A resident living close to North Worcestershire Golf Course wrote to me last week to tell me that he had seen a copy of a recent letter from the Management Committee of the Club saying that they intend to close the Club with effect from March 2016.
The resident who wrote to me asked if this meant that the land at the Golf Course will definitely now be redeveloped for housing. This does not automatically follow and I thought it would be useful to update residents generally via Facebook with my understanding of the current position.
Last month a large gathering of Labour Party Members and Supporters met to review the lessons of the recent elections, and to work out how best we can move forward.
Before we broke into four workshops (see below), I opened the event with some personal reflections on the election and on the future. Read my notes here.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the Northfield constituency has the worst record in the country for low pay.
Over 50% of people in this area are paid less than the living wage of £7.85 an hour – reaching up to 63.1% for women. As I said at the time, it is an absolute scandal that over half of local working people are not being paid enough to provide properly for themselves and their families. There is no doubt that the Conservative-led Government’s attempt to build an economy based on low pay and insecurity has hit areas like Northfield hard. However, the fact that our community has been hit so particularly hard is also about long term changes and challenges facing communities on the outskirts of Britain’s big cities.
Rachel has two children, aged 4 and 10. She is a care worker on the minimum wage. She recently had her hours cut and is now losing tax credits too. She is also being asked to pay £14 per week Bedroom Tax. It’s difficult for her to make ends meet.
Anne Marie, from Frankley, is also being charged Bedroom Tax since her marriage split up and her son left home. She is disabled. Her case exposes the hollowness of Tory claims that the Bedroom Tax does not hit people with disabilities. My office has been making representations on her behalf and she is getting some discretionary help from the Council. But this is short term and she does not know what the future will bring.
Since December my diary, and my mind, have been rather occupied with the Government’s “Infrastructure Bill.” This might sound rather technical. But I know from the number of local people who have contacted me about the various issues covered from the Bill – from fracking to cycling and the Highways Agency – that it is hugely important.
So although it has been hard work, and it has taken a considerable amount of hours to prepare for facing the Government at the despatch box and debate proposals in ‘Committee’, it has been a real privilege to lead the Labour Party’s scrutiny of this Bill.