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Closure of Longbridge Police Station

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£130m cuts force police to choose between keeping local Police stations open and recruiting officers, says Richard Burden as Longbridge Police Station faces closure.

West Midlands Police have announced that Longbridge Police Station will close at the end of May, with Northfield and Longbridge neighbourhood Police teams moving to work out of Bournville Lane Police station and the Weoley neighbourhood team working out of Quinton.

Responding to the announcement, Richard Burden, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Northfield, said:

Government cuts have put our local Police in the invidious position of having to either close buildings or lose more officers. With £130m of cuts already leaving West Midlands Police with 1,700 fewer officers and over 360 fewer PCSOs than it had in 2010, they had little choice but to choose officers over buildings.

I am confident that the Police will do everything they can to make sure that the loss of Longbridge Police station does not affect the service they provide to the public. Even so, the Government should not have put the Police in the position of having to lose the visible presence on Bristol Road South which Longbridge station represents.

Our region is also being hit unfairly hard. Even though the actions of Birmingham’s Labour MPs in Parliament helped stave off even worse cuts to our Police, National Audit Office figures still show that West Midlands Police has lost over £130m since 2010 – around five times the level of cuts experienced by leafy Surrey.

It shows a cockeyed sense of priorities by Conservative Ministers who clearly cannot be trusted to back our Police in keeping the streets safe. It’s another reason why we need a change of Government on June 8th and why we need Labour MPs back in Parliament after the election to carry on fighting for Birmingham – whoever is in Downing Street.

Gang Violence in South West Birmingham

Many people will have seen the story in the Birmingham Mail on gang violence in South West Birmingham. Here is my response:

“The emergence of these street gangs in South Birmingham is certainly cause for serious concern. I have been in close contact with the Police about it for some time now. I can reassure people that a dedicated Police operation is in place with targeted actions ongoing to disrupt the activities of those involved. A number of arrests have already been made. Just as important is the cooperation taking place between schools and the Police to divert young people at risk of becoming involved in gangs away from criminal activities that offer them no future.

It in no way undermines the seriousness of this issue, however, to emphasise that only a small minority of young people get involved in these gangs and that it would be entirely wrong to allow young people in and around Northfield to be stigmatised because of the actions of the few.

Let us remember too that these gangs are not what makes the Northfield area tick. There is so much that is positive about people who live around here – young and not so young. Nurturing, celebrating and taking pride in all that is good about our community is as important to safeguarding the future as is cracking down on criminal gangs.”

Birmingham’s Labour MPs Fight Back Against Conservative Apprenticeship Cuts

Last month, all of Birmingham’s further education colleges and Birmingham City University were told by the Conservative Government that they could no longer offer apprenticeships to local people. This would set us and the people of our city back, stifling opportunity, preventing people from getting training and jobs, as well as hampering the hard work of our colleges and universities.

Along with other Labour Birmingham MPs, I have been working hard to get this changed and have been writing to and meeting with the Government to press them to reverse this decision. I’m glad to say that our pressure has paid off and the Government have announced that they are reconsidering. They have already assured us that South and City College will now able to offer apprenticeships again and that other colleges will be reviewed quickly.

Unfortunately, though, the Conservatives have past form on this and it is telling of their priorities that they were willing to let this happen to our region in the first place. Just last year they planned to cut some apprenticeship funding by up to 50%. But with the support of other Labour MPs, I helped force them to u-turn on that. I was relieved when we achieved that last year and am relieved that we have been successful again this time. It shows what Birmingham’s Labour MPs can achieve for our city when we work together.

Help re-elect the local, independent-minded and trusted MP for Northfield

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In all the years I have been an MP I have always stayed true to the values that took me into politics in the first place.

My values are Labour and that means that I have consistently been a thorn in the side of Conservative-led Governments. But those same values also mean that I have never been someone who blindly follows party lines. I stand up for what I believe – first by working in partnership with the people I represent here in Northfield to make a difference to our local area, but also on issues ranging from the future of the automotive industry in the UK to promoting peace in the Middle East.

I also hope you agree that that having independent and experienced voices like mine in the Commons will be even more important in the coming years – whoever is in Downing Street – as Britain faces the challenges of Brexit and at a time when world affairs are more uncertain and perilous than they have been for generations.

So that is why I am asking for your help.

In the last General Election two years ago, the Conservatives spent a fortune on promotional material in their efforts to take the constituency of Birmingham Northfield. There was no way we could ever match the kind of money the Conservatives put in. We held the seat by hard work on the ground. But getting our message across still costs money and the donations we received ranging from small ones to large ones were vital.

There is no doubt that the Conservatives will spend a fortune in trying to take Northfield again and so once again I am asking for your help to get the message across and to win on June 8th .

So please give whatever you can afford – however much or however little that may be. I promise you that anything you give will be put to good use.

To help, you can donate through PayPal by clicking here:

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Alternatively, you can donate by:

• Online banking to – Account Number: 58124637, Sort Code: 60-83-01
• Cheque made payable to ‘Birmingham Northfield Constituency Labour Party’ and sent to John Stewart, 5 Ramsden Close, Birmingham, B29 4JX

Please note that under electoral law I can only accept donations from individuals registered to vote here in the UK and from UK–registered organisations. More details on the rules covering donations at elections is available here.

So please help me to remain one of those voices in the House of Commons. All donations are vital and I promise you that anything you give will be put to good use. Please give as little or as much as you can.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Safety Must Be Top Priority, But UK & US Bans on Passenger Electronics on Aircraft Leave Questions Unanswered

Responding to the announcement, Richard Burden MP, Labour’s Shadow Aviation Minister, commented:

“Safety and security of passengers must always be the overriding priority for Government and for airline operators. If the Government has evidence that the level of security checks on passengers carrying electronic devices is of exceptional concern in the countries they have listed, then it is right that prompt precautionary action should be taken.

“This announcement does however leave a number of important questions unanswered and we are seeking urgent clarification from Ministers on these points. It’s important the Government set out clearly the precautionary steps they have taken in response to advice from security services to reassure passengers and the public. The Government must also work with airline operators to ensure all passengers are given the necessary information and flights can continue where appropriate with as minimal disruption as possible.”

 

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