OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Words and pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

At the end of May, Rishi Sunak, in a last-ditch attempt to save his premiership, called a general election ahead of his own Conservative Party attempting to replace him.

The Conservatives want your vote, but ask yourself, after 14 years of Conservative government, do you feel better off?

The country and our community in Erdington, Kingstanding, Castle Vale and South Oscott are left with a simple choice. Do we continue the chaos with the Tories, or do we turn a page in our country’s history and vote for change with Labour?

Our NHS is broken, and local people find it impossible to get GP and dentist appointments. Energy bills have skyrocketed, and after the Conservatives crashed our economy, mortgages have gone through the roof. Our tax burden is the highest it has been since the 1960s.

Nothing is working. Our community deserves better. We all deserve better.

Labour has a fully costed plan to fix what the Conservatives have broken. An extra 13,000 police on our streets, 1.5 million new homes, and 40,000 more NHS appointments will just start to repair the damage that has already been done.

Two years ago, I was honoured to be elected as your Member of Parliament to represent the area where I have raised my children for more than 35 years and call home.

I’m proud to be standing again as your local Labour candidate to continue the work we’ve done together to improve our community.

Give change a chance and let’s end this chaos.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Words and pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

This month, I have been pleased to support Erdington Friends of the Library in their campaign to protect and preserve our local library, following a consultation by the Council.

Our libraries serve as essential hubs for learning, community engagement, and have historical relevance. As a local resident of Erdington who has used our local libraries for decades, I understand how important these local facilities are to our community.

These spaces promote knowledge, creativity, and social connections, and we must preserve them for future generations.

I wrote a letter to the Council expressing my strong opposition to any closures of our libraries and also attended the library consultation event in Erdington, where I was heartened to see so many passionate individuals coming together to voice their concerns.

I signed Erdington Friends of the Library’s petition, urging the council to carefully consider the views of local people about the future of their libraries.

I would also like to extend my warmest congratulations to our new Mayor of the West Midlands, Richard Parker.

His leadership and vision will undoubtedly benefit our community and region. I look forward to meeting him soon to discuss how we can work together to fulfil one of his key pledges: revitalising our High Streets and making it a thriving destination once again.

Results like these send a clear message that people in Erdington, Kingstanding, Castle Vale, and across the country deserve better. After 14 years of Tory chaos and mismanagement, it’s time for change.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

OPINION: A view from the Vale – Cllr Ray Goodwin

Words by Cllr Ray Goodwin (Castle Vale Ward, Labour)

It’s been a busy few weeks on Castle Vale.

Work is about to start shortly on Filton Croft and by the time you will have read this we will have held our Crime and Community Safety Summit.

A lot has been said over the last few weeks about politicians not listening to the communities they represent, but one of the things I have done over the last two years has been open and accessible to residents – this is why my regular estate walk abouts are so important, it means I can talk to residents to listen to their concerns and issues and deal with them straight away where possible.

My commitment is to continue to do this and talk to as many people as possible on a daily and weekly basis and discuss what matters to them most, Castle Vale!

I want local democracy to be at the heart of everything I do, and this is the best way to do this. I see residents on a daily basis for appointments. But, also, I hold a monthly advice surgery for residents as well.

Whilst over the last two years a lot of good things have happened – including securing a new bus route to the fort shopping centre.

There is now, however, more to do, and I will be leading the charge to the West Midlands mayor that there is a train station and that station is called ‘CASTLE VALE’.

For more from Castle Vale Councillor Ray Goodwin visit www.facebook.com/thisiscastlevale 

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Words and pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

I hope everyone in Erdington, Kingstanding, and Castle Vale enjoyed the Easter break and could spend some valuable time with your family. Easter is a time of hope, renewal, and joy – a time for us to come together, reflect on what matters most.

This spring, it was heartwarming to see our communities come together for Easter, Eid, Vaisakhi and Passover, sharing festivities and traditions, and strengthening the community spirit that makes our area so unique.

These important bonds extend to our amazing local organisations, as was evident during my recent visit to Erdington Court Bowls Club. There, I had the pleasure of congratulating them on receiving the Shared Prosperity Fund from Witton Lodge Community Association.

This grant has funded a new bowls-friendly wheelchair, ensuring that bowling can be accessible to even more members of our community. This is a testament to the power of local organisations working together for the common good.

It’s this spirit that makes me incredibly proud to call our area my home and reminds me of how my own journey began, working as a district nurse in Kingstanding to serving our community as a governor at Yenton Primary School.

