Message from Andrew Mitchell

5th June 2020

As the weekend starts, I am sending you my eleventh weekly message to all residents throughout Sutton Coldfield and with my best wishes, I hope you are safe and well.

Sutton Park and some of our other recreational spaces continue to attract large groups of people and many residents have expressed concern about crime, anti-social behaviour, drug use and the large amount of litter that has been left behind especially over the past two weekends. Last weekend I contacted the Police and park rangers and asked for urgent action to be taken to tackle these issues. I am pleased that the Police have carried out a number of arrests and stepped up patrols of the park. I am also glad that extra resources are now being deployed to help solve the litter problem and that fire service patrols are in place to tackle BBQs. A meeting with the parks department and the Police will set out plans for the coming weeks. I'll be following up to ensure that we see an urgent improvement. A particular thanks to Plogging Sutton Coldfield, more than 60 local residents have volunteered to help them, it is a wonderful support for our park and all those who use it and I am grateful to everyone that has volunteered their time to pick up litter.

The first week of June marks volunteers' week and the past few months have certainly amplified the huge contribution that volunteers make to our Royal Town. Hundreds of volunteers and community groups have stepped up to support the most vulnerable members of our community and in particular I would like to thank all those who have been working with the Sutton Together initiative.

With many schools starting to reopen to a greater number of pupils, I want to take the opportunity to thank Heads, teachers and governors for their hard work and for all that they are doing to prepare for the months ahead. The ongoing support that teachers have provided to vulnerable children and children of key workers has been incredibly important and I know that locally many teachers have gone above and beyond to help their pupils since the lockdown began.

We have a large number of people in Sutton Coldfield who work directly or indirectly for the airline industry. Over recent weeks I have received a large number of emails from British Airways staff. I appreciate that it continues to be a very worrying time for BA staff and their families as well as others in the airline industry, as the company sets out proposals to restructure its business. I have written to British Airways expressing concern on behalf of all BA staff across Sutton Coldfield. I am also supporting Huw Merriman MP’s call for a debate in Parliament on this issue and I am backing his campaign to hold British Airways accountable for their actions.

Many others locally have contacted me about the Public Health England report on disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19. The relationship between ethnicity and coronavirus clearly requires further investigation. Approximately 35% of patients critically ill with Covid-19 are from the BAME population. I have tabled a number of Parliamentary questions on this subject and more widely on what the Government is doing to support BAME communities and at risk groups. I’ll be studying the report closely over the weekend, it is important that we look at the findings to ensure that we do more to protect the key workers who give so much to our local community.

As so many others in Sutton have been, I have been deeply shocked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by the American Police. Many people have commented in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and racism and discrimination more widely. Mr Floyd’s death was unconscionable and follows a long line of others before him. There are lessons to learn for all of us on racial inequality and that includes MPs here in the UK. The Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a very powerful eulogy at George Floyd’s memorial if you would like to see it you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAvPo5DVHOk

The remaining stages of the Commonwealth Games Bill will take place next Thursday in Parliament and I hope to speak in the debate this is incredibly important for our local area and for the Royal Town which will play a big part in the Commonwealth Games mainly but not only because of our park.

Today the Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority has been asked to approve the use of £2.6m for a programme of activities designed to secure further benefits from the Games. The event is already expected to bring millions of pounds into the West Midlands economy and create thousands of jobs. Approval by the Board would enable a business case for a Tourism Trade and Investment programme to be submitted to the Government to help secure a further £21.3m of match funding. As we look at our coronavirus recovery plans it is important that we take full advantage of the Commonwealth Games and all that the event have to offer our region.    

As your MP I am here to help so if you feel I can assist with any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact by emailing me on andrew.mitchell.mp@parliament.uk in the meanwhile stay safe and best wishes.

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP
Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP