My Christmas Message


2013 has flown by, and it’s been quite a year.

The economy has finally started to show signs of life again. But sadly the effects of that aren’t being felt by millions of people suffering from the cost-of-living-crisis. I know that, for some local people, the Christmas season will be affected by fears about the rising cost of household bills.  That is why, along with other Labour MPs from the West Midlands, I have been pressing the Government to take decisive action on the cost of gas and electricity so that everyone can enjoy the warm and happy Christmas day they deserve. Only a price freeze will do.

For me personally, 2013 has brought important changes – particularly since my appointment as a Shadow Transport Minister in October. I look forward to working with the Labour Transport team in the years to come as we tackle the rising costs of fares, improve our road and rail infrastructure, boost healthy and sustainable methods of travel like walking and cycling, and give people access to jobs and opportunities.

People in the West Midlands know how important this is. While unemployment may be falling elsewhere, Birmingham now has more homes without work than almost anywhere else in Britain and the number of young people without jobs is simply unacceptable. That’s why another important milestone for me this year was launching the Climb Project for South West Birmingham.

“Climb” is about celebrating the unique combination of our area’s manufacturing heritage and our location as a bridge between the city and the Lickey, Waseley and Clent Hills – some of the most beautiful parts of our region. It’s about building on that heritage and location to press for action on jobs, skills and opportunity for local people. We want to get local businesses better networked together, secure improved transport links and ensure that both local and national Government addresses our area’s needs. We have already had good support from local businesses and community groups, from Bournville College to Birmingham City Council, who will both be hosting a Climb Jobs Fair in February 2014.

I’d like to wish all my constituents and everyone in the West Midlands both a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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