But there are so many unsung heroes in our community who work tirelessly, to help others and it is in that spirit that I would like to celebrate this Easter.

I will be finding unsung heroes across Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale and telling them how much they mean to me. Why don’t you do the same.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

OPINION: A view from the Vale – Cllr Ray Goodwin

Words by Cllr Ray Goodwin (Castle Vale Ward, Labour)

Castle Vale is a community rich in talent with good and decent people who look out for each other – and this became really apparent over the last few weeks with the high-profile incident on Castle Vale High Street. 

It is because of the amazing community that Castle Vale is resilient and will bounce back bigger, better stronger.

However, I won’t be resting on my laurels and I will be making sure Castle Vale is getting the best deal possible. I will be holding a ‘Crime and Community Safety Summit’ on the 18 May 2024 at Greenwood Academy from 1.30pm onward.

I will be inviting a representative from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, the West Midlands Mayor’s office, and the Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton. The Pioneer Group housing association has already agreed to attend.

My biggest ask is that we reopen a visibly present police station.

The Pop-Up Police Station is great, but it’s not enough. We need to ensure that the incident that occurred on 5 April on the High Street is an isolated incident, and that we do more to not only tackle crime but to deal with the issues that lead to crime.

I won’t be taking no for an answer, and I won’t allow Castle Vale to be treated like second best.

I will stand up be counted and do what needs to be done to represent this amazing community.

For more from Castle Vale Councillor Ray Goodwin visit www.facebook.com/thisiscastlevale

OPINION: My thoughts on Birmingham’s budget – Gravelly Hill Councillor Mick Brown

Words by Cllr Mick Brown (Gravelly Hill Ward, Labour & Co-operative) / Pics from Birmingham Labour and Erdington Local archives

As the Councillor for Gravelly Hill, I wanted to give my thoughts on Birmingham’s budget, the difficult decisions that had to be made and the impact the council cuts are likely to have.

As Councillors we have been left will no alternative other than to get the council back on a sound financial footing, but like many of my council colleagues it was with a very heavy heart that I voted for this budget. 

When I talk to Gravelly Hill residents about their concerns over what has happened in Birmingham, there are the four commonly asked questions:

What’s gone wrong here?
I believe that the Council needs to take responsibility for its part in the failings, which include both the ongoing equal pay liability and the botched implementation of the Oracle computer system.  For this reason, I’m backing the call for an independent inquiry so that the people of Birmingham can see that there is accountability for what’s gone wrong here.

The failure to deliver savings in previous years, is a further reason for the need to save £300 million over the next two years. However, much of the savings we have had to find are due to increased costs, and more people needing our services due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Is this just happening here?
While some of this situation is unique to Birmingham, the constant underfunding of local government is an issue for councils up and down the country regardless of political persuasion.  Birmingham has lost over a billion pounds over the last decade, as we are all being hit by inflation and rapidly increased demand for services such as adult social care and childcare services.

What’s been protected?
We will still have millions to spend on services, for example the Council has safeguarded the future of the Wellbeing Leisure Centres, and the aim is to ensure a £1 million fund for youth services across the city. While the cuts are far larger than we would have wanted to have made, with the adult care being cut by 6% and children and young people services cut by 14%; the rising demand for both services means that the amount of money spend is rising despite the budget cuts.

What’s happening next?
We know that the way the council works needs to change, and we need to get better at working with partners across the city. We are going to consult with the people of Birmingham on how you want services to be delivered in your local area, so that we give people the support that they need in the most effective way possible.

As councillors we all have a role to play going forward standing up for our communities and ensuring that the transformation of the Council delivers the better basic services that the residents of Birmingham deserve.

Click here for more from Gravelly Hill Councillor Mick Brown (Labour & Co-operative).

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Pic supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

Last month, I was contacted by local people in Kingstanding and Oscott about a planning application that would have turned a family home into a 6-bed HMO. I am pleased to report that the Council have rejected these plans after we gathered 222 signatures from concerned residents as part of a campaign I led.

This yet again highlights the need for more affordable housing. Sadly, the Tory government has consistently fallen short when it comes to addressing the housing crisis, leaving countless families in an uncertain situation.

Labour has a plan to address the housing crisis on a national scale. We are committed to building 1.5 million new homes in the next parliament, ensuring that everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home. Labour would also give first time buyers first dibs on new homes in local areas.

