THE LABOUR candidate for the West Midlands Mayor election Liam Byrne said going out and talking to people and then taking those ideas back out onto the streets was how he formulated his manifesto.
Mr Byrne said: “We‘ve asked hundreds of thousands of residents for their views on the priorities for action.
“So, this is the people’s plan for our future, drawn up from over 10,000 ideas, inspirations and points of view.
“The top priorities are clear – jobs, jobs, jobs.
“Across the region, people are worried about our young people becoming a lost generation – and anxiety about rising crime is not far behind.
“People have been telling me that what we had before the pandemic wasn’t great.
“They don’t want to go back to an economy of haves and have nots.”
Top of his agenda is a jobs-led recovery plan to build back fairer, greener and stronger.
He is backing the region to make its green future and embrace a green industrial revolution to bring back industry.
“We need to lead a new green Britain and bring back industry – we need to trade out way back to health and raise the funds for our future, including the NHS which has been worth its weight in gold over the past year.
“We also need to foster our community spirit.
“That got us through the pandemic and art, sports, parks and building communities will breathe new community spirit into all our lives.
“Not only do we have a plan, but the manifesto shows exactly how we will make it a reality in the next three years.”
In the manifesto he pledges to –
- Make the region can become a world capital of green manufacturing,
- Turn the region’s former industrial sites into green industry zones and securing 200,000 new jobs.
- Set a goal for the West Midlands to become the UK’s first net-zero carbon region, with green, warm, homes – doubling the number of truly affordable homes – and ensure green, integrated and safe public transport.
- Bring forward very light rail, green buses, and double cycle levels by 2025, as well as target one of the best electric vehicle charging networks.
- Draw up plans to actually make the green public transport systems we need, in the Midlands.
- Massively increase tree planting to boost the canopy cover in urban and semi-urban areas to a gold standard of 25 per cent.
As part of his plans he would hold an emergency budget to invest in the recovery, including support for young people and community food networks.
He would also lead an emergency audit of public sector contracts to see which can be moved locally fast to source from local firms and support local jobs.
And he wants to get all the right people to pull together in the same direction with plans to convene a cross-party Team West Midlands, made up of MPs, the region’s Peers and council leaders to ensure the region gets its fair share of the government’s recovery funding.
As the youngest region Mr Byrne has vowed to make the region the best place to be young in.
He will do this by establishing a West Midlands Skills and Learning Agency to work with colleges, universities and businesses to double apprentice numbers, reboot a careers service, start an UCAS-style system for apprenticeships to connect young people to opportunities, and establish a major programme of work placements for 18 to 30-year-olds.
He will equip councils to rehire youth workers back in every neighbourhood and put in place a ten-year plan to seek to make this permanent.
He will also promote free bus travel for 16 to 18 years-olds at the weekend at the earliest opportunity.
And Labour’s candidate has vowed to champion a decade of togetherness’, investing in community life supporting grassroots sports, arts, parks, high streets, markets and festivals.
To tackle rising crime he said he would work with the Police and Crime Commissioner to bring in an extra 450 community police officers to boost police numbers in every neighbourhood.
And he would create a ‘West Midlands Walks’ network, recruit a night-time economy champion to work with venues on re-opening and as the region welcomes visitors for the Commonwealth Games.
Mr Byrne said the region would see a very different type of Mayor.
“I will work in all our communities and stand up for all our communities, driving fairness and equality through everything we do.
“Unlike the Tory Mayor, I won’t be silent on calling for a pay rise for nurses or for free school meals to stop kids going hungry during the holidays.”
He has vowed to be be a campaigning mayor, championing a new hospital at the Arden Cross development in Solihull and serving East Birmingham and demand that the government holds a full judge-led public inquiry into Covid.
Click here to read Liam Byrne’s full manifesto.