Council Leader John Clancy launches Julie’s campaign

SteveBJohnCJulieJThe new Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr John Clancy, set out his economic vision for Birmingham at Weoley’s meeting last night and launched Julie Johnson’s official campaign to win in Weoley again this May.

Birmingham has been grossly unfairly targeted by the Tory government. They’ve cut our budget much more than other areas, but, despite this, Labour in Birmingham has been able to defend many local services and even build 1,000 new council homes.

Cllr Clancy warned Weoley Labour members that the Tories are “dismantling the welfare state before our very eyes”, but, referring to his “budget for change”, he reaffirmed his promise to protect Labour values by investing in children’s social care, increasing the wages of low-paid careworkers and providing free school meals for all Birmingham children, while ruling out any question of introducing a congestion charge in Birmingham city centre.

Cllr Clancy committed the council to keep building new homes and to devolving more decision-making power to local areas, saying that electing Julie as Labour’s second councillor in Weoley will give Weoley residents a say in the future of jobs and services in Birmingham.

Following Cllr Clancy’s endorsement, Julie Johnson said, “Here in Weoley, Labour Party members are simply fed up with endless Tory government cuts in services. We meet people all the time who are unable to cope and we are determined to give people practical help. In short, if the government won’t help people, then we will.”


Weoley selects Julie Johnson for 2016

Julie JohnsonLabour members in Weoley voted overwhelmingly to select Julie Johnson as their candidate for the council elections in May 2016.

Julie said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be representing Labour in Weoley and I’m very proud that I have the opportunity to develop strong links within the community.

“I’ll be meeting as many people as possible during my visits to community events and to our local schools during our campaign – and knocking on doors, of course!

“Since he was elected, Steve Booton has done a terrific job. Weoley now needs a second Labour councillor to add to the work he’s done and I’m the woman for that job!”

Steve Booton election 2015

I have campaigned tirelessly in Weoley since 2011. I am committed to the people here having the rights they are entitled to. A local Councillor’s ability to improve the lives of residents and local people is governed both by national policies, as well as his or her commitment to local constituents.

Unfortunately, the current three local Tory Councillors have failed to stand up for the people of Weoley and Birmingham. They have actively supported vicious and unfair Tory-led Government cuts to Birmingham Council’s budget, affecting our services and our jobs.

Local Tories have openly supported the bedroom tax and have publicly declared that foodbanks are for “people who cannot manage their money or cook!” The Tory Councillors’ idea of representing the people of Weoley is to pick up litter and clean road signs!

Over the last four years, I have represented people in Court threatened with eviction because of the Bedroom Tax. I have helped families to be rehoused in Weoley because of the housing shortage created by the lack of house-building programmes. I have raised money for a local foodbank, although I think foodbanks are a national disgrace in 21stcentury Britain. I know that foodbanks help not just those on out-of-work benefits, but also many working families on such low wages that they have no money left for food after rent, heating and water bills are paid. I am proud to represent the Labour Party, which will get rid of the Bedroom Tax and zero-hours contracts and raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour.

Along with Richard Burden, my team of Weoley volunteers and I are organising a campaign with local residents, Centro and Birmingham bus companies to improve local services and instate traffic-calming measures in Gregory Avenue. We set up a Community Hub in Weoley Castle along with local churches to work in partnership to sustain and improve support services for young parents and elderly residents. I hold a monthly advice surgery in St Gabriel’s Church, dealing with individual residents’ issues.

As a tenant adviser, I have over 20 years’ experience of building partnerships between different agencies and local communities across the country. This involves consulting local communities, helping people to organise so they have a voice, representing individual housing cases and dealing with wider neighbourhood issues such as antisocial behaviour.

I am not only willing to fight for people’s jobs, wages and services, but for their right to be governed by a party that cares for working families rather than rich millionaires (many of whom are private landlords raking in housing benefits on overpriced and under-repaired properties!).

The people of Weoley deserve better – they deserve affordable, well-managed houses; good schools for their children; proper healthcare; a living wage; and care for the elderly and vulnerable in the community. That’s why a vote for me is a vote for a better future for every family living in Weoley.

