May Parliamentary Newsletter


RB Newsletter header3Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter. This covers some of the most local issues and developments as well as my actions in Parliament. This includes my EU survey, local boundary changes as well as updates on North Worcestershire Golf Course and Starbucks Drive-In.

In Birmingham Northfield

Elections Roundup

The local elections on 5th May saw a clean sweep for Labour across the four wards in the Northfield constituency. Labour held Longbridge, Kings Norton and Northfield wards and gained Weoley from the Conservatives as Julie Johnson became the new councillor. Well done to the entire Labour team who made this happen. Congratulations also to Councillors Brett O’Reilly, Carole Griffiths, Val Seabright and Julie Johnson. Most of all, though, thank you to the people of Northfield for your confidence and support and all those who voted.

EU Survey – Let me know what you think

On 23rd June, every one of us will have the chance to decide for ourselves whether to case our votes on Britain remaining in or leaving the European Union. It is a big decision and a tough one. Like you, I have one vote and will vote for what I, as an individual, think is right for the future of our country. As your MP, though, I want to know what you think and to do what I can to help you cut through the fog to make the decision you think is right. That is important whether or not you reach the same conclusion as I do. As such, I’m asking all of you to fill out my short survey on the EU.

I’m also hosting a community meeting so I can listen to your thoughts and talk openly and frankly about the choice we have to make. This will be on Monday 6th June at Northfield Methodist Church, Chatham Road, B31 2PH. If you would like to attend, please email me at or call 0207 219 2318.

Local Boundary Changes
The Boundary Commission’s new proposals for Birmingham were published earlier this month. Fortunately, they seem to have listened to arguments put forward by me, the Northfield Labour Party and a range of local groups. We had argued that there should be new proposed ward names which are much more representative of local communities than the initial suggestions. There is now a further period of consultation on all the proposals and I am keen to hear your views. You can see the proposals and have your say here.

BBC in Birmingham
This month it was announced that the BBC would be expanding the scope and scale of its digital operations in Birmingham. This is great news and the focus on young people through BBC Three is particularly encouraging. However, after so many years of underinvestment in our city by the BBC, more still needs to be done to ensure the Midlands gets its fair share in future.

Before the announcement, myself and my colleague for Selly Oak, Steve McCabe MP, raised these issues in the House of Commons. I also suggested that moving the Channel 4 headquarters to Birmingham would be a forward-looking step. You can watch that here.

Update: North Worcestershire Golf Course
Bloor Homes have now submitted their formal Planning Application to build on NWGC. The application requests permission to demolish the club house and includes proposals for up to 1,000 homes, a primary school, public open space and a multi-use community hub building.

However, as I have previously outlined, Birmingham City Council’s current planning framework precluding building on the golf course and the government’s own planning inspectorate recently confirmed that they had seen no evidence that would justify a change in that policy. You can see the details of the proposals and make your own views known on the Birmingham Council website. I would encourage all local residents to do so.

Many people have rightly been concerned about the security of the site during this period of consideration. I’ve been working to clarify who is responsible and how concerns can be shared. I have posted an update about this on my website here.

Update: Starbucks Drive-In
As many of you are aware, there is a proposal for a Starbucks drive-in on the corner of Sir Herbert Austin Way and Vineyard Road. The application was temporarily withdrawn while they reconsidered the details of access arrangements and entrance locations. I met with the representatives last month and shared the concerns of people from the local area. The application has now been resubmitted to Birmingham City Council, including a commitment to help schools with peak traffic and pedestrian movements, confirming non 24 hour opening and restricting deliveries to avoid peak school times.

You can see the details of the application and provide feedback here. You can also get in touch with the new local Councillor, Julie Johnson.

Birmingham Children’s Services
Like people across Birmingham and beyond, I was shocked by the brutal murder of toddler, Shi-Anne “Keegan” Downer in my constituency. It was right that her guardian, Kandyce Downer, received a life sentence. The Serious Case review must now get to the bottom of what happened and I also think there needs to be a review of the way Special Guardianship Orders work.

Last week Channel 4 featured problems at Birmingham Children’s Services department on its Dispatches programme. Given the seriousness of the issues involved, however, I know I was not alone in finding it both superficial and amateurish in its approach. This article in Community Care magazinemakes the point well.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council has proposed to transfer responsibility for children’s services to a trust. Whether this is the right solution remains to be seen and I will be talking to the Council about it. Either way, the key thing is to do whatever is necessary to keep children safe. There are lessons to be learned for the City Council, the Government, for families and for friends and neighbours of vulnerable children too.


In Parliament

You can see all my recent contributions in Parliament here. I’ve recently spoken about the BBC and the Border Force budget. As Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, I have also been challenging the government on a number of transport-related issues, including aircraft noise and the safety risk of drones.

I recently joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport. This week I attended the group’s inaugural AGM. The aim of this is to tackle the under-representation of women in the transport industry – currently women are only 18% of the workforce.

You can keep track of my written questions to the government here.

Animal Welfare

Last week I sent out my latest Animal Welfare Round-Up. A number of constituents had been in touch about bees and the use of pesticides as well as the government’s position on the animal welfare codes. I have put questions and written to the government about these issues on behalf of constituents. To find out more, see my website. I also wrote an article about the EU’s impact on animal welfare.


And Finally…

Advice Desks and Contacting Me

As your local MP, I am always keen to hear your views on issues that concern you. Along with my local constituency team, I am also here to help with any problems. I run regular advice desks across the constituency so that you can come and speak to me about any issues. We can normally help without you having to wait for the next advice desk, but if you think we might be able to help – or if you want to let me know about your views on an issue – please get in touch.

To book an advice desk appointment, please call 0121 459 7804. To let me know your thoughts on any issues, please email

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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.

Get in touch

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