By Erdington Local election news team
On Wednesday, 16 February, Labour leader Keir Starmer boosted his party’s Erdington by-election candidate stating: “Paulette Hamilton is part of the answer” – during a visit to Erdington High Street.
Coming to Birmingham on the last day of his UK tour, Keir Starmer joined Cllr Hamilton for a tour of the high street, discussing its lack of development in recent years and speaking with local business owners about what resources they needed for a more prosperous Erdington.
Keir Starmer told Erdington Local: “What Erdington needs, what the high street needs, is a very strong advocate – somebody who is going to be in Parliament and knows the communities, knows exactly the change that they want, and is going to be a very loud and powerful voice for them (local people).”
The Labour leader and Erdington MP candidate, who is also the local councillor for the Holyhead Ward, visited Tia’s Locs & Natural Hair – an established hair dresser for little under a decade, just off the high street on York Road.
They also visited the new Wellbeing Hub run by Witton Lodge Community Association, which took over from the former Health and Wellbeing Walk-in Centre.
Transformed into a multi-service facility that delivers advice, guidance, and support around health, employment, housing and finance, the Wellbeing Hub has been a welcome addition to Erdington High Street – which has seen many banks and national brands leave the in recent years.
Keir Starmer applauded local people and their attitudes towards business development.
He said: “There is no lack of ambition, no lack of ideas or talent in Erdington. But what local people want, is a government that matches that ambition.
“Frankly, if you are not prepared to support Erdington High Street, then how can you seriously talk about levelling up.”
The owner of Tia’s Locs & Natural Hair, Moya (Tia’s daughter), age 30, told Erdington Local: “We’ve known Paulette since the shop opened. She’s been one of our longstanding clients for years, always giving us support and just an absolute delight to talk to”.
When Moya was asked about her confidence in Labour’s ability to deliver change for Erdington, she added: “I feel very confident in her (Paulette Hamilton), definitely.”
Standing outside the salon as the Labour leader and MP hopeful stopped for press photos, Ms Hewitt told Erdington Local:
“I’m having to travel from a hotel room in Edgbaston to schools in Erdington (Osborne, St Edmund Campion) every morning.
“I don’t have any heating and the Local Authority are doing nothing… they offered me a flat on the 10th floor of a high rise block, but I’ve got two children – one has a foot disease and the other isn’t steady walking yet.
“I want to see them help people like us. They can stop having their picture taken and come and help us – I feel like I’m being left out.”
Erdington High Street has recently missed out on two multi million pound regeneration initiatives, the Future High Street and Levelling Up funds.
Addressing the lack of government investment into Erdington, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said:
“We want to get rid of business rates, what a difference that would make to the high street, because it would allow businesses to flourish, and other businesses to come in and make their business on the high street to bring it back to the sort of high street it was many years ago.”
In defence of Erdington, he added: “how shocking is it that the government has actually refused the bid twice for the money that’s needed on Erdington High Street.”
Labour MP hopeful, Paulette Hamilton, also criticised the lack of concrete funding in Erdington. She explained:
“We need true levelling up. What I want to see with levelling up, is that places like the high street in Erdington, that we get the funding we need to really develop the high street.”
Erdington will elect its next Member of Parliament on Thursday, 3 March.
The 12 candidates contesting the Birmingham Erdington seat are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservative), Dave Nellist (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), Lee Dargue (Liberal Democrats), Michael Lutwyche (Independent), Jack Brookes (Reform UK), Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Green), Thomas O’Rouke (Independent), Mel Mbondiah (Christian People’s Alliance), Clifton Holmes (Independent), David Laurence Bishop (Militant Bus-Pass Elvis Party), The Good Knight Sir NosDa (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party).
Cllr Paulette Hamilton and Keir Starmer discuss investment into Erdington High Street
For more on Cllr Paulette Hamilton and her campaign to become Erdington’s next Member of Parliament visit www.facebook.com/Paulette4Erdington