New figures released show that the jobs crisis in Edgbaston has continued to worsen with the unemployment rate reaching 9.3%. This means that there are 210 more people claiming unemployment benefit in just the last month, and that’s 2,685 more people since last year.
With anticipated unemployment levels expected to continue rising and the recent news that one in five self-employed people expect to be forced out of business after a year of being excluded from Government schemes, under Conservative plans the situation for Birmingham and the West Midlands is only expected to worsen.
My view is that a coordinated and strategic approach to our economy is needed to recover from this crisis. We need to be ambitious, and we need to bold in our ideas and policies to actively stimulate our economy and support local businesses.
Unfortunately, this year, the Government has done that opposite and has entirely abandoned its industrial strategy. This is disastrous for the Midlands’ economic recovery as it’s how we support high skill, high wage, green jobs of the future.
Labour on the other hand, has proposed a comprehensive plan that would look to support businesses and boost the job market while simultaneously tackling climate change. It would help create 400,000 good jobs, protect green spaces and make sure everyone has a warm home.
It’s therefore imperative that in the elections on 6 May we get a Labour Mayor in Liam Byrne who understands the needs of Birmingham and the wider region. Someone who will be fighting for our fair share of funding from Government, who will be on the side of businesses and will lead the West Midlands to become the home of Britain’s green industrial revolution.
As of last Monday, we saw the start to our roadmap out of lockdown begin with the ‘stay at home’ rule ending. Now, up to 6 people, from two households can meet outside. This is a cautious but positive first step that will see us on our way to recovery. Evidence shows it is safer for people to meet outdoors. It’s why, in addition to meeting friends and family outside, we can now use outdoor tennis and basketball courts and take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
The latest Covid rates for each of our wards in Edgbaston are shown in the photo above. While they are significantly decreasing, Covid is still present in our communities. We’re hearing reports that only 1 in 5 people are now getting tested when they have Covid symptoms. For us to stay on track and continue to see the Covid rate decrease, we need to stay vigilant and make sure that we’re getting regularly tested, particularly if you have symptoms.
You can catch me on Sky Sports News this week after I visited Birmingham City Football Club to meet Layla Banaras and discuss her recent success after winning the Sunday Times Young Inspiration of the Year Award. Layla was nominated for both her desire to be a role model for other young Muslim footballers and trailblazing ambition to one day become the first Muslim woman to play for England.
But the significance of Layla’s achievement can’t be understated. While South Asian people represent around 8% of the population, of the 4,000 professional footballers, only 10 are of a South Asian background. The same is true when we look at every level of football from the coaches, to the referees and the governing associations.
Representation is important. It means that otherwise “unimportant issues” are addressed and it’s how we move forward to solve problems like racism in sport. I was so proud to see Layla taking such a positive step forward in achieving her dream and look forward to seeing her playing for England and inspiring more South Asian girls to play professional sports.
Wishing you a Happy Easter
And finally, this bank holiday weekend, I would like to wish all my constituents a Happy Easter. This is such a hopeful time of year which couldn’t be more relevant as we come out of lockdown.
While Parliament might be in recess, I’m still working hard to make sure that you’re concerns and issues are heard and supported. If you need help and want to contact me, please do at email@example.com