March Parliamentary Newsletter



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Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter. This covers some of the most recent developments and initiatives I have been campaigning on, including the government’s new local government rules, the No More #BrumCuts campaign and issues within my role as Shadow Transport Minister.

Please also have a look at the end of this newsletter where I’ve highlighted people campaigning and fundraising in our area.

Hoping you all had a lovely Easter break!


In Birmingham Northfield

No More #BrumCuts

nmbcIn the last couple of months, a group of West Midlands MPs, including myself, have united to launch this campaign to fight for the fair funding deal our city needs. Despite the fact that the government has begun to acknowledge the unfair nature of their funding formula, last month they announced that Birmingham would receive no short-term funding to help deal with the problem.

The government have proposed future changes to the long-term settlement, but this does nothing to combat the imminent cuts. If ministers now better understand how hard Birmingham has been hit in recent years, they need to take immediate action, not simply hope that long-term changes will save the remnants of the services that will already have been destroyed. Liam Byrne, the Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, also recently spoke about this issue and made the case for No More Brum Cuts. You can read his speech here.


North Worcestershire Golf Course Redevelopment
Along with Labour’s Longbridge and Northfield Councillors, Andy Cartwright, Jess Phillips and Brett O’Reilly, I am continuing to press for residents’ views to be heard on the redevelopment of the North Worcestershire Golf Course. On 3rd March local residents met with Bloor Homes and local councillors at the Longbridge Ward Forum. Residents attending the meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to redevelopment of the golf course.

Bloor will likely soon submit their Planning Application and have made their plans available on their website. However, the existing council policy framework precludes building on this land. I recently received a letter back from Bloor’s representatives responding to the issues raised about security. This has left a number of questions unanswered and, therefore, I have replied to emphasise the importance of publishing details of whoever will be responsible for site security. I’ll be keeping you all updated on developments through Facebook.


Starbucks Drive-Thru Proposal
As many of you will already be aware, there is a proposal for Starbucks to build a drive-thru coffee shop next to the Northfield relief road, Sir Herbert Austin Way. You can see more details about the proposal itself and the planning application on the B31 Voices website.

Julie Johnson has been coordinating with other local residents to find out what people think about the proposal and the impact it will have. She is arranging for a public meeting to discuss the issue and everybody is welcome to come along to discuss. A representative of Starbucks has been invited to attend. The event will be taking place on Thursday 7th April at 7pm in the Black Horse Pub (Bristol Road South, B31 2QT). You can get in touch with Julie at


In the News

Debate on Ethical Local Government Decisions

201603 LG EthicalOn 15th March I held a debate in Parliament about local government’s ability to decide on refusing to buy from certain companies. I called on the government to be more open about their recently announced rules which may restrict the power of local decision-making.

These rules would mean that elected local councils could lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies which may be involved in illegal settlements, the arms trade or the promotion of fossil fuels or tobacco. It seems that the government only support local decision-making when those decisions match up with what the government wants. To put these rules into context, they would have made past council actions against apartheid illegal.

These were announced last month by a government minister during a visit to Israel – without any parliamentary scrutiny or consultation with affected bodies or the public. It was only when I secured the debate that the government even bothered to address Parliament on the issue. You can read more about it in the article I wrote for the Bromsgrove Standard, which is also on my website. I will be continuing to press the government on this in the coming weeks.


British Steel – Lessons from Longbridge

The ongoing situation facing communities in Port Talbot and elsewhere in the UK over steel has led some to draw parallels with what happened in Longbridge and the collapse of MG Rover.

I have written an article on this for the New Statesman offering some lessons from Longbridge for the government over British steel, reminding them of the human cost. I also spoke about it on BBC Radio 4 PM (my interview is from 54:32 to 58:10 of the broadcast).


EU Referendum

On Saturday 19th March, I was out in Northfield with Neena Gill MEP and Labour Councillors Brett O’Reilly and Valerie Seabright to campaign for Labour In for Britain.


To keep up to date on the debate, campaign and myth-busting facts about the EU, check out Labour MEP Richard Corbett’s app.


Calling for Change

Keeping Our Motorways Moving

Last month, thousands of drivers were stuck in traffic after a collision on the M6 closed the motorway for 24 hours. It has emerged that the lengthy closure was a result of a catalogue of errors by Highways England who are responsible for our country’s major roads. Crews were stuck in traffic, fuel spills were not cleaned up quickly enough, and a lack of signs left many drivers stranded.

I have been urging the government and Highways England to get to the bottom of why this has happened. For example, why have HE not agreed a contingency plan for managing major incidents with Birmingham? The West Midlands and Labour Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, has also held a public hearing into the motorway delays.



As Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, I have also been challenging the government on a number of transport-related issues, including:


And Finally…

Local Young Dancer Seeking Sponsorship

Jamie Meah is a local 12 year-old who has been dancing since he was 6. Jamie is trying to get sponsorship to help him and his dancing partner continue working on their talent, meet the costs associated with it and so they can get to a competition in Paris later this year.

Jamie has been highly ranked in ballroom and Latin dancing. He and his partner train three days a week and all weekend as well as taking part in competitions across England and abroad. If you are interested in sponsoring Jamie, please do get in touch.


Recent Posts

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.

Get in touch

You can reach me by email at or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.