Birmingham’s Bids Binned

The Tories have been in charge for thirteen years. During that time we’ve seen the NHS driven to the verge of collapse, our schools are falling apart, the police and justice system is in turmoil, and homelessness has reached crisis point. Still this government denies responsibility and looks elsewhere for scapegoats.

At the 2019 election the Tories promised to fix things by levelling up. Last week, in Birmingham, we saw the reality of those promises. Bids to regenerate Druids Heath in my constituency, one of the poorest parts of the country, Erdington and Northfield high streets didn’t get a penny, while the PM’s wealthy rural constituency was rewarded with an astonishing £19 million. Over £350 million went to projects which have nothing to do with levelling up, like the £45 million allocated to improve roads to Dover.

In Birmingham 42% of children are growing up in poverty, there’s a 10 year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas, and our unemployment rate is double the national average. Even Tory Mayor Andy Street, who we’re normally told has a hotline to Downing Street, has been driven to complain about the ‘begging bowl culture’. It leaves those places most in need to fend for themselves, while those with less call for public funds but a large number of Tory marginal seats have hit the jackpot.

After 13 years it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the only people doing well under the Tories are those who evade their taxes and donors who get seats in the House of Lords or cushy roles in public bodies. Not only has this government failed to level up, it’s done the opposite through acts of vandalism which have destroyed our public services.

The British people who are properly paying their taxes are paying at the highest levels for 70 years. Our growth rates are at their lowest levels since the 1700s. The deficit, which the Tories used as an excuse to cut public expenditure, is now a permanent feature and public debt is at its highest level for 40 years.

We can’t afford the Tories any longer.

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