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.

Weoley win makes national headlines

Cllr Julie Johnson’s victory in ousting another Tory from Weoley made national headlines on Sky and ITV.

Sky News Political Editor Faisal Islam tweeted an ‘unexpected win’.

Weoley not only took the seat from the Tories, but were also quoted on ITV News as the first seat declared in Birmingham.

Labour have taken the Birmingham ward of Weoley from the Conservatives.

Weoley win on ITV

Julie’s victory is the second time in as many years that Weoley Labour has taken a seat from the Tories. Since 2008, Weoley Tories had held onto three seats in Birmingham City Council, until Cllr Steve Booton took a seat in the 2015 election with a majority of almost 600. Julie was up against a long-standing councillor, but still managed an emphatic win with a 182-vote majority.

What a great day…what a team

Julie and Carole Griffiths

New councillors – Julie Johnson (Weoley) and Carole Griffiths (Longbridge)

Cllr Johnson said: “This is an absolutely fantastic result.

“I want to thank the people of Weoley for placing their trust in me and I want to thank my agent and everyone on my campaign team – the number crunchers, the door knockers, the leaflet deliverers, the phone bankers and the sandwich makers – for their unstinting support and loyalty.

“I’m really looking forward to standing up for Weoley and working alongside Steve. As a united team of two, we can make changes in Weoley.”

After the years of dedicated service he put into Weoley, Steve welcomed Cllr Johnson on board, saying: “What a fantastic victory by Julie Johnson in Weoley ward. Julie put her heart and soul into this campaign, showing true grit, determination and enthusiasm.

“This has been a hard fought victory for Julie and the Labour Team in Weoley. It shows once and for all that if the Tories think they can win in Weoley by snapping selfies in front of piles of rubbish, making up stories about council services and defending a government that attacks the poor and the disabled, they can think again.”

Clean sweep

In a clean sweep across the Northfield constituency, newly elected Cllr Carole Griffiths retained Longbridge for Labour (after former Cllr Jess Phillips was elected to parliament) and Cllrs Val Seabright and Brett O’Reilly retained their seats in the Kings Norton and Northfield wards.

You can see Julie’s page on the Birmingham City Council website at www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite/weoley-councillors (to be updated).

Weoley Labour candidate Julie Johnson sets out #500words for #BrumVotes16

Vote for Julie JohnsonI’ve lived in Birmingham since 2006, and moved into my home in Northfield quite recently. I’m right on the boundary of the Weoley ward and I’ve been getting to know the area as a resident – and not just as an election candidate. I work in Birmingham City Centre for the Civil Service.

I am very proud to be Labour’s candidate for Weoley. I’ve met lots of residents, and I know that people in this area have suffered greatly from the government’s cuts in benefits, and new rules like the bedroom tax, that make life a real struggle for many. Tory Councillors in Weoley 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 of us have to face. George Osborne’s budgets are a constant reminder of more cuts – not just to our own income but to the wonderful services we all rely on – our police, our NHS, emergency services and public sector workers.

I have a keen and active interest in community safety and preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. I want to see more police on our streets and for us all to feel safe in the community where we live, secure in own homes. I want everyone to receive the best services possible in the 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, we are helping each other.

We hear almost daily about cuts and in Birmingham we have been targeted by central government with cuts that are disproportionate and totally unfair. But Labour is determined to defend services like free school meals, and we’re committed to building more new council houses.

Weoley needs another Labour Councillor – I will listen, help and take action so that we can all live in a community to be proud of – and I will continue to fight against unfair cuts.

I look forward to working with you all to help make Weoley an even better place to be.

Starbucks withdraw after failure to answer residents’ concerns

In a surprising turnaround, Starbucks have withdrawn their application to build a drive-through coffee shop in Weoley following Julie Johnson’s public meeting earlier this month.

Julie Johnson with Cllr Andy Cartwright

I’m so proud to have played a part in giving the people of Weoley this platform to get their voices heard

Starbucks failed to send a representative to provide any answers to local residents’ concerns about increased traffic flow and other key safety factors, including on-street parking, additional pollution, and the potential for late night anti-social behaviour.

Julie also highlighted local Tories’ mistaken claims that thirty jobs would be created, pointing out that the coffee shop had forecast only ten full-time and ten part-time jobs.

Julie said: “I’m so proud to be able to represent the people of Weoley in the face of Starbucks’ lack of consultation.

