Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Dudley Chronicle, 18 September

Hard-working and law-abiding majority in Dudley will agree - the best way to prevent crime is to get criminals locked up.

COPS AND ROBBERS

Did you see Cops and Robbers on Channel Four last week?

The programme featured two habitual criminals from Dudley and it created a terrible impression of our town.

You can find people like that anywhere and I wish they’d filmed it somewhere else.

I think it’s my job to stand up for the decent hard-working and law-abiding majority in Dudley who will be just as appalled as I was at their behaviour.

The best way to prevent crime is to lock them up.

DORMSTON

I was delighted to open a new art studio and sports courts at Dormston School in Sedgley last week.

The school is getting these new facilities thanks to the hard work of new Head Teacher Ben Stitchman and his colleagues.

Two years ago, just 40% of pupils got five A-C’s at GCSE and 35% at GCSE including English and Maths. This year 58% got five A-C’s at GCSE and 53% at GCSE including English and Maths.

It just shows that we are as good as anyone. With the right support, young people from Dudley can do just as well as those anywhere else.

Why should children born in Dudley face worse prospects than children born elsewhere? Let’s make education our number one priority in Dudley to bring better schools, better skills and better jobs to the area.

SEVEN STARS

Last week I took the campaign to save the Seven Stars in Sedgley to Parliament.

I'm backing local campaigners battling to protect the pub after Morrisons announced plans to turn it into a supermarket.

I’m very concerned about the loss of a popular, profitable and well-run local pub. But I’m also worried about the loss of parking spaces for the school, traffic turning into a shop on what is a busy road and the impact that a new supermarket would have on businesses in Sedgley town centre.

That's why I stood up in the House of Commons and called on Ministers to support talks between Marston's, Morrisons and local campaigners on the future of the pub.

Ministers agreed with me that talks should go ahead immediately, putting even more pressure on Marston's and Morrisons to get round the table and secure the pub's future.

I'm still doing everything I can to help: I’ve already written to Marston’s and to Morrisons urging them to come and listen to local people, I’ve urged the council to investigate whether they can prevent it being used for a supermarket and I want them to make the pub an ‘Asset of Community Value’ to provide further protection.

In the long run I want the government to change the planning rules so pubs can’t be sold off or demolished without planning permission. That way residents will always get a say on what happens to their local.

28 pubs are shutting across the country every week. Let’s prevent the Seven Stars being another one.

Please sign the on-line petition here.

BERT BISSELL

What a privilege it was to go to Bert Bissell's Bible Class which now meets at Dixon's Green Methodist Church on Sunday.

It's now been about a month since a team including Councillor Adam Aston, Deputy Mayor Councillor Steve Waltho, Armed Forces Champion Councillor Dave Tyler and Shaz Saleem tackled Ben Nevis in awful weather in honour of local hero Bert.

We've already raised getting on for £4000 and collected more cheques at the church on Sunday.

I've been overwhelmed by the response to our walk from local people who remember Bert Bissell with such esteem and affection.

It is incredible to think he is such an inspiration to local people that local charities including Action Heart, Guide Dogs, the Children’s Unit at Russell’s Hall Hospital, the local Royal British Legion, and Black Country Fast Aid to support local ambulances will still benefit from his memory. I think that’s a brilliant tribute to Bert and all he did for the community in Dudley.

MPS' PAY RISE

There's been lots in the news again about an MPs' pay rise. I want to be really clear - I think this increase is completely bonkers and I won’t be accepting it.

I’m from Dudley and being the town’s MP is a huge privilege. It’s a well-paid job, but I earned more before I was an MP so I’m not in it for the money.

Times are tough for people in Dudley and when so many local families are struggling with the cost of living and others are subject to pay restraint, I’ll use it to increase my support for good causes and organisations in Dudley.

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