Dudley North MP Ian Austin has issued his report on Andy Street’s first year in office.
He’s given the Mayor ten out of ten for public relations but said he try harder when it comes to tackling the region’s problems:
- On the key issue of unemployment the West Midlands has gone backwards under Andy Street. There are 5,300 more people unemployed in the West Midlands Combined Authority area than when he took office.
- Money promised several months ago to tackle homelessness is yet to arrive, and will come after one of the coldest winters in recent years, during which scores of people slept rough on our region’s streets.
- The region has seen a huge increase in rough sleeping, but Andy Street’s target to tackle the problem is exactly the same as the government.
- Despite bold promises, Andy Street failed to convince his own Conservative Government and bosses at Channel 4 to move a proper HQ out of London. The Chief Executive and top bosses will remain in the capital and there is no guarantee that the region will be home to one of the offices they set-up outside of London.
- Building work has stalled at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, despite the Mayor pledging personally to help get work moving. The site has been dormant for well over a hundred days and the opening of the hospital could be delayed until 2022, four years after it was originally due to open.
- The region has been successful in gaining the City of Culture for Coventry and the Commonwealth Games in 2022 but those achievements were led by Labour councils not the Mayor and work had started on the successful bids well before he was elected.
- After years of campaigning by local councils and MPs, the government finally agreed to back the extension of the Metro to Brierley Hill, but work by transport bosses was also well underway before the Mayor’s election
Ian Austin said:
“Andy Street has been in office a year but progress so far has been pretty disappointing.
“I’ll give him ten out of ten for PR, but when it comes to tackling the region’s problems, the verdict has to be: “must try harder”.
“On unemployment Andy Street has failed disastrously. Over 5,000 more people are unemployed now than a year ago. Rough sleeping has soared, we’ve had one of the coldest winters in living memory, but the funds we’ve been promised by the government are still to arrive and the targets he’s set are exactly the same as the government’s.”