections of the centres found them almost empty.


Liam Byrne said:


‘My snap inspections found local urgent care centres almost empty – because local residents know they just aren’t the doctors available.


‘Frankly NHS have failed to put down on paper anything I can see that’ll improve things. So I’m demanding face to face to talks to jump start them into action’.


‘Our local NHS staff are doing an amazing job and everyone tells me care is often outstanding when you can get it. The problem is getting to see a doctor is getting harder and harder.’



Statement on Universities UK Letter to the Times – 02 February 2015


Commenting on the letter from Universities UK (UUK) to the Times newspaper, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills Liam Byrne MP said:


“The Tory-led government trebled fees and now it is crystal clear that the student finance system is going bust, saddling students with debts most will never repay of £43,500 on average, and costing the taxpayer more than the system it replaced.
According to new UCAS analysis, trebled fees have deterred thousands of potential students applying.


“We will announce our policy in due course ahead of the general election.”




Editor’s note



A recent study by UCAS, ‘Summary of demand factors to 2018′ found that the government’s trebling of student fees reduced application numbers by 5 per cent.


You can access the study here.




My meeting with Waheed Saleem, the Chair of Park View School – Friday 23 January 2015


Dear friends,


Today I met with Waheed Saleem, the Chair of Park View School with Cllr Ansar Ali Khan on Friday and I was pleased to hear the considerable progress that has been made in both Nansen and Park View Schools.


I am pleased that both Waheed and Adrian Packer the Executive Principal have made the commitment of meeting with the parents regularly to update them on work they are doing to improve the educational experience of the pupils and to hear their concerns and issues. It was good to hear that the school has appointed several members of senior staff and classroom teachers to support the pupils, including Dr Rashida Sharif the new interim Head at Nansen, Marie Luise Morgan and David Birch, acting Assistant Principals at Park View School. Adrian is also progressing plans to bring a new interim Principal to Park View and has significantly strengthened the leadership team. Waheed held staff surgeries at Park View recently and was noted that staff morale was improving and that students were continuing to make progress in line with their academic targets.


The schools have put in extra help for Year 11 and Year 6 pupils to help them with their GSCE exams  and SATs tests, including evening and weekend classes with experienced teachers. Park View also continues to develop its Accelerated Reader programme, which supports literacy and improves vocabulary. Waheed explained the range of extra curricular activities that are being offered to students including Yr 11 Community Leaders Programme providing leadership skills to students that will give them extra edge in applying for colleges and university places, meeting with Prince William to celebrate the work of the Feast Project, whole school concert and work experience practise interviews.


I raised the issue of community use of the sport facilities at the School and Waheed has reassured me that the improvement works are being scheduled and that the community will soon be able to access these facilities again.


With all best wishes





Notice of Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust’s application for foundation Status – 23rd January 2015


Dear Friends,

I am attaching a letter from Martin Smith, Director of Provider Appraisal at Monitor, letting you know that Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust has been referred to Monitor to begin its assessment process to become a foundation trust.


As always, I am happy to feed in your views as Constituents. If you do have any concerns you wish to bring to their attention, I would be grateful if you could get in touch with me by 15th Feb 2015.



Reconfiguration of surgery at Heart of England NHS Trust – have your say



Dear Friends


I received this letter from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

As you can see there are still more opportunities to get involved with the consultation process about the reconfiguration of the surgery.

There are several different ways you can access all the details of the proposals, the latest information and give your feedback:


MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds – Birmingham Mail – 17 December 2014

MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds


Liam Byrne speaks out as grim new figures show some hospitals at 96 per cent bed capacity


A BIRMINGHAM MP has warned the city could run out of hospital beds after a shock investigation showed wards are nearing full capacity.

Former health minister Liam Byrne said health chiefs face an ‘NHS emergency’ after latest grim statistics revealed some hospitals are using 96 per cent of available beds.

Infection control experts advise occupancy rates should not be higher than 85 per cent because of an increased risk of infections if there is not enough time to clean properly between patients.

Most of the seven biggest hospital trusts in the West Midlands have action plans in place to cope with rising demand over the winter, with some opening new temporary wards.

Yet they are still struggling.

But Mr Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) said: “These shocking figures now prove our hospitals are packed to the rafters. No wonder care standards are under terrible pressure.

“It’s now clear this is an NHS emergency and fresh resources are needed fast. If we have a bad winter there’s a real chance the city could run out of hospital beds – and that will put lives at risk.”

Higher bed capacity figures also mean it is much more difficult for hospitals to cope with sudden “spikes” in admissions, caused by a surge in flu or norovirus infections.

Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency medicine, said he was fearful the region was now heading towards a winter crisis. “The signs do not bode well, I cannot see how we can turn this round in a matter of weeks,’’ he said.

“We need more staff and more beds to cope with the pressures winter will bring.”

He said many wards had more patients than beds for much of the day, only falling to less than 100 per cent occupancy when the midnight recordings are taken.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Coun John Cotton, said cuts to social care were also contributing to the problem.

He said: “Despite the mild weather, it’s very clear hospitals in all parts of England are already struggling to cope, so I shudder to think what will happen once winter kicks in.

“Earlier this month Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted pressures on the NHS were ‘higher than they have ever been’ and the demands are sure to increase this winter.

“Government cuts have taken social care support away from older people and made it harder for others to get a GP appointment. That means more people are turning to A&E and hospitals are struggling to deal with the extra pressure.”

Recent figures recorded up to September show that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, recorded a 96.4 per cent bed capacity.


It is believed this figure could rise further as the colder weather kicks in.

In January to March this year, bed capacity was recorded at 98 per cent.

The Queen Elizabeth, dubbed a “super hospital” after it opened a huge new site four years ago, resorted to reopening part of its old building to create a new ward last year. It was a temporary measure but it remains in place and has 170 extra beds.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is also struggling to cope, with data showing a 93.7 per cent bed capacity in September, with the number rising rapidly this month.

A spokeswoman said: “Our busiest time of year is always the end of November and early December due to this peaking emergency demand for children – so at present our bed occupancy is fluctuating between 90 and 100 per cent.

“We open more beds at this time of year, and we increase the numbers of staff working to support the increased demand.”

Whilst Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust aims to have a capacity level of 93 per cent at midday, they still have two wards of adult beds used by patients who no longer need to be in hospital.

A spokeswoman added: “These delays put pressure on the bed capacity and have doubled in comparison to last year for patients from the Birmingham area, whereas we are seeing significant reductions in these delays of discharge for patients from the Sandwell areas.”

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has invested in more than 100 extra staff and are currently looking at ways to provide additional support services such as frailty units, increased medical cover for seven day services and care management for elderly patients.

Officials at New Cross Hospital, in Wolverhampton, admitted they are operating at near full capacity on most days but will open 27 additional beds after Christmas.

The Dudley Group NHS Trust, which operates Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, said there were no plans to put additional beds in place to cope with any potential winter crisis. This was despite admitting that it experienced unprecedented pressure on its emergency services and asked patients to think twice before attending in January this year.

Walsall Manor Hospital has introduced 40 new beds within the community to provide a step-down facility for patients who are well enough to leave hospital, but not quite well enough to go home.

It will free up more beds at the hospital for acutely ill patients. A spokeswoman added: “We are also opening a new £4.7 million ward at the Manor Hospital in January 2015 which will give us an additional 30 beds for acutely ill patients.”



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