OPINION: Repairing Erdington Library – a message from Cllr Robert Alden, Erdington

Profile pic by Ed King

Sadly, despite the summer weather Erdington’s historic library has again suffered water damage over recent months.

Cllr Gareth Moore and I have been tackling the Council over the desperate need to repair the damaged roof and to fix the leaks at Erdington Library.

This has secured some minor works to try and plug leaks, which Gareth recently inspected with the staff from the Library Service.

However much more investment is required from the Council if we are to prevent the irreversible damage from happening to our treasured library.

The next steps of our campaign to secure the repairs to the library are happening at the end of September when we meet the Cabinet Member responsible to discuss the need for further investment.

Libraries are a vital part a local community, providing safe warm spaces, where people can come to learn, read, or just see some familiar faces.

Erdington Library is well known for the excellent service that staff provide. Libraries can be even more providing a local venue for other help acting as a ‘one stop shop’.

However, before any of that can be considered here in Erdington first it is vital that the Council gets the roof properly replaced and the building watertight to ensure that Erdington Library is still going strong in another 100 years.

Gareth and I have been clear with the Council the current state of Erdington Library is totally unacceptable. Residents can rest assured we are demanding the Council take action.

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore (Erdington) visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

NEWS: Erdington Ward Labour candidate Suriyah Bi petitions Government for £10 ID cards to help employment

Words by Ed King

Erdington Ward Labour candidate Suriyah Bi has petitioned Government for ‘an affordable national identification card’ to help people get back to work.

Responding to the concerns of one Topcroft Estate resident, Ms Bi wrote an open letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – the Rt Hon. Thérèse Coffey – asking for ‘ID that people can access at no more than £10.’

For many jobs, potential employees are required to show an officially recognised national ID such as a passport or driving licence.

Current UK passports for adults can cost between £75-95.

A provisional driving licence can cost up to £43, with the cost of the theory and practical tests adding up to another £98 – whilst learning to drive can amount to hundreds of pounds before you even take a test.

For many people across the UK these costs are too high, leaving them without any way of having the official ID required by employers.

Suriyah Bi is now asking the Work and Pensions Minister to introduce cheaper identification, to help break ‘cycles of poverty and homelessness’ and support those struggling financially ‘to access employment and have a means of income.’

Ms Bi told Erdington Local: “While door knocking on the Topcroft Estate, I met a lovely resident who told me about the difficulty in finding employment due to having to have a form of ID, such as a passport or a driving license.

“However, with the current cost of living crisis she was stuck between feeding her family, heating her home and having to pay around £90 for a passport to access employment.

“She wanted an affordable form of ID that would cost no more than £10, so she could become employed.

“I felt it was my duty to take her concerns directly to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and ask her to consider implementing this nationally, as many people may be in a similar situation.

“This could be a very important step in the right direction to break cycles of homelessness and poverty.”

Suriyah Bi is standing as one of the two Labour candidates contesting the Erdington Ward in the local elections on 5 May, alongside Basharat Dad – Labour’s second candidate.

Erdington Ward is currently represented by Local Conservatives Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore.

Local elections take place on Thursday 5 May.

For more on Suriyah Bi and Basharat Dad’s campaign for the Erdington Ward visit www.facebook.com/SuriyahBiandBasharatDadforErdington