As the country struggles with near double-digit inflation and crippling strikes, one group of taxpayer-funded workers are doing very nicely for themselves. At a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority Board:
“It was agreed that the Monitoring Officer should write to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to request that the West Midlands Combined Authority Order 2016 be further amended to allow the payment of allowances to all members and co-opted members of the WMCA.”
To cut through the jargon: they’re asking the government for a taxpayer-funded blank cheque…
This wasn’t the only cash-grab made by the council, they also “agreed all allowances should be index-linked and increased annually as proposed”. With inflation at its current rate, that will mean thousands of pounds are dished out in near 10% pay rises. Even nurses are being denied the same privilege.
To be fair, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has committed to turn down his £16,000 bonus. Let’s not give him too much credit, he is a multimillionaire…
Labour’s Liam Byrne struck an unforgiving tone on yesterday’s West Midlands Politics Live, calling out those who have protested during the pandemic, and even backing a stricter response from the police against those who break the spirit and letter of the stay at home rules. Could this be the same Liam Byrne who himself was out protesting just last week, speaking to GMB Union members protesting British Gas?
“I’ve organised a few demos myself in my time, but in the middle of a pandemic? Really? I do think we have all got a responsibility to row in behind the police… we need everybody from the Prime Minister down to be reinforcing both the spirit and the letter of the rules.”
Presumably hypocritical Byrne will be now taking himself off to the West Midlands Police headquarters to hand himself in.
At the weekend Labour’s West Midlands candidates for mayor and police and crime commissioner were busy campaigning. Despite repeated pleas from the candidates for the general public to follow the rules – especially as Birmingham is under stricter measures than much of the country – the rules clearly did not seem to apply to their own campaign. Deputy leader of Birmingham Council Brigid Jones and PCC candidate Simon Foster both merrily advertised themselves breaching the rule of six and social distancing rules. Or has Labour U-turned again on the rule of six after all?
Liam Byrne has defeated former Respect Party Leader Salma Yaqoob and former Dudley Council leader Pete Lowe to become Labour’s candidate for the West Midlands Mayoralty. Despite endorsements from Unite and Momentum, Yaqoob came third. See more about the candidates here…
UPDATE: The votes were as follows: Byrne came first in first preferences (3,105 out of 6,948 valid votes), Lowe was second (with 2,034) and Yaqoob third (1,809). After second preferences were redistributed, Byrne received 56.5% of the vote and Lowe received 43.5%.
Point 2 of Siôn Simon’s 10 point plan for the Midlands is to rebuild “the West Midlands as Britain’s capital of technology”. A noble aim. As he says
“The collective geniuses of the West Midlands are game-changers – global and historic leaders. We should celebrate this more. As Mayor, I will champion our region”
So, besides soundbites, what has candidate Siôn done to champion his region?
Well to be fair there is not a lot he can do out of power. He does however have a fancy campaign website – so what Brummie web wizards did he get in to showcase Britain’s would be capital of technology by building his website? Errr…
His website was built by Tectonica, in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
So much for bringing those technology jobs to the West Midlands…
Yesterday Guido reported on how arch-Europhile Sion Simon was impersonating a Brexiteer to win votes in the West Midlands mayoral election. Sion has been busy deleting pages from his website so he can keep up the charade. A statement he published back in June explaining his support for Remain has mysteriously vanished.
Unfortunately Sion is not a ‘proppa blogger‘ so he doesn’t realise that nothing ever really disappears from the internet:
“Until June 23rd I will be focussing on the campaign for the UK to remain in the European Union.”
Can’t think why Simon, an MEP on a fat Brussels salary remember, would campaign to Remain. Nor why he suddenly wants to pretend he didn’t…