Like so many other people who live in Birmingham, I and my family have been experiencing problems with missed bin collections, with overflowing wheelie bins left uncollected or picked up days late for a number of weeks now.
As an MP I have also been inundated with calls and e-mails from residents who have been going through the same thing. According to a report in the Birmingham Mail this week, the number of missed collections has soared by 5,000 a week since the start of the present industrial dispute between Birmingham City Council and unions representing bin crews.
The council has set up a web link on which people can report missed collections here: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/…/report_a_missed_bin_or_sack…
Every time a resident contacts my office with details of where collections have been missed, we also report this to the council and ask them to go out to pick up the rubbish as soon as possible.
None of this, of course, means the problem goes away and it is clear that a long term solution requires a resolution of the current dispute. Obviously, not being a party to the dispute, neither I nor any of my Birmingham Labour MP colleagues have it in our power to solve it directly. What I can tell you is that, between us, we are in touch with both the city council and the unions to emphasise the importance of bringing the dispute to an end as soon as possible.
This week I raised this issue with the Government. As many constituents will personally know, this has been a persistent problem across the constituency in recent months. You can see my question and the Government’s response here:
Many of you will have seen an increase in the number of travellers in areas of the constituency in recent months, often accompanied by anti-social behaviour and unauthorised encampments. These encampments can create huge amounts of mess and result in local residents being threatened with verbal and other abuse. This is not acceptable.
In the last week we have seen a new encampment on West Heath Park and today another in Kings Norton. I have been assured that the encampment on West Heath Park will be evicted tomorrow. Each time an encampment is brought to my attention I have got on to both the Council and, where crime and/or anti-social behaviour is reported, to the Police, to press for them to use the powers available to them to move the encampments on.
Too often the police and council undertake evictions, only for travellers to pop up 5 minutes down the road. That is why I am pressing the Council and Police to jointly review their responses over recent months and to consider whether a more strategic approach could secure better long term results.
In the meantime, however, remember that the Police can only act if incidents are reported to them. So if you see any violent, anti-social or threatening behaviour please do contact the police as quickly as possible on 101.
This Friday marks one year since my friend Jo Cox MP was murdered. Across the country this weekend millions of people will be remembering Jo’s life and work in street parties and other community events. These will all be demonstrating in practice the integrity and words that will forever be associated with Jo, ‘we have more in common than that which divides us.’
Northfield Arts Forum are organising a local Great Get Together this Saturday 17th June on Weoley Castle Square between 10.00 and 14.00. See the advert below.
If you can come, it would be great to see you there.
You can see more information about the Great Get Together here.
You can see my interview after the result here, where I talked about the need for a new approach to politics with greater co-operation and less confrontation.