Statement to voters
I am an elected councillor for Chelmsley Wood, and Leader of the Official Opposition on Solihull Council. I am also a social worker and a small business owner.
I am standing for mayor because I do not think the current plans of the new West Midlands Authority are good enough. We need to do far more to make sure the authority listens to and benefits ordinary people, and that'll be my focus as mayor.
At the moment, over half of all children in the West Midlands do not have a socially acceptable standard of living. We see the same areas struggling that were struggling 25 years ago. We need a new economic plan to sort this out, not just a few tweaks. We need a resolute focus on dealing with poverty and making sure no-one is left behind. We need to invest in West Midlands businesses, in creating jobs people can build a life on, concentrate on keeping money spent in the West Midlands in the West Midlands, and to directly invest in the weaker local economy areas particularly through high-demand areas where we have a competitive edge, like low carbon manufacturing.
On voting day in London you get two ballot papers. One for the mayor, and one to elect an assembly to hold that mayor to account and to speak up for every area and group of Londoners. In the West Midlands, you aren’t being given a vote for an assembly. Instead, we have one committee, made up of colleagues of the people running the new Authority (who are almost all older white men) meeting a handful of times a year. Opposition parties have been shut out, as have small businesses, the community and voluntary groups.
We urgently need action to make this new Authority something people feel part of, that they can influence, and that they have control over. Committees in the House of Commons and House of Lords have both criticised the Authority for a lack of transparency, openness and engagement, and it’s time this changed. I want to champion new ways of involving everyone in their authority, helping them feel they have control over their lives again and that the authority is making decisions that benefit ordinary people.
The Gren Party has a bold, positive vision for a different kind of West Midlands, and can deliver a real alternative to the politics of the past. A politics that's less about shouting and behaving like children, and more about listening, respect, and recognising we make better decisions when we include everyone's voice.
The West Midlands Combined Authority and the mayor should work to make lives better in the West Midlands. If they don’t, they don’t deserve to exist. I will commit to measuring well-being across the West Midlands, particularly for disadvantaged groups, and to showing how things are changing for the better. I will stand up to the politics of hatred and division that is scarring our communities, and speak out for the need to protect our environment as we develop our economy.
This statement was added by James Burn, their team, or by a Democracy Club volunteer, based on information published by the candidate elsewhere.
This candidate has previously stood for election in:
- 2018: The Solihull local election, as the Green Party candidate for the Chelmsley Wood
- 2017: The 2017 West Midlands mayoral election, as the Green Party candidate for the West Midlands Combined Authority
- 2010: The 2010 General Election, as the Green Party candidate for the Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Selly Oak
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