This week, Cllr Mary Locke (left in photo) and Bournville Labour Party volunteers have been out talking to people in Cotteridge and Bournville to better understand the issues – both local and national – that local people are most concerned about.
We’re planning to be out most weeks in the run up to Christmas so that we can gather feedback from local people in Bournville, Cotteridge and Stirchley. We’ll then use this feedback to set out our priorities for the local elections in May 2018, so that we’re focusing on the issues that really matter.
Here’s some of the things we’ve learned so far.
Crime and anti-social behaviour is a growing concern
People have been telling us that they feel less safe in their local area and are concerned that crime, including violent crime, is getting worse. Many people we spoke to felt that national cuts to policing mean the police are over-stretched and struggling to meet demand.
Our MP Steve McCabe has highlighted how under the Tories West Midlands police has seen its budget decrease by 27 percent since 2010.
If elected, a Labour government in Westminster will recruit 10,000 more police officers to work on community beats, equivalent to at least one more for every neighbourhood in the country.
Cuts to public services are hitting home
Virtually everyone who spoke to had experienced first-hand the drastic cuts to public services. People were particularly concerned about the state of local schools and uncertainty over the future of Stirchley Library.
Most people we spoke to recognised that Birmingham City Council was having to make harsh cuts to local services because of funding decisions taken by the Tory government in Westminster and its austerity programme.
Local people were also concerned about the disruption caused by the recent bin strike and were keen to see the dispute settled.
Labour is committed to both balancing the books and building a country that works for the many, not the few. A Labour government will introduce a fair taxation system to ensure our public services have the resources they need.
Widespread concern over lack of progress on Brexit negotiations
On the doorstep, many people we spoke to were concerned about Brexit, regardless of whether they voted leave or remain in last year’s referendum.
People working for manufacturing companies which do business with EU countries were especially concerned about the lack of certainty over our future trading relationship with the EU and the impact leaving without a good deal could have on jobs and investment.
Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first. A Labour government in Westminster will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.