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Westminster Column


I am delighted to open this column with some very positive news for Sutton Coldfield. At 2.9%, Sutton Coldfield has the lowest unemployment rate in Birmingham and since January the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has steadily dropped – 52 claimants in Sutton secured employment last month and 130 young claimants aged between 18-24 have gained employment since January. In addition, crime in Sutton Coldfield has continued to fall and is down by 25% over the last year.

Investment is key to this local success – new shops are arriving in the Town Centre and there are already commitments to over £1 million to be invested in the next 5 years. I will be Chairing a Public Meeting on the future of Sutton Coldfield Town Centre at the Town Hall on Friday 7 September 2012 at 10.00am. I very much hope that you will come along; everyone is most welcome.

There is more good news for the Midlands – Jaguar Land Rover recently announced plans to invest £200 million at its factory in Castle Bromwich, doubling its capacity. Indeed this week alone the Company has announced over 1000 new jobs.

Nationally, in spite of discouraging figures, we are also seeing encouraging signs of economic improvement. The Office of National Statistics has recently published figures showing that not only is unemployment falling but in overall terms there are now almost 100,000 fewer people claiming benefits since the 2010 election. Youth unemployment has also dropped – down 10,000 on the previous quarter. We still have a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction and a sign that the job market is beginning to stabilise. After all we have seen nearly 800,000 new jobs generated by the private sector since the last General Election.

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A number of Sutton Coldfield residents have already responded to last week’s article on the Royal Town and have let me know that they are working hard to find evidence to support the re-instatement of the Town’s Royal status. With the help of Sutton’s residents and the team at the Observer, I think we stand a good chance of restoring Sutton Coldfield’s Royal title. I encourage anyone with information to contact either me or the paper.

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Today is the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, the start of the UK hosting an incredible summer of sport and culture. We have delivered the Olympic Park on-time and on-budget and will host 15,000 athletes, 30 days of competition, 21,000 official media and around 120 Heads of State. This is a fantastic opportunity for Britain and we are doing everything we can to deliver a safe and secure Olympics.

In Sutton, residents have embraced the Olympic spirit, hosting a successful Community Games ahead of the London 2012 Olympics and I think the number of local businesses delivering valuable Olympic contracts demonstrates the quality and reliability of businesses in Sutton Coldfield.

I am particularly proud that Sutton has a representative in the Games and am sure we all send our very best to hockey player Laura Unsworth who has been chosen to represent Great Britain. Laura is part of a strong women’s hockey team that is hoping to be in the running for a medal.

If you are going to the Olympics plan your travel by visiting: www.getaheadofthegames.com

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Finally, I would like to congratulate ‘Inspire’, the team from Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls, for their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the national Skills Factor Challenge in which they won third prize for their revision resource for students.



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