David Cameron and George Osborne have failed every test and broken every promise they've made on the economy.
Dormston School has been taken out of special measures by Ofsted, with inspectors saying it’s making ‘rapid improvements’.
Congratulations to Head Teacher Ben Stitchman, his staff, the governors, parents, pupils and everyone else who has helped keep their promise to get the school out of special measures in a year. I am sure the school will continue to improve in the future.
This improvement shows that with the right leadership schools in Dudley can do just as well as those anywhere else, which is so important because we have to make education and skills our number one priority to attract the new investment and new industries on which our prosperity will depend in the future.
Last week’s Autumn Statement just proved that David Cameron and George Osborne have failed every test and broken every promise they’ve made on the economy.
They promised we’d all be in this together but then they gave millionaires a huge tax cut.
They promised people would be better off but long-term youth unemployment in Dudley is twice the national average and local people are now £1,600 a year worse off.
They promised to balance the books, but with tax revenues down because wages are falling they are nowhere near keeping this promise either.
The Tories just don’t understand the fundamental link between the living standards of everyday working people in Dudley and Britain’s ability to deal with the deficit. George Osborne has now borrowed a staggering £219 billion more than he planned and the economy is set to slow down next year after forecasts for wages have been revised down again.
Yet the Chancellor still tries to claim that the economy is fixed and his plan is working. How out of touch can you get?
What we need is a plan that supports people in Dudley as well as the economy as a whole. I want a fairer minimum wage, more free childcare for working parents, an end to the bedroom tax and cuts to business rates for small firms. That way we can balance the books in a fairer way.
POLICE STATION CLOSURES
In just two weeks over a thousand people have backed my campaign to keep Dudley Police Station open to the public.
Now local former police officers are speaking up the issue too. Roger Bagley, a former Superintendent in Dudley Police, told me that “a town the size of Dudley must have a police station that’s open to the public. It’s part of having a strong, visible police presence in the town to deter crime and give the public confidence in the police. That’s why this campaign is so important.”
I completely agree. People with frontline experience of policing in Dudley are backing my campaign because these cuts will mean fewer police on the streets, fewer offenders brought before court and fewer criminals put in jail.
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When me or a member of my family is ill, we queue up at Russells Hall like anybody else in Dudley, so I’m really concerned by a new report highlighting shortcomings at the hospital.
The official report rates staff care and leadership at the hospital as good, but raises concerns about safe staffing levels, saying that “the trust must ensure that staffing levels and cover for vacant shifts is satisfactory”.
Doctors, nurses and other staff are working flat out at Russells Hall but the government has squandered £3 billion on reorganising the NHS instead of supporting them. As a result Russells Hall is facing a £12 million deficit, job cuts and rising waiting times.
The Tories need to get a grip on their finances and give frontline staff the support they need.
CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION
One of the nicest things about my job is judging the Christmas card competition we run every year. My desk is piled up with brightly-coloured cards designed by kids at local primary schools and I have the difficult task of choosing a winner.
The standard was higher than ever this year, but an entry from Ellie Durnall of Milking Bank Primary School really stood out. She drew a brilliant picture of Santa flying over Dudley Castle with animals at the zoo dressed up for Christmas. The card will soon be will be finding its way through the letterboxes of thousands of people across the country, including the Queen.
I’m looking forward to popping in to Milking Bank to thank Ellie and present her with her prize.
Last week I joined local businesswoman Rose Cook for a mince pie at the grand opening of her new town centre shop Vintage Rose above Castle Collectibles on Birdcage Walk. If you’re after a Christmas gift make sure you pop in and take a look at the great vintage clothes, gifts and furniture on offer.