Birmingham Green Party has a candidate standing in every parliamentary constituency in the city:
|Northfield - Eleanor Masters||Selly Oak - Julien Pritchard||Hodge Hill - Clare Thomas|
|Hall Green - Patrick Cox||Ladywood - Kefentse Dennis||Edgbaston - Alice Kiff|
|Yardley - Chris Garghan||Sutton Coldfield - David Ratcliff||Erdington - James Lovatt|
|Perry Barr - Vijay Rana|
Eleanor is a mental health nurse working on a ward for adolescents a short cycle ride from where she lives in Weoley Castle. She studied at BCU before going to work in the health sector.
Eleanor says: "Just as I have made my home in Northfield Constituency, the area has made a home within my heart: there is an abundance of things to love and be inspired by here. I am therefore deeply saddened when I see the devastating effect of government cuts to services on people here who most need support – cuts to mental health services and care for the elderly, and most recently to tax credits.
Greens are the sole party with a truly anti-austerity vision. It’s high time the government stopped taking from the most disadvantaged in society on the pretext that this is necessary to balance the books. Suicides are rising and children are going hungry. I would take a stand against this atrocity and demand the restoration of essential services.
Another Green Party priority is help for people who rent their home and are at the mercy of barely-regulated landlords. If you are renting your accommodation and feel exploited by the current system, I can fully relate to this from personal experience of appalling conditions and promise to fight passionately for your rights and advocate your needs.
Finally, as someone with a personal affection for the Northfield Ecocentre and the wonderful work done there, I would aim to connect with, learn from and support them in their many green, community-building projects.”
Julien is a community campaigner, and has worked as an environmental activist as well for the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority. He has lived in the Selly Oak constituency for over 10 years. Julien moved to the area to go to the University of Birmingham and has lived there ever since.
Clare is a parent, carer and a former Birmingham CIty Council worker, in roles as diverse as: administrator, research assistant, library assistant, street warden, debt adviser, gardener and care assistant. Clare has worked in Hodge Hill constituency and loves the diversity of the area.
Clare says: “I’ve seen first hand some of the problems that must be tackled, including high levels of child poverty, air pollution and inequality. Child poverty levels in the constituency are over 40%. This is a disgrace. The national average is 30% which is already shockingly high. As your MP I would set clear targets for ending child poverty, call for extra government funding to provide targeted early support to help children, young people and their families and reverse the benefit cuts, bedroom tax and benefit caps affecting families.
Air pollution is bad along the busiest roads in Hodge Hill. This damage to our environment causes ill-health and up to 900 early deaths each year in Birmingham alone. If you are young, old, poor, not white or already ill, you will be affected even more.I’d also work towards the introduction of a new Clean Air Act, invest in walking, cycling, clean and affordable public transport, fine the car industry to pay for the emissions tests that they cheated and oppose the expansion of Birmingham International Airport.
It is such a waste that young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and young white British people face higher levels of unemployment, illness and low incomes. Everyone deserves an equal chance in life.
Finally I’d work to create a more equal and fair society, that helps the young, unemployed, low paid, sick and disabled rather than punishing them and which celebrates diversity instead of treating it with fear and suspicion.”
Patrick is a secondary school teacher, and has either lived or worked in the constituency of Hall Green since moving from London 13 years ago. He has strong links with local community and has volunteered on several projects in order to give back to the area that has welcomed him in. Patrick is a committed cyclist, sometime runner and has an allotment, which occasionally produces things.
Patrick says: “Hall Green is fantastic place to live, with some beautiful green spaces, diverse and thriving communities as well as successful trades and businesses.
At the same time real problems exist in some areas which have been left to fend for themselves, and are already bearing the brunt of Tory spending cuts. Our public services, which employ so many in this area, are being squeezed dry, and the effects are clear to see. Social care services are under intense strain, and many other essential services have been slashed, then slashed again.
This area deserves better. If elected for Hall Green I would strive to use my real life experience to provide real opposition, and create real change.