On the 7th of May, a vote for Steve Booton is a vote for working families.

Weoley has a straight choice – protecting local services or the bedroom tax and savage cuts

Steve BootonUntil we get rid of the Tory Government in 2015, we have to stand together to fight unfair cuts and protect the vulnerable and young as best we can.

This Government has proved itself to be a Party of freeloading millionaires giving tax breaks to the rich while the least well off in our society are made to pay for the crisis created by their friends in the banking world.

People in Birmingham have been especially victimised. The average cutback in Birmingham is £149 per person, more than double compared to the national average of £74 in the rest of the country.

People in Weoley have suffered because of cuts in jobs, benefits and cruel legislation such as the Bedroom Tax that has made the lives of ordinary people, particularly the elderly and disabled, a misery.

It is typical of local Tory Councillors in Weoley to blame Birmingham City Council for the financial dilemma produced by their very own silver-spoon Cameron, who hasn’t got the first idea of what ordinary people’s lives are really like.

What we need to meet the economic crisis is not redundancies and cuts, it is jobs, training, affordable houses, strong local communities and businesses and proper apprenticeships for our young people.

For the last three years, I have been campaigning on behalf of the people of Weoley. I meet people every Saturday morning outside the Co-op on the Square. I have knocked doors and talked to those who work full time yet are forced to use foodbanks; to those struggling to pay rip-off fuel bills; to young people despairing about their future, and to young parents wondering what the future holds for their children.

With the help of our Labour MP, Richard Burden, I have worked to resolve hundreds of cases of unfairness and injustice. I’m proud to be a long-standing member of the Labour Party because Labour is the only Party that will fight for ordinary people’s rights to a living wage, future prospects, a secure and affordable home, and a decent quality of life for everybody.

When the present Tory Councillor was Chair of the Planning Committee, permission was granted for the building of the new Asda store that is now ripping the heart out of Weoley’s small businesses and community life. If I sat on the Planning Committee it would be to bring more houses and jobs to Weoley, not profit to greedy multinational companies!

The election on Thursday offers the people of Weoley a straight choice between a Labour candidate doing everything in his power to protect local services and a Tory candidate who is on record as supporting the Bedroom Tax and savage cuts to Birmingham’s budget.


The truth about green waste

Green waste - the truthLike everyone else living in Birmingham, Labour believes that the green waste collection is an important service and we would love to keep it free. We understand the concerns being expressed across the city.

The Tory/Lib Dem government has slashed Birmingham’s funding by a massive two thirds. Imagine if you earned £18,000 a year and your wages were cut to £6,000. Wouldn’t that change everything about your life? That’s what has happened to Birmingham.

Hard choices

This means that Birmingham has to lose many valued services – like the free green waste collection. The bitter alternative would be to cut precious services for vulnerable elderly people and local children. We know that there have been problems with implementation and we are working round the clock to get it right, but these new charges are happening because of Cameron and Clegg’s decisions in Westminster – faithfully supported by local Tory and Lib Dem councillors and MPs, the very people who are now crying crocodile tears about cuts.


We are used to the hypocrisy of the Tories and Lib Dems, especially when it comes to standing up for the wrong people:

  • On the same day they condemned more than 13,000 disabled, sick and vulnerable people in Birmingham to the bedroom tax, they gave a tax cut of £100,000 to millionaires so that they can have as many bedrooms as they like.
  • ‘We will look after the vulnerable,’ they said. Yet disabled people in poverty are bearing the brunt of the national cuts, losing an average £4,660 per year.
  • ‘We will protect front-line policing,’ they said. Yet 15,000 police officers have been cut, 1,171 in the West Midlands, the region the hardest hit.
  • ‘We will make it easier for parents to balance childcare with work,’ they said. And then? They voted against extending free nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds from 15 to 25 hours a week.

Richard Burden, Northfield MP, said: “I get so angry about the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Conservatives who complain about green waste charges at the same time as cheering on the government which has put Birmingham in this position.

