As part of our 2019 General Election coverage, we have contacted each candidate standing in Northfield, Bromsgrove, Edgbaston and Selly Oak constituencies asking them to contribute to this election’s ‘500 Words’ series.
Each candidate has been invited to describe themselves and their campaigns in their own words. Their submissions will be published without editing, in the order that they are received. Should they be longer than 500 words, they will be cropped.
Richard Burden • Labour • Birmingham Northfield
I have never been one of these politicians who only pops up at election time. Northfield is my home so what happens around here affects my family too.
Every year thousands of people come to me for help – on everything from housing to health, from potholes to policing.
I’m independently minded and I fight your corner regardless of which Party runs the Government or the Council. But I also know that so many people who turn to me for help have been hit by the damage that the Conservative Government has done.
• Some have been victims of rising crime with 2,000 officers cut from West Midlands Police.
• Others have suffered long waits to see their GP, or they can’t get the social care or mental health support they need.
• Many struggle to afford childcare and are worried about their children’s future when cuts are hitting schools so badly.
• And it’s a scandal that so many are forced to turn to foodbanks, not because they are unwilling to work but because low pay and job insecurity have left them unable to make ends meet.
The Conservatives would have you believe that this is nothing to do with them. But they have been in government for nine years now. Their record tells a different story.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
That’s why I back real change to:
• Invest in community policing and restore the youth services so important to preventing crime.
• Rescue our NHS from cuts and creeping privatisation.
• Build the genuinely affordable homes our area needs.
• Help working families with free childcare, end the school budget squeeze and introduce a £10 per hour Real Living Wage to combat low pay.
• Launch a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the biggest challenge of all – the climate emergency – with 120,000 jobs and apprenticeships created here in the West Midlands.
The Conservatives will tell you it can’t be done. They said the same when Labour created the NHS all those years ago. They were wrong then and they are wrong today.
And yes – Brexit must be sorted too. Contrary to what he pretends, Boris Johnson’s “deal” doesn’t sort it. Instead it will saddle the UK with the uncertainty of years more negotiations, with more jobs lost and the prospect of a stitch-up with the USA that could threaten our NHS.
I have always been straight with people over Brexit. It’s all on the record at WWW.RICHARDBURDEN.COM/BREXIT. If the Conservatives had done what I and others have urged over the past 3 years, it would all have been resolved by now. By giving people the final say on a credible deal that puts jobs first it can still be sorted in six months.
These are my values. They make me even more determined to work for the many, not just the privileged few, and help transform our country for the better.
A chance to hear directly from your candidates, any hustings we are aware of will be listed below. Please let us know of any not listed.