It was brilliant to visit Villa Park in my constituency with Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, Victims Commissioner for the West Midlands, Nicky Brennan and Councillor Paulette Hamilton, to discuss the work of the Aston Villa Foundation. The span and reach of their work touches so many different aspects of health and social inclusion: from their mental health and wellbeing activities, to STEM sessions focussing on girls and women, coaching and mentoring, Villa vision eye tests, the list goes on. In short, they are doing great work and want to do more of it, and that’s why I promised to bring everyone together to have an open discussion about how that might happen, linking into the objectives of Birmingham City Council and the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. I’m pleased to see everyone at the meeting was willing to work together to see how that work can continue and be part of more strategic commissioning of services in the city.
Earlier in the week, I wrote to the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, the strategic lead for transport after constituents reported their concerns of long queues outside Aston and Witton stations on the weekends and match days. Footage shared with me showed small children waiting for hours in the cold alongside a busy road and so I asked the Mayor how he plans to ensure that fans can access our public transport network safely on match days. You can find my letter to the Mayor here: https://www.shabanamahmood.org/2021/11/24/shabana-writes-to-west-midlands-mayor-on-villa-park-transport-provision/
In Parliament this week, the Government forced plans through the House of Commons that will mean pensioners across the UK will have to sell their home in order to pay for their care. The Government’s latest plans mean that anyone with assets below £186,000 that hits the care cap due to high care needs will end up paying more, whilst anyone with assets above £186,000 will be unaffected. Under this plan ordinary working people – especially those in the Midlands and North – will be forced to sell their homes whilst the homes of the wealthiest are protected. This comes after Boris Johnson promised no one would have to sell their home for care. It’s an example of another broken promise from this government and represents a dementia tax that will hit working families in my constituency. I spoke at length about this during Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 last week: https://twitter.com/ShabanaMahmood/status/1463132263676325896
This week, I also met with the Soho Road Business Improvement District, where I learned about the projects and services the business led partnership provides to the local area. We discussed a lot of issues in the local area, such as crime prevention, street scene, the levelling up fund, and potential bids and funding for the area. I listened to the concerns of BID members and offered them my support on various issues they would like amplified, and I’ll be following up from the meeting’s action points.
And finally, this week Birmingham reacted to the sad news of the death of Councillor Penny Holbrook, who served as the Councillor for Stockland Green on Birmingham City Council. I was deeply saddened to learn of Penny’s death. Penny was a committed public servant who championed her community and served our city with warmth and kindness. The tributes seen this week are a testament to her work, and the high regard in which she was held by colleagues. She will be missed and I send my condolences to her loved ones.