My priorities would be firstly, to make sure that those areas left behind got the support they need in terms of investment and attention to reverse the blight of austerity. The real-life deprivation that exists side-by-side with affluence isn’t acceptable in the 21st century. I’d also push for an improved local, public transport system. Giving people a realistic choice to leave cars behind by improving bus services would unleash the potential of an area held back by traffic-choked roads. I’d also highlight and take action on the serious and on-going funding crisis in our local schools. We can’t expect our young people to succeed if we don’t give them the resources they need.”
Kefentse has lived in Birmingham his whole life, and has been a resident of Ladywood constituency for the past three years. He holds a degree in Environmental Management and Sustainability, which has given him an understanding of how the city’s environmental problems could be addressed.
Kefentse says: “I have personally experienced the problems our area faces, which has inspired me to stand for parliament. Speaking to neighbours and other local people I’ve found one of their biggest concerns is the current state of the City Hospital, which is just another example of how our NHS is being run into the ground.
The Green Party is the only party that will deliver effective solutions to this problem. We would immediately increase the overall NHS budget by £12 billion a year to overcome the current funding crisis, increase investment in mental health care and provide for free dentistry, chiropody and prescriptions in England.
At a local level I’d focus on crime prevention measures, including more community policing under local democratic control, more local police stations and the return of bus conductors and others who have an important effect on social order. Antisocial behaviour, litter and fly-tipping are problems local people shouldn't have to put up with. I also aim to be a voice for people who feel disenfranchised by our current political system.
I’d like to see us follow Scotland in banning waste food and other organic material being sent to landfill, and for there to be an Increase in national spending on recycling and waste disposal so that we can do away with damaging incineration and landfill.
I want my constituency to be a shining example for Birmingham, and the country.”
Alice Kiff works and studies at the University of Birmingham, and knows first hand what a wonderful place Edgbaston can be to call home.
Alice says: “I am proud to be standing up for the constituency of Edgbaston in the upcoming general election. Edgbaston is a prestigious area of Birmingham, including the world-class cricket club, the University of Birmingham campus, and the state-of-the-art QE Hospital. But problems lie beneath the surface.
The QE Hospital, built under the disastrous PFI scheme which burdens hospitals with future debt, is too small to cope with demand and facing staff shortages, made worse by Brexit. For the University, Brexit also has negative implications as EU funding disappears, and Theresa May’s focus on reducing immigration to a trickle means a loss of international students. As well as landmark buildings, Edgbaston includes areas of substandard housing and shares the general inner-city problem of traffic congestion and air pollution.
The Green Party plans to reinstate the NHS would provide the NHS with the funding it needs and put it back on a path to future stability. Edgbaston needs this as the ageing population puts increasing demands on the system.
Walking down Edgbaston Park Road shouldn’t be a health risk! As your MP I would work to reduce congestion and pollution by making cycling a safer option and improving public transport.
Residents all over Edgbaston, and students especially, suffer from an unregulated housing market where landlords and agencies can exploit the high demand for places to live. I would work for fair rents, tenant security and better housing standards. I want to make Edgbaston a cleaner, fairer and safer community for everybody.”
Chris grew up in the heart of Yardley, and has seen the way the constituency has changed and grown over the years. People come and go, but Yardley remains a stubbornly proud part of the city, with history stretching back over a thousand years.
Chris says: “I have seen some of the problems that affect Yardley first hand; issues like the 35% of children living in poverty, well above the UK average. As your MP I would set clear targets for ending child poverty, and call for government funding to provide early years support for young people and their families.
Air pollution in the constituency is a serious concern, with up to 900 deaths per year in Birmingham linked with poor air quality, and the city facing a £60m fine if it doesn’t deal with air pollution. I’d push for the introduction of a new Clean Air Act, ensure that companies who cheat emissions tests are fined, work towards providing clean, affordable, and comfortable public transport, and oppose any further expansion of Birmingham International Airport.
Homelessness in the city is a growing problem, with more than 55 rough sleepers being reported every night, up from just six before the Conservative-LibDem coalition government. The causes of homelessness are myriad: from domestic violence, the breakdown of relationships, to drug and alcohol abuse and so much more.
