- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
On Sunday 15 January 2017, I was a guest on the BBC Sunday Politics West Midlands. Topics for discussion were Garden Villages, Unite leadership election and the NHS.
I was disappointed that the combined bid from from Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall was unsuccessful in bidding for garden village/town status. The group behind this bid Accord Group have built low carbon homes in my constituency, which can reduce energy bills by up to 50%. Affordable housing is the key priority. Recent figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that affordable housing has reduced from 66,600 in 2014/15 to 32,110 in 2015/16.
I am opposed to building on the green belt, in my view there are plenty of brownfield sites in the Black Country to build new homes. In the last Parliament they promised a flagship ‘garden city’ at Ebbsfleet. Since 2012, we’ve had 32 government announcements on Ebbsfleet but less than 500 homes built – or 16 homes for every press release.
The NHS is experiencing the largest financial squeeze in its history and £4.6 billion has been cut from social care provision. I mentioned that the clinicians who work in A&E have said that what is required to deal with this crisis is for the Government to look at more staff, more funding and a flow of patients. During the Winter, seven trusts had to declare the highest level of emergency 15 times, meaning they were unable to give patients comprehensive care. In addition, A&E departments have turned patients away more than 143 times between 1 December 2016 and 1 January 2017.
Here is the link to the interview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b087ssgr/sunday-politics-west-midlands-15012017