As part of our coverage of 2016 local elections, we have invited all candidates from Northfield district – Kings Norton, Longbridge, Northfield and Weoley wards – to send in 500 Words describing themselves and their campaign.
This from Steven Brookes, UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate for Weoley ward:
I was born in Birmingham and have lived in the city for virtually all of my life. My parents were born in Birmingham too and still live here. I live on the border of Weoley, Bournville, and Northfield: whatever problems and issues Weoley residents have affect me and my family as well.
I work as a solicitor in Birmingham city centre for a major national business based in the city. In my professional career I have worked in regulation, education, for local authorities, and for various national and multi-national businesses.
Birmingham City Council under Labour, the Tories, and LibDems has failed this once great city. The old establishment parties try to pass the buck to each other for the mess the Council is in, but in reality they are all to blame through years of failure and incompetence, while we, the ordinary people of Birmingham, pay the price through cuts to services and increased Council taxes.
I believe things will not improve until we smash the hold that the old parties have on the Council.
Labour is torn by division as it drifts towards dangerous extremism and the fringes of our society. The Tories have long since ceased to provide any meaningful opposition to Labour in Birmingham.
I will fight to end political correctness at the Council: we must ensure that the city prioritises its own citizens first. Both Labour and Tories have been leading the charge to admit more and more refugees into Birmingham, but I believe that until every existing citizen of Birmingham of whatever colour, background, or religion, benefits from decent housing, schools, libraries and local amenities we simply cannot afford to spend endless amounts of money on welcoming more refugees for the sake of empty political posturing.
We must put a stop to the destruction of our green spaces through unlimited residential and commercial development. What future will our children have if there are no safe places for them to play in?
I will fight to ensure that local services are preserved, and that effective and regular refuse collection is maintained. Residents already pay Council Tax and we must fight the drift towards additional charging for existing services.
The Council wastes tens of millions on delusional projects like the Library of Birmingham, while at the same time cutting front line services. It simply cannot continue.
The city should be a pleasant and safe place for people to walk and cycle around, with improved public transport, but we cannot make the car our enemy. I will fight any move towards congestion charging and the destruction of our local economy through barmy eco-projects.
Tories, Labour and the LibDems have failed us. The Council is in massive debt, with cuts to front line services and job losses. But each year your Council tax goes up. You contribute more of your hard earned wages, and get less in return.
It is time to kick those responsible out of office, and time for a fresh start with UKIP.