15 March 2024
Weekly Message to Constituents 205 - £20 million for the Royal Town from the Government!
In the Constituency

£20 million for the Royal Town from the Government!

As I was able to announce last week our Royal Town is to receive £20 million from the government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns.

This will be run and managed by our Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council. The Town Council’s Leader, Simon Ward will be in charge of this process, but there will also be a Board with an independent chair and members from across the community.

I will also sit on the board as the government is clear that your local MP should do so!

The Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council will consider, together with me, who should be the independent chair and we invite those from across the community who would like to serve on the Board to apply.

All further good news for our Town and with the leadership of RSCTC a clear example of devolution in action.




Dragons Den star visits Sutton to talk to businesses

Dragons Den star Sara Davies marked International Women’s Day by giving an inspirational talk to business leaders in Sutton Coldfield.

I popped into the event, at Sutton College on Friday 8th March, as a packed house waited for the entrepreneur, who was invited by Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield BID.

And they were not disappointed – Sara was funny, insightful and honest as she talked about how she got her start in business and rose to become a TV star.

Before the seminar, which was called ‘Let’s Talk Business’, invited guests and BID members mingled and networked, while they enjoying a buffet by Pollers Café and Sandwich Bar.

After being welcomed to the stage by chair Mark Wilkinson, Sara took part in an informal interview with the BID’s Alison Clack - with the former Strictly Come Dancing favourite offering business advice, tips on mentoring and motivation.

At the end of the seminar, which was sponsored by SAV Group and BPG, the new owners of Sutton Coldfield’s Gracechurch Shopping Centre, students from the college presented Sara with flowers. 

This was another fantastic event organised by the BID, which represents more than 300 business in the town centre, covering everything from the college to the cinema on Maney Corner.



Above: With Sutton College’s Deputy Principal Anna Jackson and Kay Burton-Williams, Director of Student Experience before the seminar last week.



Boldmere Junior School in the national reading champions quiz

Fantastic to see Boldmere Junior School took part in the regional heats of the National Reading Champions Quiz!

This quiz is an initiative from the National Literacy Trust, supported by ALCS (the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society). The quiz aims to build a love of reading and celebrate reading for pleasure in schools across the country. 

I am keeping my fingers crossed and wish Boldmere Junior School the very best of luck! #NRCQuiz24



in the Commons

Assisted Dying

As you may recall I have been a long-standing supporter of Dignity in Dying and before I returned to government was co-chair of our group of cross party MPs who work together to ensure Parliament can have a proper vote on this deeply personal issue - which is an matter of conscience, and should not be the subject of any party whip.

The polling shows that support is consistently high -no matter what political party constituents intend to vote for. MPs were also able to meet with people with personal experience of the cruelty of the current law during my time as co-chair.

They heard how the law is failing dying people and why it urgently needs to change. Polling  indicates that around 80 per cent of the people of the Royal Town agree  with me. One of our great supporters is Esther Rantzen.

Dame Esther Rantzen’s daughter Rebecca Wilcox, read out a message from Esther:

“The law at the moment in this country is cruel, complicated and causes terrible suffering to vulnerable people. I have received dozens of letters from people describing the agonising deaths of those they loved. Please make time to debate this life and death issue. 

“I understand some people have religious or other principles which prevent them agreeing to an assisted death, or a change in the law. If the law is changed, they can have their choice. Why can’t I, and those like me at the end of my life? It is my life. It should be my choice.”

The British public has been overwhelmingly in favour of legalising assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults for decades, with similarly high levels of support found across all age groups, socioeconomic circumstances and political views.

I shall be pressing for a free vote and parliamentary time for this vital next great social reform so that your representatives can, I hope, make a change that is long overdue.



Commonwealth day

On Sunday, the Speaker welcomed other Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth parliaments to take park in a Special Celebration and Summit for the 75th Anniversary of the Commonwealth.

This was the opening event to the programme of activities for Commonwealth Day on Monday, which included the flag raising ceremony at the House of Commons.

It was my privilege to address the dinner on behalf of the government.

Above: Here is a picture with Speakers and Presiding officers of the Commonwealth Parliaments. I am somewhere at the back!



