There’s no powerhouse without an engine


Category: devoComment, West Midlands

Beverley Nielsen, Lib Dem candidate for West Midlands Mayor

I’m a local who’s spent the last 20 years championing our region at home and abroad. I love the energy and enthusiasm of our young; I love our tradition of innovation, design and wish to make things, better things that improve people’s lives here in the West Midlands and around the world. That is why I am standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor.

Through a billion pound innovation fund I will develop our human goldmine creating a ‘mind to market’ goldrush. I will provide bursaries to young people who stay and work in our own manufacturing and SMEs and I will provide them with free transport up to the age of 25 years old.

Once we have done this then all this investment needs to be directed into building up our own army of medium-sized businesses. The growth engine of the West Midlands. Powering our economy and prized as such.

Public sector cuts have been harsh in some case 50% cuts to public service budgets. Services need to be properly funded and properly designed. Public sector reform is right up there on my agenda. Despite the best efforts of those diligent front line staff there have been too many high profile examples of failures in social care, in education and in elderly care.

If we’re not careful the Mayor’s office could be just another layer of bureaucracy that you don’t want. I will ensure that we in the West Midlands Combined Authority are accountable to you.

Because it doesn’t end with the under-investment in essential services and infrastructure we’ve had for decades. Now we’ve got a devolved finance deal that doesn’t stack up. And what’s coming next is worse.

We’re getting less, not more. Any government funding plans won’t take into account the future cuts that we will have to make – far bigger than anything that the government claims to be giving us.

Everyone I speak to wants long term plans. They are sick of quick fixes that do not work. Soundbite policies that come and go. A muddle of initiatives that lead nowhere.

This region’s place in Europe must be preserved at all costs. The West Midlands needs a strong voice during the forthcoming negotiations. Our economy is tied in to Europe and this, we must make sure, is not pointlessly sacrificed. If it is, we will all suffer. You can’t have a Powerhouse without an Engine.

I will ensure that we put the West Midlands where it should be, at the heart of our country. We are the heartland of UK makers and creators, and we need to be at the heart of the great European Single Market

I’ve run my own business and been one of the few female directors of a FTSE 250 manufacturer. I’ve spent the last 10 years helping to promote our emerging talent. Linking new ideas to business. Among other things as regional director of the CBI and CEO of the Heart of England Tourist Board. I have led and started Birmingham Made Me, Midlands Excellence and West Midlands First.

I am the Champion for Change. I am the unifying voice of this region. I am not going to put up and shut up. Our future will be made by us for us. I hope you will support me in tackling these challenges.

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