“Tories in this area claim Birmingham gets a good deal from their friends in Downing Street and that the council has more than enough money to go around. Not so long ago, they used to complain that Birmingham did not get enough from the last Labour Government when funding for our city was at record levels.”

The Tories and Lib Dems are against green waste charges in Birmingham where the Tories are in opposition, but they support them in nearby Bromsgrove where Tories run the council. In London, Lib Dem minister David Laws has gone so far as to suggest that councils could charge for bin collection.

Standing up for Birmingham?

They say one thing here and do the reverse in Westminster. The simple truth about Birmingham Tories and Lib Dems is that not once have they stood up and opposed what their government has done to Birmingham.

They claim to be your friend. But, if you shake their hands, you would be wise to count your fingers afterwards.



Tory swimming baths claims don’t hold water

In response to the Tory misinformation being distributed in Weoley, Brett O’Reilly, Northfield councillor, tells us about the future of Northfield swimming baths, an iconic building where many of us in Weoley first learned to swim.

‘You have to wonder why the Tories are making up stories regarding this issue. The fact is that Northfield is going to benefit from the most significant investment in leisure in over a generation.

It is extremely misleading and unhelpful to scaremonger stories that residents will have to use the new facility at the university. The aim of the new centre is to provide a facility within Northfield District that is not only fit for purpose, but will be sustainable for generations to come, not the short-sighted sticking plaster that the Tories delivered previously.

Double standards

It is extremely hypocritical of Conservative Councillors to campaign against a new facility, especially after the same model was used in Harborne under their administration: typical of the double standards that we have come to expect. Further to this, we have the Conservative constituency candidate jumping on the bandwagon with stories of the new facility being built somehow outside of the district.

We have learnt from the mistakes of the previous administration that if a facility is to be replaced, the old one needs to remain in use until the new one is ready, unlike in Harborne where people were deprived of their pool for a very long time.

Northfield not only needs a new facility (and I should know as a user of the service with my wife and daughter), but the residents of Northfield deserve a new facility. Maybe it is the case that the Tories somehow feel that Harborne was more deserving and that Northfield should make do.

  • Northfield baths opened on 8th May 1937 and were the first in Birmingham to be built solely for the purpose of recreation.
  • The building was designed by Henry Simister for the Birmingham Baths Committee. There were two pools, as there are now, with a large café overlooking.
  • The fitness suite was added in the 1980s.
  • The refurbishment in 2003 was the last major spend on the building.
  • Situated opposite the Black Horse on Bristol Road South, the building is considered a local landmark.
Reproduced from B31 Voices


Tories lack a credible policy

The cynic in me would suggest that as the Tories lack any credible policy for Birmingham, they will continue to spread lies and scaremonger about the future of services in Northfield.

The message from me as a Northfield Ward Councillor is simple: stop making things up, stop scaremongering, stop misleading the people of Northfield, and start behaving in a responsible manner and contributing to the discussion on how best to deliver the service in Northfield.

With the discussion around location and extra provision still ongoing, we could actually work cross-party to deliver a new and exciting facility for Northfield. I suspect however that devoid of any real policy, the Tories will continue to scaremonger and in so doing hope that the citizens of our community will be duped into thinking that they actually care about the services on which the majority of us rely.

I would personally welcome any comments and contributions from members of the public. Furthermore, please feel free to contact me if you would be interested in the facts, rather than the political posturing that has unfortunately blighted this most positive investment in Northfield’s Leisure provision.’

You can can contact Brett at brett.o’

You can contact Steve here.

Steve Booton is Standing Up For Birmingham

The Tory-led Government has unfairly CUT Birmingham’s funding this year by £149 per person.

The national average cut is just £45, so if all parts of the UK were having their budgets calculated fairly, Birmingham would be £79 million better off.

Next year will see a further reduction of £120 million, threatening more local services. Birmingham City Council has already had to lose 7,000 staff since the general election and more job cuts are on the way.

Weoley people can’t rely on local Tory councillors for a fair dealDespite these cuts, your Labour Council has been able to propose additional resources so they can:

  • support our hard-pressed children’s social services;
  • make sure older people being cared for is a top priority;
  • transform leisure services, including six new swimming and leisure facilities.

