This week the choice to be next Tory leader became apparent and is down to the two continuity candidates; two stooges of the Johnson administration whose fingerprints are all over the state the country finds itself in today.
Despite their attempts to trash the Tory record of the last 12 years, both Truss and Sunak have backed every decision along the way. Both voted for every one of Boris Johnson’s 15 tax rises and both reliably parroted his lies when the whole country could see the truth.
Rather than plans to tackle the Tory cost of living crisis or grow Britain’s economy, to use their own words about each other's plans, they are simply offering the fantasy economics of unfunded giveaways. They have nothing to offer working people except more of the same.
Whichever one of the continuity candidates wins, one thing is clear: the more time we give the Tories, the more damage they will do. Only Labour can provide the fresh start the country needs.
Almost 160,000 people now waiting for NHS treatment at University Hospitals Trust Birmingham
I was appalled this week by new figures from the NHS which show that 159,255 people are waiting for NHS treatment at University Hospitals Trust Birmingham. 30,998 of those people have been waiting for more than a year, during three separate Conservative Health Secretaries.
At the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, following a decade of Tory mismanagement there were 4.4 million people on the NHS waiting list in England, then a record high. Now, 1 in every 9 people in England are on the NHS waiting list equating to 6.6 million people.
The Conservative Government published its elective care recovery plan for the NHS this week but failed to set out how it would address the workforce shortages the NHS is facing. The plan set the Government’s ambition as beginning to reduce waiting lists from 2024.
I wrote to the health secretary twice following concerns that West Midlands Ambulance Service was close to complete collapse and raising questions regarding NHS services. The response which arrived more than two months later, was woefully lacking; and failed to address how the Government will tackle the root causes to put the NHS back on track.
Now, record numbers of people across our constituency are waiting longer than ever before, often in pain and distress. Our local health care staff worked heroically throughout the pandemic, but they have been stretched like never before. As the Culture Secretary admits, a decade of Conservative mismanagement left the NHS “wanting and inadequate”, and patients are now left to wait too long as a result. Our NHS is crying out for a change in government to give us the fresh start we need.
Have your say on HMOs in Birmingham
Across Birmingham, we're seeing the impact of poor quality and unlicensed housing having a huge impact on local communities. It isn’t right or fair on either the neighbours who are left to deal with rising anti-social behaviour or, on the vulnerable residents that are placed in unsuitable housing. While we do have some fantastic housing providers and landlords in the city, all too often rogue landlords are allowed to exploit loopholes in the current system to make a profit at the expense of others. It's vital more extensive licencing of HMO properties is put in place where appropriate.
I am pleased to see Birmingham City Council launching a consultation on this, the first step in being able to implement change, but we need to hear from you.
#VoteBrum to get GB Railways HQ move to Birmingham
I am delighted that Birmingham has been shortlisted as one of the six potential locations for the headquarters of the new Great British Railways body. This is a fantastic opportunity for our region and I am giving it my full support.
Great British Railways (GBR) will be the new public body that will oversee a new era of innovation, investment and integration across our rail network. It will decide where trains go, when they go and how much rail users pay.
For a region that already supports some 40,000 rail jobs, attracting GBR could be a catalyst for significant economic growth. We’ve seen it before with HS2, which has helped the West Midlands become a hub for engineering consultancy, design and project management specialists (supporting some 350 local businesses) since choosing Birmingham as its base.
With 90% of wards across Birmingham classed as more deprived than the national average, this investment would be a boost to our local economy and would create new jobs at a time when unemployment is high and we are living through a cost of living crisis.
Great British Railways has launched a public vote on where they should be based, detailing the six choices. If you agree with me and would like to see this organisation come to Birmingham, please make sure you vote using the link below.
The Commonwealth Games in our Constituency
Next week our constituency will be playing its part in hosting the Commonwealth Games. This is an exciting opportunity for Birmingham and will see the creation of 20,000 jobs, huge investment and will put the eyes of 1.5 billion people firmly on our city. I am excited to witness the future legacy of these Games.
Consequently, there will be a temporary impact on residents. With the University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and many other excellent venues in the constituency acting as hosts to sporting events and athletes, there will be some disruption. A number of temporary road closures have already been introduced across the constituency, predominantly in Edgbaston ward. However, there will also be additional diversions planned for the Queen’s Baton Relay on Wednesday 27th July and the marathon route on Saturday 30th July. Both of these have been designed to allow as many residents as possible to see a Commonwealth Games event for free. You can view the route here: https://www.birmingham2022.com/getset/birmingham/marathon
Should you not have access to a computer or the internet, you can phone the Commonwealth Games contact centre who will help you apply, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, on 0121 303 7616.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton