This year I promise to keep standing up for folk in Dudley—whether people in Westminster like it or not. My message is clear: I’m on your side.
As we start the New Year, I wanted to let you know about my priorities for the months ahead.
I was brought up here, I went to St Edmunds, Russells Hall and the Dudley School. My first job was at McDonalds on the High Street and like everyone else from Dudley I remember our town’s past. I work hard all year round because I want to make Dudley a strong town again, with strong industries, a strong community and strong public services.
That's why we need to make education our number one priority to help local businesses grow, give youngsters a first class start and help adults get new jobs too. It's the only way we'll attract new investment and new jobs to replace the ones we’ve lost.
Last year seventy percent of people in Dudley voted to leave the EU, and I respect the people I represent so I want the Government to get on with it. I don't want any delays and I will vote to trigger Article 50 as soon as the Prime Minister brings it to Parliament. I'll be working to get the best deal for Dudley by helping local businesses bring new jobs to our area, making sure the Government replaces the EU funding that Dudley gets at the moment especially for skills and training, pushing for a plan on immigration including an end to free movement and an Australian-style points system, safeguarding employment rights and providing extra money for our local NHS as we were promised.
My other pledges are to fight for investment in our local NHS during its worst crisis in recent history, work for investment in our town centre, campaign for investment in local policing, speak up for local people on immigration and to continue using the MPs’ pay rise to increase my support for good causes and organisations in Dudley when many local families are struggling to make ends meet.
I will also be fighting unfair and disproportionate cuts to Dudley’s funding. We all know savings need to be made, but we are losing much more money than other areas, with Dudley losing £76 million in government funding since 2010, almost halving the money available for education, libraries, local roads, housing, care and other services. These cuts are much deeper than wealthy areas like Surrey and Buckinghamshire, and it just isn't possible to lose this much money without Dudley Council being forced to make difficult decisions.
I promise to keep standing up for folk in Dudley—whether people in Westminster like it or not. My message is clear: I’m on your side.