In the Chamber

On Tuesday, I took questions from the House of Commons with my Ministerial colleagues on topics relating to Israel and Gaza, our humanitarian efforts, and the release of hostages.

If you would like to watch it, please click here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/a86fa59f-d272-4947-9e9c-cbeaa5c18903



Budget Symmetry

Brilliant news as working people will see £900 off their tax through the 2p reduction in national insurance this year AND a pledge to reduce then eliminate national insurance in the long term.

And for pensioners, there will be a £900 increase in the basic pension this year, with triple lock remaining in place. Under the Tories, pensioners receive strong and reliable increases every year.

Further information

Sutton Coldfield Railway Station, closed from 10pm on Saturday to 6am on Sunday.

There will be a multi-agency incident training exercise taking place in the tunnel of Sutton Coldfield railway station overnight this Saturday (from around 10pm on Saturday 16 March until 6am on Sunday 17 March).

The incident exercise will be a closed event with no access to members of the public.

There will be increased activity on the station car park from around 10pm on Saturday through to 6am on Sunday, and residents may witness flashing lights and hear some noises (loud talking, generator on the car park etc).


Update from West Midlands Trains - Easter Engineering Works

This year the Easter weekend runs from Friday 29 March (Good Friday) to Monday 1 April (Easter Monday).

During this period Network Rail will be carrying out essential upgrades to railway infrastructure which will impact both London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway services.

The primary impacts on the West Midlands Trains network are:

·       No trains will operate to/from London Euston between March 29-April 1 inclusive

·       No trains will operate between Northampton and Milton Keynes on March 30 or March 31 (Easter Sunday)

·       No trains will operate between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey (Abbey Line) between March 29-April 1 inclusive

·       No trains will operate between Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street (Cross City Line) between April 2-April 5 inclusive

Rail replacement transport will be in operation on all affected dates. Customers travelling to London Euston are advised to travel either side of the Easter weekend, or use alternative routes.

More information on these works and travel advice for customers is available on the following dedicated web pages:

London Northwestern Railway: www.lnr.uk/easter

West Midlands Railway: www.wmr.uk/easter


Sepsis Savvy Walk, Sutton Park 16th March

The Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust are backing the Sepsis Savvy Walk, run by The UK Sepsis Trust, a national charity that was founded in Sutton Coldfield by a consultant from Good Hope Hospital.

The Walk is being held in Sutton Park on 16th March, and preparations are underway.

Registration is now open, and you can register here: https://t.co/kMFAn7qJwQ

Coffee Morning, St Columba’s Church Hall:

Farmers and Craft Market:


Sutton popular monthly Farmer’s Market returns for the first time this year, on Easter Sunday.

The monthly event, organised by Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield BID, will include more than 30 stalls along the Parade, when it returns on 31st March from 10am–3pm.

And following the Easter theme, the crowds will be entertained by stilt walking rabbits, while youngsters can get a bunny makeover courtesy of a free face painting stall.

Shoppers will be able to purchase quality, locally produced farm shop foods, bread, fish and cheese, as well as sweet treats like cakes, fudge, chocolate and ice cream.

There will be authentic Indian and Caribbean cuisine, pizza and pies, and even natural, handmade pet treats.


MMR immunisation and measles awareness

Measles is circulating in the West Midlands, and the MMR vaccination provides the best protection against measles.

Please be aware of measles symptoms: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/

If you think you or your child may have measles, contact your GP practice but do not visit unless instructed, as measles can spread to others easily, and 1 in 15 children can develop serious complications, such as meningitis and blindness.

For protection against measles, contact your GP practice to get your MMR immunisations.

Learn more: https://bit.ly/46QPPn1


Mobile Household Recycling Centre Locations

Please see below the visits scheduled for the week commencing 18th March of the BCC Mobile Household Recycling Centre.

·       Tue        19/03/2024                      Calder Drive                     B76 1GG              07:00    12:30                  Sutton Walmley & Minworth      

·       Fri          22/03/2024                      Darnick Road                    B73 6PE              07:00    12:30                  Sutton Vesey