The Tory government crashed our economy, and their recent spring budget announcement does little for working families. Under the Tories, we have seen lower growth in GDP compared to the last Labour government. There have been 25 Tory tax rises since the last election, and the average family will still be worse off under the Tories’ tax plan.

After fourteen years of chaos and instability, the Tories have failed and working people are worse off. It’s time for change.

It’s time for a Labour government that is committed to rebuilding our economy, keeping our communities safe, investing in our NHS, and getting Britain’s future back.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

OPINION: A view from the Vale – Cllr Ray Goodwin

Pic supplied by Cllr Ray Goodwin (Castle Vale Ward, Labour)

I spent a few minutes reflecting on what to say, so here goes; I was hugely humbled to be elected in May 2022 as councillor for Castle Vale.

I promised to work tirelessly to get the best deal possible for Castle Vale, and in the period since May 2022 we have some big achievements – these include:

  • Securing the funding to rebuild Filton Croft Play Area and have a new park, shortly to be installed
  • Securing further funding to renovate all the parks on Castle Vale
  • Hold a fortnightly Pop Up Police Station
  • Campaigned for and secured the 64 Bus service that now runs to the Fort, Erdington High Street, and ASDA Minworth
  • New traffic crossings and road resurfacing – most notable by Sainsburys at Castle Vale and Innsworth Drive have been resurfaced.
  • Monthly Advice Surgeries
  • Weekly estate walks abouts to meet residents and understand their issues

This is just a small flavour of the achievements since May 2022. However, there is much more to come.

I will not be sitting on my laurels; I will be continuing to work hard and fight for Castle Vale – starting with the proposed train station. If the train station is located on Castle Vale, then it needs to be called Castle Vale and nothing else. And I will not be taking NO for answer.

I have said it once and I will say it a million times, Castle Vale is a rich diverse community full of amazing residents and organisations. Not only is it the best of what Birmingham is, it represents the best of all of us and this country.

So yes, I am and will always be deeply proud and humbled to be elected to represent Castle Vale.

For more from Castle Vale Councillor Ray Goodwin visit www.facebook.com/thisiscastlevale

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Pic supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

As your MP and a local resident, I am often told of your concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour in the area, particularly knife crime.

Worryingly, the B23 postcode had the highest number of reported knife crime incidences in Birmingham last year, according to the latest figures. This is not a coincidence, but it is the direct result of the Tory Government’s failure to tackle the root causes of knife crime.

Under the Tories, knife crime has gone up by 77% since 2015. Ministers have slashed funding for vital public services, such as education, health, and youth work. They have cut 21,000 police officers since the last Labour Government, leaving our streets less safe and less protected.

However, this can change. Labour has a plan to invest in our communities and give our young people their future back. Labour will:

  • Extend the ban on zombie knives to ninja swords.
  • Establish an end-to-end review of online knife sales.
  • Close the loophole that allows online marketplaces to sell dangerous knives.
  • Introduce a new Young Futures programme to establish new youth hubs, with both mental health workers and youth workers.

For too long, the Tories have been soft on knife crime and soft on the causes of knife crime. Labour would put the safety and security of our community at the heart of its government.

Together, we can end the knife crime epidemic and build a better future for Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Pic supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

I hope everyone in Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale had a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful new year.

I’d like to congratulate Renata from SS Mary and John Catholic Primary School for winning my Christmas Card competition. And well done to the runners-up, Valentina and Burham, whose cards were fantastic.

2024 is both a year of opportunity and challenge. For more than 13 years, the Tory government has let down people in our communities, failing to address the key issues that affect us, such as the rising cost of living, the lack of GP and dental appointments, the surge in crime, the proliferation of HMOs and the decline of Erdington High Street. They ignored our repeated applications to the Levelling Up Fund, which would have revitalised our High Street.

Making matters worse, the Tories’ shameful Rwanda plan is in tatters, and they have no clear plan to fix the broken system they created. They have squandered billions of pounds on vanity projects and crony contracts, while cutting vital public services and support for the most vulnerable.

This year, our country will face a crucial choice: more neglect and chaos with the Tories, or credible leadership with Labour. Labour has a plan to rebuild Britain, invest in our NHS, create good jobs, make our communities safer and stronger, and get Britan’s future back.

As your local MP and a proud resident of this area, I will always stand up for you and our community.

Together, we can make 2024 a year of hope and change.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org