As part of our coverage of the 2015 local and general elections, we have invited candidates from Northfield and Bromsgrove constituencies (general election) and Kings Norton, Longbridge, Northfield, Weoley, Rubery North and Rubery South wards (local elections) to send in 500 Words describing themselves and their campaign.
This from Richard Burden, defending his seat for the Labour party in Northfield
There are three reasons why I ask you to re-elect me as your local voice in Parliament.
First, my values. I believe that we only prosper as a city and a country when the economy and society works for everyone – not just a privileged view. Over half of people living in the Northfield area are not paid a living wage. It is harder to see your GP and families are worried about the NHS. Over a quarter of local young people are unemployed and too many can’t get afford to buy a home. In recent election meetings, local Tory candidates even tried to deny that the numbers of people forced to use food banks are spiralling. Our area needs an MP to speak up for them – not a cheerleader for a Government completely out of touch with people’s lives in Birmingham.
The Conservatives have given millionaires a tax cut worth £40,000 a year, at the same time as hitting thousands of people in Northfield with the bedroom tax. Britain only succeeds when working people succeed, where people have equal opportunities and when we protect the vulnerable. That is why Labour has a better plan to share prosperity. Why we will build 200,000 more homes a year that local people will have first pick on. Why we will invest in more apprenticeships and cut tuition fees. And why we will increase the minimum wage, provide more free childcare and invest in thousands more doctors and nurses so our NHS has the time to care.
Secondly, my record. I have represented Northfield through thick and thin. I am independent-minded and not afraid stand up to the Council or the Government when things are wrong. I want local people to have more control over decisions that affect them. I am always involved in local issues – from the response to the MG Rover collapse ten years ago, to the future of local Libraries and leisure centres hit by Government cuts today. I keep in touch with local people online, I publish regular reports, surveys and host public meetings – most recently on immigration, which I know is a big concern for people around here.
Thirdly, it is the way I approach the job of an MP. Many local people feel that the world of politics is out of touch with their lives. I have always tried to be a different kind of politician. I have genuinely lived in the constituency for many years and, with my local team, I run regular surgeries and provide a casework service for constituents all year round. I have taken up around 5,000 individual cases since the last election. As an MP I have always seen my role as a community advocate. That is why I am proud to be associated with the recent #wearenorthfield initiative.
Northfield needs a local voice who will fight for a fairer future. I hope you will use your vote to re-elect me, and support a Labour Government, on May 7th.