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Articles about ‘West Midlands’

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.”

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.

February/March Newsletter

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Birmingham Northfield

North Worcestershire Golf Course

Residents living close to North Worcestershire Golf Course will know that at the end of February, Bloor Homes withdrew their planning application to build on the golf course. However they have now said they will be submitting new proposals shortly. In their latest notice they have said their new proposals are aiming “to address the concerns raised during the determination period. The amount of housing has been reduced and additional public space is now proposed.”

Locally, there has long been widespread opposition to building on the Golf Course and this has been reflected in cross party opposition amongst elected representatives of the area too. The City Council’s current Planning framework also opposes redevelopment and, had Bloor proceeded with their recent application, Planning officers were recommending refusal by the Council’s Planning Committee. Last year, the Government’s Planning Inspector also reviewed the overall Plan or Birmingham and also said he was not persuaded of the case to overrule the City Council’s policy in opposition to building on the site.

Bloor Homes are hosting a public consultation event next week. I would encourage local residents to go along and let Bloor know your views. Details here: Thursday 16th March, 1pm-7:30pm, Hollymoor Community Centre, 8 Manor Park Grove, B31 5ER.

Schools Funding

The news that we feared from the Government has been confirmed, Birmingham schools are set to lose a staggering £20m Read more

Statement on Serious Case Review of Shi-Anne Downer’s Case

The results of the Serious Case Review confirms some of my worst fears about the background to Shi-Anne Downer’s brutal murder in my constituency.

Kandyce Downer should never have been awarded a Special Guardianship Order to care for Shi-Anne and there was little or no professional supervision of what life for her looked like in practice after the Order was granted. The result was tragedy.

Even though the Review concludes that Shi-Anne’s murder could not have been predicted, the message I take from this report is that it could have been prevented if the system had worked as it should.

I am glad there has been a review of how Special Guardianship Orders are considered and approved and it is good that Birmingham Children’s Services have made significant changes to the way they do things. They must keep the changes they make under regular review to make sure that best practice is followed to make sure the safety of children is always paramount.  Shi-Anne’s life should never have been “invisible to professionals” as the Serious Case Review says it was. No other child in a similar situation should be invisible in future.

None of this can bring back Shi-Anne or take away the pain of those who loved her. But all agencies must be determined to prevent a tragedy like this happening again.

 

More information about the Review is available to read from the Birmingham Mail here and from the BBC here.