From Preet Kaur Gill MP <[email protected]>
Subject Here's your weekly update John
Date February 26, 2021 12:25 PM
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Dear John,

Across the UK, unemployment figures are standing at an eye-watering 1.74
million people which equates to a national average of 6.2%. For Edgbaston
it’s even higher, reaching 9% of our local population aged 16-64 years

Our constituency has some of the most deprived wards in the country, and
they are being left behind by this Government. Boris Johnson promised that
places like Bartley Green would level up under his leadership, but what we
are now seeing is the reverse.

While the country is going through a difficult time with the pandemic,
it’s no wonder to me that the West Midlands has been one of the hardest
hit regions in the UK. Boris Johnson failed to control the pandemic,
causing our region to cycle through ever-changing restrictions, while
withholding the state support needed to go with them and putting businesses
in an impossible position.

Meanwhile, our public services, such as public health, have struggled to
cope following a decade of erosion by austerity. Services that would have
otherwise helped businesses and residents when times are tougher have been
undermined through unfair and overwhelming budget cuts to the City Council,
Police and NHS.

This is why the Government needs to act now to protect the 70,000
furloughed jobs in Birmingham, and help hard-hit businesses by extending
the business rates holiday and the reduced rate of VAT for six months.
These actions would protect jobs, our economy and our livelihoods, so we
can build back better once the worst of this crisis has passed.



Rough sleeping falls by 67% in Birmingham

For the past few years, Birmingham has sadly seen record high numbers with
figures from 2018 showing that there were 91 people sleeping on our
city’s streets. However, I’m delighted to see that thanks to all the
hard work of Birmingham City Council, its partners and volunteer groups
around our city, this number has declined to 17. That is the biggest
reduction in rough sleeping of any core city in the UK and I would be
remiss not to say a heartfelt congratulations to everyone for their hard
work and dedication.

The pandemic has been an unlikely ally in the city’s bid to support rough
sleepers over the last year, with more than 72 people agreeing to take up
accommodation and many have been able to successfully sustain their new

However, I also fear that when it comes to homelessness, the Covid crisis
is very much going to turn this into a game of two halves. The pandemic has
meant rough sleepers are much more willing to engage with services and
Birmingham has done fantastically so far in supporting those willing to
come indoors but we haven’t yet seen the impact and anticipated surge in
those becoming newly homeless.

A decade of austerity has meant that many of the public sector safeguards
that were in place have been swept aside in the wake of devastating budget
cuts. Birmingham City Council alone has had to make £750 million worth of
cuts in the last ten years. Now, when we are looking to support individuals
and families, there isn’t the same help available to prevent them from
reaching a crisis point.

This will be our next challenge in ending the homelessness crisis.

If you are concerned about someone who you think might be sleeping rough,
contact StreetLink. They will send an immediate alert to the local outreach
team who will be able to offer the individual help and support.



Taking Part in Political Awareness Week

This week I took part in an online event hosted by King Edwards School as
part of a Political Awareness Week for their pupils and students from other
local schools. It was a Question Time style event where I took on three of
my Conservative rivals: Andy Street, current Mayor of the West Midlands,
Saqib Bhatti MP and Councillor Matt Bennett.

It was fantastic to see nearly 200 engaged and interested young people,
asking such insightful questions. It was really inspiring that the next
generation are so invested in the wider society they are a part of as well
as their own futures. I hope this is just the beginning and we can continue
this journey and encourage more young people to be politically active for
the betterment of the communities they live in.


Introducing your Labour candidates

Join us on Monday 1 March at 7pm for an online conversation with your
Labour candidates. I’ll be introducing our candidate for West Midlands
Combined Authority Mayor, Liam Byrne MP as well as our Birmingham City
Council hopeful in the Quinton by-election, Elaine Kidney. To register for
this Zoom event, please email [email protected] or use the RSVP
link below.


© 2020 Printed from an email sent by Preet Kaur Gill. Promoted by A.J Webb
on behalf of Preet Kaur Gill, both at 56 Wentworth Road, B17 9TA.

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