As Parliament breaks for summer recess it’s certainly not been a quite couple of months. This months update contains updates on the recent fire at Northfield Manor, the sad passing of former Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones and the election for his successor, and the choice over the future of Northfield’s leisure facilities.
In towns and cities across the world – including here in Birmingham – people are speaking out against the carnage taking place in Gaza. The number of local people that have written to me calling on the UK Government to take action to stop the devastating cycle of violence has been striking. More and more people are saying that the status quo in Israel and Palestine just cannot continue if peace is ever to be achieved.
But we have had some better local news this summer too. From an £8 million investment in transport improvements for Longbridge, to new investment in local leisure facilities and the outstanding success of this year’s Northfield Beach, the sun has certainly been out in South West Birmingham recently!
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A new Pool and Leisure Centre for Northfield. Local consultation meeting with underlines the Choice: Investment by Labour or more dither as Tories refuse to face up to their legacy of eight years of neglect. Read the 10 messages I have taken from this week’s meeting.
This morning I went along to the scene of last night’s fire at Northfield Manor. It was so sad to see the former family home of the Cadburys charred and smouldering. Fire crews were still on site, dousing down the remaining hotspots and working with engineers from the City Council to identify what urgent work needed to be done to make the site safe. Outside, and on nearby roads, police officers were making door to door enquiries about arson as a likely cause of the blaze.
West Midlands Fire Service had done a superb job overnight. 20 fire engines and one hundred fire fighters had already been on the site, and I arrived just as the shift was changing. There is a lot of damage but the good news is that, as a result of the fire fighters’ efforts, the signs today are that the building can be saved for the future. Urgent safety concerns mean that some parts of it – particularly around the chimneys – will need to be secured or taken down straight away. Even there, though, with time and money, restoration should still be possible.
Just three years ago David Cameron praised the SWEET Project for their work in protecting children and families in South West Birmingham, and providing students with practical experience needed for social work. The organisation has helped train over 400 students from 26 universities from across the UK. But now the Government’s rushed cuts to social work education are putting that at risk.
On 17 July 2014 there was a backbench debate on the current situation in the Middle East in the House of Commons. Given the number of constituents who have written to me about what is is going on in Gaza I wanted to share the speech I gave that afternoon.