Thanks to Ward End

Thanks to all those who came to my residents meeting in Ward End last night – especially colleagues from West Midlands Police. We’ll post a full write up later but the three key local issues raised were;
1. Speeding and dangerous parking – especially folks dropping off children at school. We had a long debate about why parents drive their offspring a few hundred yards down the road
2. Drugdealing – still seen as a problem especially by the shops on St Margarets Road
3. Impact of doubling the school size; this was on the whole seen as a good thing; but there was a real worry that parking was going to get much worse

We then had a long chat about Labours policy review and the things the government was doing wrong. Here’s what was top of residents issue-list;
1. Lack of jobs especially for young people
2. Prices especially petrol prices
3. Immigration
4. Human rights and influence of judges
5. Europe – too much control of decisions lost

Again, we’ll write this up and make sure it’s part of our policy review work. If you couldn’t come and have a comment email me on byrnel@parliament.UK


American squeezed middle

Krugman on the American squeezed middle.

Interview with Amartya Sen

This week, I published my argument for Labour’s approach to creating a country of ‘powerful people’. I mentioned that over the last ten years, I have been much influenced by the way I thought about this, by my practical experience trying to regenerate Hodge Hill, and philosophically, by Amartya Sen. Sen’s book, An Idea of Justice, was published this summer, and a few weeks ago I interviewed Prof Sen about his work. You can access an excerpt of the interview below…

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Guarantees not gambles

Some will have seen news in the Guardian and elsewhere today about rights to new services for people with suspected cancer. For those who want more background about the government’s approach to rights, have a look at Working Together  – our strategy for public service reform; World Class Public Services, where we looked at how rights can preserve equity while devolving power. My speech to the CBI sets out some more of the background argument.

Thanks to Big Lottery Fund

Yesterday, we had simply the most extraordinary turn-out for our Big Lottery Fund Awards for All masterclass at the Beaufort Sports & Social. Building a stronger network of social entreprenuers is at the absolute core of Hodge Hill 2020 – our programme for regenerating the constituency. I’ll be posting some of the information we went through and a video report next week, but in the meantime, if you are part of a group in the constituency which wants some help bidding for money, then drop me a line. Also email me if you are doing great things locally – we want to build a stronger network of community activists where everyone knows what’s going on, and how to get involved. Thanks to all who came along – and thanks to Big Lottery Fund for answering my call to come and tell us more!

Jaguar Land Rover

Lots of workers at Jaguar Land Rover live in Hodge Hill, and they’ll be worried about the plans that Jaguar Land Rover announced today.

I rang the directors to discuss their plans this afternoon. Here’s what they said.

Firstly, and most importantly, JLR said that they are absolutely committed to the West Midlands – and want to build ‘significant’ numbers of new cars in the region. I think the firm will need the same number of workers in the region to build all the new models, which is why JLR has said they don’t want to see compulsory redundancies.

Secondly, when I asked whether government was doing everything they could, JLR said yes – and they were especially grateful for the £10 million of government aid to build new models.

I agreed to lobby hard for the kind of automotive research institute that will help keep our industry at the world’s cutting edge. Long term, that’s the way we boost manufacturing jobs, not see them go abroad.

The company must discuss these changes with the trade unions, and I’ll be in touch with them in due course.

I’ll keep you up to date with news as I hear it.

The New Opportunity Economy

Below is the full text of my John Smith Annual Finance Lecture; The New Opportunity Economy. There’s a bit of a trail in the Guardian today. The argument is simple; is we make the right choices now, we can not only rebalance our economy towards investment and exports, but we can open the new jobs that it is possible to create to people from a wider range of backgrounds, tackling the issue of low pay, and redoubling efforts to get people back to work.

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