Events yesterday suggest Tory Ministers are even more like buses than I first thought..
The other week, I commented on the fact that you rarely see a Tory Government Minister in Northfield until there is an election in the air. Then they all seem to arrive at once. Like buses.
I have now discovered that they are even more like a badly-run bus company than I first thought. It’s not just that Ministers don’t seem to understand timetables. They apparently haven’t even quite grasped the difference between the past and the future.
On Monday 23 February, as part of Fair Pay Fortnight, the Trades Union Congress published statistics by parliamentary constituency on the living wage. The TUC’s analysis shows that nationally one in five jobs pays under the living wage – which is currently set at £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the rest of Britain.
But the national average does not tell the whole story. The figures show that in parts of Britain less than half of jobs are paying a living wage. And they show that Birmingham Northfield tops the TUC’s list of ‘Living Wage Blackspots’ – with 53.4 per cent of people working here earning less than £7.85 an hour.
This is a shocking revelation about what work pays under David Cameron.
A few weeks ago we saw the publication of an ambitious new report looking into how digital technology can help shape the future UK politics.
The Commission was ground-breaking in a number of ways and its’ conclusions are broad and ambitious. I would encourage anyone interested to read it via their impressive interactive website. I also wanted to offer a few thoughts on the five key recommendations they highlighted around digital technology and politics.
In my experience, people in this area don’t like Conservative Ministers making flag waving visits whose purpose is only to promote their local Party cheerleaders, not to face up to the problems their policies are causing to real people locally.
We’ve seen quite a few ministers descending on Northfield like this recently.
Only this week we have seen the Prime Minister himself boasting that four local schools will get building work done under his “Priority Schools Building Programme” (PSBP).
Birmingham MPs were active in the Commons yesterday on behalf of our City. I raised the issue of school crossing patrols and the unfair financial settlement being imposed on Birmingham by the Conservative Government. Gisela Stuart from Edgbaston called for a radical overhaul of the way local government is treated so Birmingham can better meet the challenges and opportunities our City faces. As Shadow Police Minister, Jack Dromey took apart the Government’s treatment of our police services- a theme also taken up by Steve McCabe from Selly Oak.