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West Midlands candidates make pre-Election pledges in response to hundreds of community members

West Midlands Mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner candidates make pre-Election pledges in response to hundreds of community members

In May 2024, elections for our next Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner will be held across the West Midlands. In preparation for this, Birmingham Citizens held an event on the 25th of April where we asked candidates for their pledges on the issues that matter most to our community members. Hundreds of young people, faith leaders, community groups and more came together and asked for change on housing, employment and safety.

Local people know best which issues are impacting their communities, and the solutions needed to make change. This is what some of the candidates had to say in response to Birmingham Citizens.


A video summary of the issue and our asks.

We call on the next Mayor of the West Midlands to make pledges on the following:

Will building family homes for social and affordable rent be included within your strategic objectives on housing? If so, how many will be built and where?

There is currently no mention of plans to build homes for social or affordable rent on the Combined Authority’s website.

"The answer is categorically: Yes. And the number as a minimum of 2,000 homes for social rent across the region every year."

Andy confirmed that this is possible due to the funding he negotiated as part of the devolution deal.

He also stated "We are the only region in the country to have delivered on our overall housing targets - about 16,000 homes a year. Anything we contribute to, a third of those are affordable homes (not social) but affordable homes."

"I plan to use the £250 million that the Combined Authority hasn't used of its housing budget, to pump-prime social housing delivered and developed by housing associations so in the first year of my mayoralty we can deliver up to 5,000 new units of social housing benefiting everyone across this region. I'll also commit to using future funds in such a way that I too will deliver an additional 2,000 units of social housing every year, with a plan by the end of the decade of delivering 20,000 units of social housing."

Will you develop a Good Landlord’s Charter in our region, as piloted in Greater Manchester?

The steep rise in complaints against social and private landlords along with the reduction in access to local housing advice & advocacy is eroding community trust and confidence as more vulnerable households feel they are sent ‘pillar to post’ when they seek help

"The answer is yes. In the spirt of honestly I don't want anyone to think this is going to be an easy fix. It's voluntary in Manchester, it would be voluntary here and enforcement would still remain the responsibility of the local authority."

"I want to crack down on rogue landlords. I will enforce a register of rogue landlords, ensuring that no one has to stay in accommodation that is unfit for human habitation."

Andy Street and Richard Parker's full responses on housing.


A video summary of the issue and our asks.

We call on the next Mayor of the West Midlands to build a Community Jobs and Skills Compact with us thus creating a community-led movement on work.

The Compact would bring together Civil Society organisations in membership of Citizens UK, Employers, and Statutory Agencies to collaborate via an Action Plan to dismantle barriers to employment and skills development. This will help deliver the new approach identified in WMCA’s Employment & Skills Strategy 2024-2027. We require the compact to focus on the following areas:

  1. Improve access to pre-entry ESOL and low-level Basic Skills courses for those with no qualifications.
  2. Improve access to entry-level jobs that pay no less than the real living wage for those with no qualifications and experience.
  3. Fund community advice surgeries in schools, places of worship and voluntary organisations to link 1:1 and group employment support to those who are long-term unemployed or economically inactive.
  4. Promote all paid work experience placements for young people across the region on one website.
  5. Establish better practices for employers to recruit directly from local communities through local Jobs Fairs, Work Placements, Bespoke Training and Mentoring.
  6. Promote the West Midlands as a Living Wage region by getting employers to accredit, with a particular focus on health and care workers receiving a real Living Wage.

"Categorically: Yes. I can say that because I was asked this 6 months ago and the Combined Authority is doing that work across all the headings that have been pulled out. In the spirit of fairness, whoever becomes the next Mayor, that work is already underway."

"I'm very please to say that I subscribe to and agree with all of your asks"

"I look forward, if successful on the 2nd of May, to working with Birmingham Citizens on an implementation and delivery strategy."

Andy Street and Richard Parker's full responses to our asks on Work.
Lots of people in a room clapping with hands raised in the air


A video summary of the issue and our asks.

We call on the next West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner to make pledges on the following:

Will you publish long-term area action plans on how youth violence will be tackled on the ground in the different parts of the region?

So, people can find out everything that is actually happening or is being planned where they live or work to prevent youth violence – without having to attend regular meetings or a conference/summit to find out.

"I will make sure that firstly, you are able to access all information currently available on action being taken to tackle youth violence in the different parts of the region. And secondly, we can identify what else it is you want to know so we can see how best it can be made available to realise your request for long term area action plans....The VRP [Violence Reduction Partnership] has published its statutory needs assessment and the delivery plan will be published by the end of May."

"We must have robust, long term plans in every area - so I'm very happy to commit to having long term area action plans which I will share and make readily available."

Will you work with other public agencies – in particular the Police, the NHS & local councils - to deliver staff training to improve how they undertake community engagement free from any incidents of abuse and harassment?

"There is no place for hate in the West Midlands, whether in person or online, its abhorrent and it must be culled. And you're right - it is women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds who are disproportionately the victims."

"I will work with you to tackle hate in the context of community engagement and training is part of the solution but it will not end hate on its own. We need a comprehensive and effective plan."

"A necessary part of this work is making sure that we aren't subject to hate - nobody in our region is subject to hate and every community must be free of hatred. I'm very happy to commit to working on training to enable this to happen but also I will be ensuring that there is sufficient funding available to support victims of hate crime, bring perpetrators to justice, which most importantly should prevent it and encourage reporting."

Note: You can find information on all the Mayoral candidates here, and the Police and Crime Commissioner candidates here. Please see our basis for candidate invitations here.

Posted by Sylvie Pope on 29 Apr, 2024