Valerie Vaz MP urges Government to invest in local communities

During the Budget Debate on 21 March 2023 I raised the lack of support for
local authorities which is affecting our communities.

In the Budget there were no measures to invest in people. In Conservative controlled Walsall, we have an abandoned town hall with no one there. The
former police station on Green Lane is a pile of rubble. Nothing has changed.

I met the Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster and Chief
Superintendent Phil Dolby last week to discuss the recent murders and crime on Milton Street. Jack Lowe, who was 18, Bailey Atkinson and Akeem Francis-Kerr were murdered in and around the town centre. On Milton Street, there are
prostitutes and drug dealing—shopkeepers are saying they are tired of seeing
young people with money in their pockets.

Our Sure Starts, an important focus for families, are gone. Palfrey Sure Start
was rated outstanding. There is a lack of health visitors to support families.
There is no investment in schools; Blue Coat Church of England Academy is still
waiting for money to fix its heating. There is no direct support for children or for those who have been excluded from school.

The Chancellor mentioned childcare, but his policy will not come into effect until 2024 and there was nothing on social care. This Budget fixes nothing in Walsall today.

The Chancellor wants to get people with disabilities back into work, but we
cannot even get a lift to help people with disabilities or parents with pushchairs
to access Bescot Stadium station. I wrote to the Minister, who told me to write
to the Mayor. The Mayor told me to write to the Minister again. I call on the
Mayor to use the unspent money, £70 million, from the Commonwealth Games,
for the lifts at Bescot Stadium Station.

In setting out his 4 Es the Chancellor missed out an E—E for excuses—but so far the country has given him an F for failure. He is failing our constituents, our
communities and the country.