“We welcome businesses investment in Weoley, but local parents, teachers and neighbours refuse to accept that it should be at the expense of their children’s safety. The proposed site on a busy corner near the Bellfield schools is not appropriate for the type of business Starbucks want to use it for.

“Local residents were excited about Starbucks’ drive-through coffee shop innovation, along with the promised jobs, but felt another more suitable site in the Weoley ward should be sought.

“We congratulate Starbucks for listening to our concerns and and responding to our wishes. We wish them well and look forward to working with them in their future ventures.”



Birmingham City Council notified Julie that
Starbucks had withdrawn their application

For more information on this story, click here.

Starbucks no-show in Weoley consultation

Julie Johnson with Cllr Andy Cartwright

Julie Johnson with Cllr Andy Cartwright

In response to local concerns, Julie Johnson, Weoley Labour candidate, organised an open consultation meeting last week for Weoley residents affected by a recent Starbucks planning application.

The well-known coffee seller Starbucks have submitted a planning application to Birmingham City Council for a drive-through coffee shop at the junction of Sir Herbert Austin Way and Vineyard Road.

Starbucks proposed location Vineyard RoadLocal residents, teachers and parents voiced deep concerns about increased traffic flow and other key safety factors, including on-street parking in what is already a congested area during parts of the day, the additional pollution on a site adjacent to two primary schools and a children’s centre, and the potential for late night anti-social behaviour.

Julie said: “Not only have Starbucks made downward projections for jobs on this site before it’s even been approved, but my request for a site visit was refused, despite documentation offering access and a visit already having been undertaken by Cllr Freeman.”

It was acknowledged that Northfield is in great need of jobs, particularly for young people, but proposals to restrict these to local residents were dismissed as potentially contravening the Equality Act 2010 and therefore unjustifiable.

Other residents raised objections about Starbucks’ reputation for unethical tax avoidance in the UK.

Starbucks were invited to send a representative to talk to local people, but no one turned up.

The planning application documentation can be found at the City Council’s website here.

The Birmingham City Council Planning Committee is next due to meet on 28th April 2016.

Julie Johnson ‘one to watch’ in Weoley

Julie Johnson Weoley LabourWeoley features prominently at the top of the list in The Chamberlain File this week.

In his seats-to-watch piece ‘Runners & riders: 2016 council elections, candidates and analysis‘, Paul Dale says:

‘It doesn’t get much closer than two votes, and that was Conservative Eddie Freeman’s wafer-thin majority over Labour’s Steve Booton in 2012. However, Booton did win in Weoley in 2015 to give Labour one out of the three ward seats. The Tories will be fighting hard to retain this seat against Labour candidate Julie Johnson.’

We couldn’t agree more, Paul.

Cllr Booton is counting down to May 2016

Cllr SteveBJulieJSteve Booton has hardly stopped since being elected last May, so we caught up with him to get an update

“Since I was elected, most of my work has been helping Weoley people with issues like housing, council tax, anti-social behaviour, cuts in benefits and rubbish collection. Trying to get problems sorted isn’t always easy – particularly when drastic central government cuts have affected local services so badly – but I always do my very best.

“Lots of people have told me that having a Labour councillor has made a real difference in Weoley. So, I’m really pleased that Julie Johnson has been selected as our Labour candidate for the council elections in May.

“Some of you might have already met Julie on our street stall. She has a great sense of humour and understands the problems that the people of Weoley face under this Tory government. With her tremendous enthusiasm and commitment, she’ll be a fantastic councillor.

Labour Champions

“Julie and I are offering practical help for people affected by the Tories’ cuts. We’ve launched our Labour Champions scheme whereby we offer support to Weoley residents who have suffered various difficulties – we’ve given lifts to people whose hospital transport has been cut, we’ve helped with transport when benefits have been cut and we’ve helped people who need to get to a foodbank or who need help filling out official forms.

“If you need assistance, advice or support, just call or come along to one of my advice sessions. We will always help you when we can.”

Cllr Booton’s advice sessions

1st and 3rd Saturday of the month

1.00pm-2.00pm Weoley Castle Library, 76 Beckbury Road, B29 5HR

2nd Saturday of the month

1.00pm-2.00pm Allen’s Cross Community Centre, Tinkers Farm Road, B31 1RH

You can call me on 07830 945754 or email steve.booton@birmingham.gov.uk