Tag Archives: west midlands

Lorely Burt writes: A real step change in connectivity for the West Midlands

As we start party conference, it is slightly odd not to have to pack a bag, book train tickets or google where to eat at the seaside. This year I’m thinking about what kind of snacks I need for our marathon online conference!

But this year, as we embark on Ed Davey’s first conference as leader, I believe we are in a good place as a party – strong, united and ready for a year of action and growth.  In my own part of the world, in the West Midlands we are ready too.

But as I look around the region, I see the impact of coronavirus and I worry about the potential long-term scarring for the young, those on the margins, the vulnerable and elderly. The rebuilding must start now. We need to create jobs and invest in our communities, and avoid returning back to the days of austerity.

Before COVID-19, the West Midlands was one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. The upcoming Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review offers us an opportunity to finally force the government to put fuel into the Midlands Engine. As the former MP and now Baroness Burt of Solihull, I back any sustainable infrastructure investment that can improve the lives of people living and working within the region. Midlands Connect, the strategic transport body for the Midlands, has developed a rail scheme with its partners that should deliver a real step-change in rail connectivity to Birmingham International and Coventry railway stations.

The ‘Birmingham Airport Connectivity’ project is central to fulfilling the region’s levelling-up agenda, aiding the region’s green economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting enterprise, development and regeneration across a number of important growth sites across the West Midlands. It will deliver new, direct rail services to Birmingham International and Coventry stations for over 2 million people, including those living in and around Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle. Plus it’ll create an extra service an hour from Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford and Reading to Birmingham International and Coventry.

Birmingham International railway station is at the epicentre of a number of nationally-important assets including; Birmingham Airport, the second busiest airport in the UK outside London; the National Exhibition Centre; Resorts World arena and shopping park; and Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull plant. Close by, the arrival of the HS2 Interchange station is stimulating huge investment and regeneration. To realise the full benefits of this transformational opportunity, the Urban Growth Company is promoting investment in 140 hectares of mixed-use development at ‘UK Central’, set to create up to 5,000 new homes, 650,000 square metres of commercial space and support 70,000 new and existing jobs.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

How West Midlands pastoral care initiative hopes to change the party’s culture

West Midlands pastoral careDiversity is in the spotlight ahead of Spring Conference in York and there are many discussions taking place around the best way to get progress in the party. Much of the focus is on the party’s representative bodies and selection processes. However, we need to remember the culture changes and improvement still needed at grassroots level.

With the passion that our members and supporters show for campaigning and democracy, it is easy, at an organisational level, to forget a crucial fact. Our party must also be passionate about people. About recruiting them, investing in them and taking care of their wellbeing.

Just a few years ago the party was headed for calamity with regard to recruitment. This was turned around by reforming how membership recruitment should be fundamental to campaigning. Those who led the charge to change attitudes and implement structural incentives, should be congratulated. We can all see the difference and the morale boost that this has given to everyone.

Now it is time to do the same with the latter two actions.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments
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    Thanks everyone for an informative post...