Ian Austin MP

Member of Parliament for Dudley North

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Dudley MP Ian Austin has called for urgent action after new figures reveal a record 93,461 people used West Midlands food banks in the last year, including 35,425 children.

The figures have been released by the Trussell Trust which runs 400 food banks across the UK including 85 in the West Midlands.

Over 900,000 people in Britain have used food banks in the past year. The Trussell Trust reports that many users are in work, with wages no longer guaranteed to be enough to feed a family.

Austin has called on the government to do more to support families that are struggling to feed themselves.

Ian Austin said:

“Food banks like the one here in Dudley and the Black Country do phenomenal work, but this increase just goes to show our out-of-touch government hasn’t got a clue how difficult life is for people at the moment.

“They’re determined to pretend there’s no crisis but they have to face the truth – thousands of families in the West Midlands face a cost of living crisis and the benefits system is in chaos.”

Austin slams record foodbank demand in West Midlands

Dudley MP Ian Austin has called for urgent action after new figures reveal a record 93,461 people used West Midlands food banks in the last year, including 35,425 children.

London has a mayor.  Scotland and Wales have First Ministers.  We need someone speaking up for the West Midlands.

George Osborne continues to trumpet an economic recovery from his office in London, but things look very different here in Dudley.

When I asked local people what they thought, nine in ten told me that their finances weren't improving. Nearly half blamed this on the government's focus on the south of the country at the expense of the Midlands.

The truth is London's got Parliament, Whitehall and its own Mayor. Scotland and Wales have First Ministers. What we need is someone speaking up for the West Midlands.

Last week Labour announced radical plans to make this happen. £20 billion currently spent by bureaucrats in Whitehall will be spent here in the West Midlands in towns like Dudley instead. Regions like the West Midlands will have their own Minister to give local people a voice at the top of government.

I know this could make a huge impact on jobs and growth in our area. I had the privilege of working as Minister for the West Midlands under the last Labour government, working with local businesses, councils, colleges and universities to bring investment and jobs to the region.

Bringing local organisations together like this meant we could get hundreds of houses built on Priory Road, the Wrens Nest and in Gornal. It also meant we could help local businesses and make sure local charities got extra funds to help them through the recession.

The government scrapped regional Ministers because they're not interested in what places like Dudley have got to say. We need a strong local voice in Westminster now more than ever. Now is the time to bring back regional ministers.

IMMIGRATION

People often tell me that politicians in Westminster don’t care what they’ve got to say about immigration, but I think it’s an important issue and politicians should be listening.

That’s why I’m pleased that Labour set out a new position on immigration last week.

First let’s be clear: I don’t think it’s racist to worry about the effects of immigration, or to say that immigration should be controlled.

I think that immigration has brought benefits to Britain. But I think if you want to live here you’ve got to be prepared to work hard and pay your way, and I share concerns about the impact immigration has had on people in Dudley and the Black Country.

That’s why when local people told me that border controls should be stronger, I pushed for a tough Australian-style points system. I also called for tougher citizenship and language tests, so that people moving here can play a full part in society.

Now I think there’s more we can do. On jobs and wages, I think we should crack down on agencies and employers hiring solely from abroad and paying less than the minimum wage. Employers should also have to prove they’ve tried to hire locally and should train up young British apprentices for every worker that they take on from abroad.

I also want tighter border controls. It’s no use having tough rules if we don’t have the capacity to enforce them, and figures showing fewer people stopped and deported prove that government cuts to the UKBA are a huge mistake.

NORTHWAY

I know lots of people say politicians are out of touch or that voting doesn’t matter but in Sedgley and elsewhere we work really hard to do things differently and listen to local people. Whether it’s anti-social behaviour or the state of the roads, we’re here for people and work as hard as we can to help.

When local residents living on the Northway in Sedgley contacted me with concerns about speeding on the road, our candidate Wayne Male and I took action. Local residents told me that accidents were becoming more and more frequent, with near misses every other week.

With the help of local campaigners, we sent a survey to hundreds of residents asking what they thought should be done to tackle the issues.

Of more than 300 responses, more than three quarters said that speeding was a serious problem on the Northway, with many saying they had witnessed an accident or knew someone who had been involved in one.

Two-thirds want traffic calming measures to tackle the issue, with 35% backing speed limit signs and 30% calling for speed bumps. Over half believed a pedestrian crossing would reduce accidents, while more than 75% would support a weight limit on the Northway to stop heavy vehicles thundering down the road.

I’m now taking local residents’ views to local councillors and Dudley Council to get something done before more accidents occur.

I think that’s a good example of what we can do when we work together. If there are any issues that that you’re facing that you think I should be aware of or if you need my help, please get in touch by emailing me on ian.austin.mp@parliament.uk or call me on 01384 342 503.

Dudley Chronicle, 17 April

London has a mayor.  Scotland and Wales have First Ministers.  We need someone speaking up for the West Midlands.

Local MP Ian Austin has slammed government plans to cut £7.1 million from an environmental fund benefiting Dudley.

The government’s recent Budget sets out plans to cut £7.1 million from the Landfill Communities Fund which compensates local communities affected by landfill activity.

The fund has previously supported projects in Dudley including the restoration of Ruiton Windmill in Gornal and improvements to Priory Park.

Austin has tabled Parliamentary Questions and written to George Osborne to raise concerns about how the funding cut will affect places like Dudley.

Ian Austin said:

“By choosing to slash £7.1 million from this pot of funding the government has proved yet again that investment in our area just isn’t a priority.

“Projects like the improvements to Priory Park just couldn’t have happened without this funding, so I’m raising my concerns with George Osborne.”

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the value of Landfill Community Fund grants to projects in (a) Dudley North constituency, (b) Dudley Borough, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the performance of projects funded by the Landfill Communities Fund; what plans he has for the future of the fund; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had regarding the future of the Landfill Communities Fund.

Austin slams £7.1 million cut to community fund

Local MP Ian Austin has slammed government plans to cut £7.1 million from an environmental fund benefiting Dudley.


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