Julie Johnson: we’re fighting for our fair share

Julie JohnsonI’ve lived in Birmingham since 2006 and l have been your local Labour Councillor in Weoley since being elected in 2016. I work in Birmingham City Centre for the Civil Service.

I’m extremely proud to be Labour’s candidate for the new ward of Weoley and Selly Oak standing for re-election.

I am proud to have been part of local organisations/committees such as:

  • Weoley Festival
  • We Love Weoley
  • Director of Northfield BID — representing Weoley Ward
  • Committee member of Schools, Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee

In the last two years as your local Councillor, l have met lots of residents in the Ward and at local advice surgeries — not just during the election period. People in this area have suffered greatly from the Tory Government‘s cuts in benefits and the recent roll-out of Universal Credits and life is a struggle for many.

We have a wonderful community in Weoley and this was great to see at the last two Weoley Festivals where the community all came together. We successfully allocated our Ward’s £48,000 Local Innovation Funding to fantastic local organisations.

Birmingham has lost more than £650m in government funding since 2010, with more cuts this year. Tory Councillors in Birmingham keep blaming the Labour leadership of our Council, but it‘s their government that is to blame, and they have no real idea about the day-to-day struggles that many face.

We pay our share of the government‘s taxes and as a city for Birmingham‘s fair share of national spending. It’s not acceptable that parts of the country which are better off are treated more favourably.

I want everyone to receive the best services possible in our community. Our elderly people should be receiving the right support services and should feel valued and feel safe, and our young parents should be receiving improving support services. They too need to feel they are part of a community that cares. We need to meet the economic crisis by creating jobs and creating affordable housing, by making sure we have strong local communities, helping each other.

All these things are important, but we cannot escape the big picture. The Tories are starving our cities, our schools, our police and fire services and above all our wonderful NHS of the resources they need to be successful.

Of course the Tories just ignore the big issues and concentrate instead on lies about such things as the weekly refuse collection. We‘re pretty fed up with this lie in particular. Let us be clear — the bins will continue to be emptied every week. We will also continue to improve the amount we recycle.

I hope that you will put your trust in me and re-elect me and Tristan Chatfield for Weoley and Selly 0ak on Thursday 3rd May.

Tristan Chatfield: don’t listen to Birmingham’s detractors

Tristan ChatfieldI moved to Birmingham for work purposes back in 2005 , since when I have brought up my family here and become a proud adopted Brummie. I want this city to be the best it can be and that means delivering on Labour’s promise to ‘Build a Better Birmingham’.

The Labour Party in Birmingham has put forward a radical manifesto, including:

  • commitments to build thousands of new homes, continuing our record of being one of the few local authorities in the UK to be building substantial quantities of council housing;
  • the introduction of a licence scheme for private landlords to try and control some of the negative impacts that rogue landlords have on tenants and neighbours;
  • investment in jobs and skills to create a city full of good jobs for local people.

Labour in Birmingham is also committed to keeping weekly bin collections, despite the rumours being spread about by the Conservatives to the contrary.

I have been fortunate enough to have served on the City Council since 2012 and in that time we have seen savage cuts handed down to us by central government. Despite this, the Labour administration has managed to keep Weoley Castle Library open and build a new modern leisure centre in Northfield. Work has also just started on the new cycle super highway up the Bristol Road.

We also successfully secured the 2022 Commonwealth Games for Birmingham, a huge opportunity to put us on the international map and give young people a chance to develop vital skills.

On a personal level, during my time as cabinet member for Community Safety and Equalities I was delighted to be able to scrap the fees on child burials and cremations, showing that we in Birmingham can lead the way whilst the government dithers.

If elected to represent the new Weoley and Selly Oak ward, I will campaign on the issues that matter to local people. That means:

  • fighting to keep our parks and green spaces clean, it means standing up to Amey, the city council highways contractors, over the poor state of our roads and
  • fighting to ensure our schools get a fairer funding settlement from government.

The city’s detractors both here and nationally would have us believe that Birmingham is mired in problems. Like any large city, we have our challenges, but I am immensely proud of Birmingham and its people.

It would be a great honour to represent Weoley and Selly Oak in the council and I therefore hope that local people will put their faith in me and Julie Johnson as the Labour candidates on Thursday 3rd May so that we can help deliver a fairer, more prosperous and greener city.