Lots of local people continue to contact me about the future of Northfield’s leisure facilities. For the latest update please read this article on B31 Voices about the City Council’s Cabinet Meeting on the 15 September 2014 – at which the future of the pool and leisure centre was discussed.
After the recent local consultation and residents meeting chaired by Labour Councillor and Northfield District Chair Brett O’Reilly, the City Council have now decided to further consider three sites for the future location of the Northfield Pool and Leisure Centre.
I wanted to write and update residents about what is proving to be a long line of smears being put about both on social media and in the Bromsgrove Standard newspaper by a Tory Candidate in Northfield.
This time it’s an allegation from the Conservative candidate that that local Labour Councillors and the local MP (I’m assuming she is having a go at me rather than the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove), “have not seen fit to inform” local residents over a planning application to build a crematorium next to New Inns Lane in the Frankley area on the Bromsgrove/Birmingham border. The result, the candidate claims, is that the application has “gone through without residents being properly consulted.”
Unfortunately, this all seems designed to generate more heat than light, presumably for electoral reasons.
As the Referendum on Scottish Independence has got closer, the words “solidarity” and “self- determination” have come into my head time and time again. I guess like many on the Left in England, for a long time I reckoned my commitment to principle of self-determination meant that I should hold back. Surely, I thought, independence was a matter for people in Scotland to decide, not something for me as an English MP to “stick my oar in”. I still believe my instincts were one hundred per cent about who should decide on Scottish independence; self-determination means just that. But I have changed my mind about whether I, as an English MP, should say something.
I’ve been contacted by many local people who have told me that they are struggling to cope with the hated bedroom tax, introduced by the Tories and Liberal Democrats in Westminster. The Bedroom Tax is affecting over 13,000 households in Birmingham and over 1300 in the Northfield area alone.
People receiving housing benefit, who live in council or housing association homes with a spare bedroom, face a choice between paying £600 more a year or moving home. But as I know all too well from my constituents, there often is not the choice.
What is it with Conservative politicians and charities? This week, new Tory Minister for Civil Society, Brooks Newmark, provoked outrage by telling charities to “stick to their knitting” and keep out of politics.
The tone was about as patronising as you could get. The use of language was nothing short of insulting when referring to organisations which span the spectrum from providing emergency relief to those facing massacre in Iraq, to children’s charities and the RSPB here in the UK.