To end this human tragedy I would ensure that the existing work on domestic violence is maintained and strengthened, provide emergency accommodation for any rough sleepers in the constituency, and work with charities to ensure that the needs of homeless families and individuals are met.”
David was was born in Sutton Coldfield, has lived most of his life in the area and is now retired just miles from his childhood home. His working life was spent in the West Midlands and Canada producing rolled metal for the car industry. Since retirement David has involved himself in local politics, as well as singing with Sutton Choral society. He visits Denmark regularly where he sees first-hand workable solutions to some of the issues faced by Sutton Coldfield.
David says: “Sutton is a great place to live, and it needs to be looked after.
Housing is a real challenge in my area. The way our housing system works makes providing people with somewhere to live secondary to profit and has resulted in the use of the green belt around Sutton for building. I want to ensure the new development always has non-car transport planned in. It’s vital we retain and replenish council-owned housing.
Air pollution is something we can and should control. As well as vehicle emissions we need to control other health-damaging chemicals and pollutants that we live with. Common pesticides are toxic to humans, and it’s time to reduce the routine use of these chemicals in and around Sutton Coldfield.
Sutton has a wonderful diversity of nature and we must protect it by maintaining and creating nature corridors and not allow Sutton's nature become just another ‘what-used-to-be’. There should be no nibbling at the edges of Sutton Park for building. If we protect it today it will still be there for future generations to come.
In addition as MP I’d work to make making Sutton Coldfield a Fair Tax town, to ensure the businesses in our community pay their fair share back to society, rather than hide their profits away off-shore. We should all contribute fairly to the public services we rely on and value.”
James was born in Shrewsbury and has lived most of his life in the West Midlands, with spells in Burma, Spain and Thailand. During his years at Birmingham City University he lived on the border of Erdington and Perry Barr, and two years ago stood for parliament for Perry Barr. James has years of experience working within communities and as a human rights activist with non-political organisations.
James says: “Erdington is a classic example of a left-behind community. Once a thriving village with a heart, it lost its economic strength with the closure of Fort Dunlop and now has serious social problems with high unemployment rates, high levels of child poverty, housing problems, drug taking and crime. Tory cuts in investment and austerity have had a devastating impact on the local area.
If elected I promise to stand up for what matters for local people. Job creation in the area needs to focus on local business startups, not inward investment by multinationals with no commitment to the area and poor employment practices.
I will work for a £10 per hour minimum wage and an end to the wage discrimination against young people under 25. I will focus on local environmental projects which lead to healthier lifestyles, better public transport, improved cycle routes and lower pollution rates.
Most importantly, I will work to restore power to the people. Democracy means residents have a say in decisions that affect them locally, not that they hand government a blank cheque every five years. Local consultation and the power to approve or reject proposals will get people engaged with politics once again.”
Vijay has lived in and around Perry Barr his entire life. Having also studied at what was formerly the University of Central England, he has seen every aspect of local life and lived amongst the ever-changing faces in the area, having seen the transition from a student population to the settled community Perry Barr has now become.
Vijay says: “The changes in Perry Barr over the years have seen an increase in the gap between rich and poor across the constituency. We have some of the highest areas of deprivation in the whole country, right next to some of the most affluent postcodes in Birmingham.
To improve the situation I would actively pursue Empty Homes Management Orders to bring the nearly 4500 empty homes in Birmingham back into use for social housing. I’d ensure they were refurbished to high sustainability standards by nearby businesses, thereby creating local skilled jobs in the low carbon economy.
I’d push for commitments from local government to give higher priority to houses for the homeless. Currently, even temporary homelessness can lead to a vicious downward spiral, as the homeless are unable to register for support without a fixed address. We need to commit extra funds to provide emergency accommodation, so homeless people can be brought back into society, and don’t end up further increasing the numbers living on the margins.
As your MP I would work to extend free public transport to young people, so that they are not put off by the cost of travelling to educational establishments and workplaces. Enabling young people to be more flexible in their work location will also mean a greater pool of skills will be available for local small and medium enterprises to pick from, benefiting both the worker and the employer.”