As part of our coverage of 2014 local elections, we have invited each candidate from Kings Norton, Longbridge, Northfield and Weoley wards to send in 500 Words describing themselves and their campaign.
This from Chris Hughes, candidate for Communities Against the Cuts in Kings Norton.
I am 51 years old and have lived in Kings Norton for 38 of those years.
I am very active in the local community; I am the Environmental Officer for the Friends of Kings Norton Park.
I was heavily involved in the campaigns to save Merrishaw Nursery and Charles House from threatened closure by Birmingham City Council a few years ago and was an active supporter of the campaign to keep Bournville School and West Heath Primary from Academy status. I am against taking schools out of democratic control and turning them into academies. Shortly after the Kings Norton High School was turned into an ARK academy, the leisure centre was closed to the local community, and your councillors were no longer able to do anything about it.
I have campaigned against the bedroom tax in Kings Norton and have recently been involved with the successful campaign to keep the local Kingswood Respite Bungalows open.
Now we see that the Hawkesley Community Centre is subject to a Community Asset Transfer. Public resources are being lost to private concerns.
Kings Norton library has still not been repaired and it faces an uncertain future, as your local Labour Councillors have voted through huge cuts to the Northfield District. This includes the current Labour candidate, who, as the person in charge of Adult Social Care, has voted for £14 million cuts to this service. Voting for candidates like this is like voting for Dracula to be in charge of the blood bank!
Unfortunately, there is no prospect of a position of compliance with these devastating cuts turning into a position of defiance by our local Labour Party; if only!
So we have no choice but to challenge this disastrous course at the ballot box.
I am proud to have been chosen to stand as a candidate for Communities against the Cuts once again, as I have been a lifelong supporter of our Public Services and have close links and personal experiences, as we all must have, of with our fantastic, publicly owned, NHS.
I have always opposed the greed and profit motives that all too often drive our society and oppose the free market. I support a locally set ‘Needs Budget’. We need jobs for all, a decent living wage and protection of pensions and benefits; we must look after the most vulnerable in our society. We also need to reject the scapegoating of the poor, the unemployed, the disabled and other Europeans for the problems that were caused by banker greed.
For many years now, the Labour Party, locally and nationally, has failed to defend ordinary people from the ravages of Capitalism. It was the Blair Government that started much of what this ConDem Government is doing; private inroads into the NHS and Academy Schools for example. And it was the Blair Government that took us into an illegal war with Iraq! What we want is Welfare NOT Warfare!
Ordinary people need an alternative in Kings Norton.