Ian Austin MP

Member of Parliament for Dudley North

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Dudley North MP Ian Austin is calling for cuts to VAT on local tourist attractions.

New figures show that a 5% reduction to VAT for accommodation and attractions in the tourism sector would help boost UK GDP by up to £4 billion a year and would also create 123,000 new jobs.

Austin is a long-time backer of Dudley’s tourism potential, and has spoken in the House of Commons about extra funding for the likes of Dudley Zoo and the Black Country Living Museum.

Austin has written to George Osborne, the Chancellor, calling for a VAT cut to boost tourism, attract new visitors and grow the town’s economy.

Ian Austin said:

“I grew up in Dudley and had my first job in the High Street. Like anyone else from here, I want to see new ideas to bring new investment, trade and jobs to the town.

“Tourism is central to Dudley’s future. That’s why tax should be cut for great local attractions like Dudley Zoo and we should open Dudley Castle up to concerts and plays too.”

Cut VAT on tourism to boost town centre, says local MP

Dudley North MP Ian Austin is calling for cuts to VAT on local tourist attractions.

We need radical solutions to bring better schools, better skills and better jobs to Dudley.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

I recently stood up in the House of Commons to urge MPs of all parties to commit to long-term targets and new ideas to improve the quality of education in this country.

For a long time I have been saying that we need to make education and skills should be our number one priority. It's the only way well attract the new investment and new industries on which our prosperity will depend in the future. That's why I'm campaigning for better schools, better skills and better jobs

In my speech, I highlighted the fantastic success of the likes of Ellowes Hall, which has seen a tremendous improvement in standards. Other schools in Dudley are improving too but international rankings currently put Britain behind the likes of Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic on basic skills.

In Dudley, long-term youth unemployment is twice the national average. Germany has three times as many apprentices as the UK. Across the country the number of young apprentices has fallen. We need radical solutions to deal with these disappointing trends.

This includes setting aside Government funds to subsidise the cost of sending the brightest state school pupils to high-performing private schools.

Another way of making sure Dudley has the skills new industries need is introducing high quality technical qualifications. This is why Dudley Advance, the new manufacturing and technology centre bring opened by Dudley college, is so important

I'm calling on the government to provide apprenticeships as part of all their public spending programmes and to introduce new Technical Degrees. Technical Degrees would be a gold standard vocational qualification for high-level skills that would allow students to learn on the job as an apprentice alongside university, allowing them to earn a wage while studying.

Alongside a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-19 year olds, this would provide a clear path for those wishing to specialise in the vocational skills our economy needs.

BERT BISSELL MEMORIAL WALK

Donations have rolled in from around the world since we announced our Bert Bissell Memorial Walk a couple of weeks ago.

On 6th August I will be climbing Ben Nevis together with the Mayor’s Consort Councillor Adam Aston, the Deputy Mayor Councillor Steve Waltho and Armed Forces Champion Councillor Dave Tyler in memory of Dudley hero Bert Bissell’s work as a mountaineer, peace campaigner and charity fundraiser.

It’s the longest walk I’ve ever tried, so I have been fitting in training around my local and Parliamentary duties. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

In addition to generous donations from many people living locally, we have also heard from relatives of Bert’s now living in Australia and from MPs in Scotland who are keen to restore links between Dudley and Fort William near Ben Nevis that Bert originally helped establish.

Half of the funds we raise will go to the Mayor’s charities Action Heart and Guide Dogs, with the remainder split equally between the Children’s Unit at Russells Hall, the Royal British Legion, and Black Country Fast Aid to support local ambulances.

If you would like to support these great causes, you can do so at www.bertbissellmemorialwalk.co.uk

BLACK COUNTRY DAY

Anyone who was brought up in Dudley like I was will have been celebrating our first ever official Black Country Day.

Thousands of people across the region got together to mark the occasion: commemorating local achievements, celebrating its traditions and proudly flying the new flag designed by school girl Gracie Sheppard over Dudley Castle.

I’ve always said Dudley has great potential for tourism, so it was great to see attractions such as the Black Country Living Museum playing host to some of these events. Stone Street Square looked fantastic in red, white and black, as hundreds flocked to market stalls and sideshows.

Initially just one event was planned, but because of the interest from the community interest, dozens of events took place across the whole area, pulling in huge crowds and local celebrities. Hundreds more people threw their own events. I’m delighted that these celebrations will be continued in future years.

Black Country Day’s success says everything about the friendliness and community spirit of our local area. It shows what we can achieve when we all come together as a community, and I have never been more proud to be from the Black Country.

Dudley Chronicle, 24 July

We need radical solutions to bring better schools, better skills and better jobs to Dudley.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has backed new Technical Degrees to raise the status of vocational education.

Recent figures show that long-term youth unemployment in Dudley is twice the national average and the number of young apprentices has fallen.

Austin is calling for new Technical Degrees as a gold standard vocational qualification for high-level skills.

Alongside a new Technical Baccalaureate for 16-19 year olds, and compulsory vocational learning from age 14, Technical Degrees will provide a clear path for those wishing to specialise in vocational skills.

Under the plans, students will learn both at university and in the workplace, so they will be earning a wage as an apprentice alongside studying.

Ian Austin said:

"Education has to be our number one priority to bring new and better paid jobs to Dudley.

"Last year the number of apprenticeships for under-25s actually fell by over 11,000. The Government needs to act urgently to reverse this trend to address the skills shortage.

"I think new, high quality Technical Degrees are the best way of making sure local people have the skills that new industries and new jobs need."

Austin backs plan for new Technical Degrees

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has backed new Technical Degrees to raise the status of vocational education.


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