News that the Birmingham City Council will rebuild Northfield Pool and Leisure Centre on the existing site puts an end to months of speculation following last year’s public consultation on the issue. You can read some of the background to the issue here.
During that consultation, many residents and traders emphasised the importance of retaining a central Northfield location for the new leisure centre to replace the existing pool, which is now reaching the end of its life. This decision achieves that. After looking at the costs involved, the City Council have concluded that it would not be financially viable to try to redevelop another part of central Northfield (such as Price’s Square) to house the new pool. Alternative locations such as Longbridge also did not stack up financially.
This week, on World Cancer Day, we heard that half of the UK population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
That is a staggering figure. And it is a reminder of why can never stop campaigning to save the lives of more cancer patients. There are over 1600 cancer cases diagnosed in the Northfield are every year, and sadly over 800 deaths from cancer in our local area too.
It’s two weeks into the New Year and we’re at the point where many of us forget about our resolution of shedding a couple of pounds. With that in mind, this week is National Obesity Awareness Week.
Almost a quarter of children in Birmingham (23.4%) are classified as obese, compared with 10.1% nationally. Meanwhile the number of recorded cases of diabetes is double the UK average, affecting almost 8% of Brummies compared to a 3.5% national average.
I know how much local people value our NHS. Sixty six years after the then Labour government created it, the principle that everyone – rich or poor, man, woman or child – can use any part of our health service is more important than ever. But during this parliament it has undergone huge and damaging changes. £3 billion has been wasted on a top-down reorganisation that the Conservatives promised wouldn’t happen. Over 4,000 NHS staff have been laid off and then rehired, many on six-figure salaries.
Now more than ever we need action to save our NHS. Many local people have written to me about Clive Efford’s Private Member’s Bill, which would give MPs an opportunity to repeal the damaging competition rules that the Conservative-led government have inflicted on the NHS. The Bill would rewrite the rules that force market tendering of services – which are resulting in millions of pounds being spent on competition lawyers, rather than on patients. Read more
With prices rising faster than wages, the last few years have been tough for public sector workers – including those in the NHS, who work incredibly hard, and often in challenging circumstances. It is a scandal that this Government went against the advice of the NHS Pay Review Body. George Osborne has broken his promise that there would be a 1% rise in public sector pay until 2015.
If the Government had not wasted £3 billion on an unnecessary top-down re-organisation that nobody wanted, the NHS would have be in a much better financial position than it was today. Instead, David Cameron’s costly reforms have resulted in six figure pay offs for thousands of senior managers and pay cuts for nurses.
Labour has pledged a new £2.5 billion fund to give NHS staff the time they need to care. And with 4.8 million workers in the country currently not being paid enough to get by, we are supporting the principle of a living wage too. Our NHS workers deserve to be properly rewarded for the vital work they do.