Steve Booton, the Labour and Co-operative Party candidate for the local election, said: “I meet people every week out and about in Weoley who are really suffering under this Government.

“The bedroom tax has pushed some into debt and others are having to fight to keep their sickness benefits.

“We’re not ‘all in this together’. The vulnerable are being targeted, while bankers still get their bonuses. We need to get together to stand up against this and that’s what Labour is doing.”

Join our Standing Up For Birmingham campaign

Use our Contacts Page, leave a comment on the form below or come and meet us outside the Co-op on the Square between 12pm and 1pm most Saturdays.

Or call Steve on 07830 945754.

New Year, new pledge

4.79 million people in the UK are paid below the living wageEvery day, Steve and the team hear or read about the concerns of ordinary hard-working people in Weoley. From the bedroom tax, gas and electricity prices and wheelie bins to jobs, pensions and housing, Steve and the Weoley team are out in the community listening and responding to the difficulties caused by the Tory austerity agenda.

As campaigning got under way for the local elections in May this year, the Tories announce yet more welfare cuts, and the middle class face a ‘crisis of confidence’ over living standards, Ed Miliband has promised to freeze energy prices, address the prospects of young people in Britain and make work pay. Not only are ordinary people feeling let down by the Tories, but the foundations of British life have all been ‘undermined’, the Labour leader said.

Steve, Ghiyas and Robbie on the stall

Steve, Ghiyas and Robbie on the stall

Steve Booton, commenting on the outlook for Weoley, said: “We regularly go out to meet the people of Weoley. We visit their homes and we hold our stall on Saturday outside the Co-op on the Square.

“Last week, most of the residents we met in Lockwood Road and on the stall were concerned about the high cost of living, the unfair central government attacks on our city’s budget and the rip-off energy prices.

“We had lots of signatures added to our petition in support of Ed Miliband’s policy of freezing energy prices for two years.”

Come and see Steve and the Weoley Labour team

Steve and the team will be talking to voters throughout the ward over the coming months and they’re outside the Co-op on the Square most Saturdays between 12 and 1. Or you can contact us as follows:

  • call Steve on 07830 945754
  • come and sign our petition to freeze energy bills at our street stall on Saturday at 12 noon outside the Co-op on Weoley Castle Square
  • go to our Contact page to send an online message

Cold comfort for 30,000 victims of the cost of keeping warm

Today’s official statistics reveal that excess winter deaths rose by almost a third in 2012/13 compared with the previous winter, while the UK’s biggest energy giants enjoyed a huge surge in profits.

The charity Age UK describes the 31,100 winter deaths as ‘shameful’ and ‘preventable’ and wants the Coalition Government to take action on energy bills so that the most vulnerable can keep themselves warm in winter.

Energy firms profits

The UK’s biggest fuel suppliers made nearly £1.3 billion during 2012/13. That figure is nearly double their 2011 profits of £681 million

Source: energy regulator Ofgem

Steve Booton, Weoley Labour candidate, has been speaking to the residents of Weoley and week in, week out they have been telling him that they are bearing the brunt of the Tory-led Coalition cuts.

Steve said, “During our street canvass last Saturday, we spoke to a disabled women who cares for her mother. She has had her disability benefit stopped while she waits for yet another Atos assessment and may face a further reduction in benefit if she has to pay the Bedroom Tax.

“On top of this, the average energy bill rose by £168 in 2012. The public are already struggling and the Big Six energy companies are bleeding them dry.

“The Tory claim that ‘We’re all in this together’ has proven cold comfort for the tens of thousands of people who were last year’s victims of the rising cost of keeping warm.”

If you have any issues you would like us to help you with or you want to meet Steve and the Weoley Labour team, you can contact us as follows:

  • call Steve on 07830 945754
  • come and sign our petition to freeze energy bills at our street stall on Saturday at 12 noon outside the Co-op on Weoley Castle Square
  • go to our Contact page to send an online message