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Birmingham, Erdington

Birmingham Erdington is located in the West Midlands. It was created in its current form in 1974 and has been held by Labour ever since.

The current member of parliament is Labour’s Jack Dromey who has served since 2010.

2010 General Election Results (Adjusted for non-voters)
Birmingham Erdington

For more information, click here to visit the Wikipedia article.

Candidates

Joe Belcher

Background
I’m not your typical politician – I’ve worked in many unrewarding low paid jobs, I didn’t go to private school or university and one of the most important things is that I’ve lived a large part of my life in poverty. I’ve been homeless and I believe among other things, it’s this kind of experience that has helped me to understand the real value of life.

With literally nobody to represent me in parliament with the exception of Caroline Lucas, I decided to do something. I researched the Green Party and shortly after saving up the pennies to cover the cost of the £5 membership fee, I became a member.

I found out there was no Green Party candidate standing in Erdington. So I contacted the party and asked about becoming the candidate. After a week or so of the Green Party examining my application, which had details of my activism and volunteer work abroad, I was put forward as a potential candidate for members to then democratically decide if I should be the candidate or not, and thanks to everyone who took part I was selected with 100% of the vote.

I’m not in this for the money or the status. I’m getting involved because I care and I can’t sit back waiting for MPs to abandon their own personal agendas and start acting in the interests of the people. I believe it’s time for an overhaul in personnel in Parliament, too many seem tainted, untrustworthy and have no real connection to what it’s like to live in the real world.

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
This is a big one for me. Democracy is failing in Britain. We’ve got an electoral system which sees very few people ‘winning’ in terms of getting the representation they want, leaving the vast majority without adequate representation in parliament and in their local communities. I want to see an open democracy in which constituents can directly change government policy and democratically determine new projects within the communities. One way we’ll do this is with the new Erdington People’s Budget where constituents will be asked to put forward ideas for community projects for all the constituents to then democratically choose which project to go ahead with.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
I would like to replicate the kind of successes that our MP Caroline Lucas has, she’s won MP of the year award twice in her short time and I’m grateful to have Caroline as a role model and colleague. These are my pledges:

1. To provide firm opposition to austerity and to push for sustainable solutions to be applied to everyday problems.
2. To defend local services from austerity cuts.
3. To stand up for our communities, that means ALL people within our communities and defending our environment and green spaces.
4. To help local people struggling with housing issues, unemployment and combat homelessness.
5. To fight for a better and more affordable public transport.
6. To push for the minimum wage to become a living wage, £10ph by 2020.
7. To defend the NHS both locally and nationally and fully support the NHS Reinstatement Bill championed by the Green Party.
8. To oppose fracking, a dangerous and hazardous pursuit for energy which could have devastating far-reaching consequences.
9. To promote investment into renewable energies.
10. To support local businesses to achieve sustainability goals.
11. To improve democracy and constituent involvement via community-led projects and open forums. Your say is important to both me and democracy.
12. To set up a new Erdington People’s Budget (EPB) for constituents to democratically decide projects in the constituency.
12a. To annually invest 10-20% of my MP salary into the EPB, creating a bigger budget for the constituency. MPs are paid too much and I’d like to give some of that money to the community.

3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
I can’t see anything of significance that stands out from Jack’s record, but I have been studying his voting record and there’s a lot I strongly disagree with. Through a service called theyworkforyou,com, which collects information on all elected MPs and archives their voting record in parliament, I found Jack to be what’s known as a ‘robot politician’ never rebelling against his party whip, always toeing the party line. Even when the public are in clear disagreement with the government, Jack voted for the Iraq war and later voted against an investigation into the war. He voted for the renewal of Trident, which I’m firmly against. He voted against having a referendum on the EU, I’m pro-choice and what I want to see is the public having a say in more government decisions, not less. Jack also voted for mass surveillance and retention of information about our communications, that’s not the direction we need to be heading in, the loss of privacy and personal freedom.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
Austerity isn’t working. We’ve seen the gap between rich and poor increase, record numbers depending on food banks and charities. There’s a better way to manage our finances and it doesn’t involve punishing the poorest most vulnerable in society. It involves investment into renewable energies to drive down the cost of living. It involves building 500,000 energy efficient council homes and ending the right-to-buy so that these homes don’t end up in the hands of extortionate landlords. We need to build stronger local economies with focus on small businesses and local cooperatives. Most of all we need to close tax loopholes and make sure multinational corporations and the wealthiest individuals aren’t cheating the taxpayer by not paying their fair share in taxes.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
When talking about immigration we have to think globally at why people migrate to certain countries more than others and that comes down to the issue of inequality and instability. We need to work closely with other nations to improve the quality of life in all countries, not just ours. Having NATO and Russia play war games in Eastern Europe is increasing the levels of migration from the region. Wars, invasions and bombing campaigns in the middle east, all increase migration from the region. Climate is continually affecting coastal and low level populations and causing mass destruction as well as causing mass migration. Combating these issues will inevitably reduce migration and improve the lives of billions of people worldwide.
6. Many people are concerned about the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
I’m glad this question is being asked. The Green Party are the only main party in England and Wales advocating the minimum wage to be a living wage, rising to £10ph by 2020. It’s unacceptable for anybody to be in poverty, but to be in work and in poverty in 2015 is completely unacceptable. We’ll enforce rent caps to ensure that people aren’t priced out of their homes. We’ll invest in renewable energies and insulate homes to a better energy efficiency level, combating fuel poverty and driving down the cost of energy.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
Back in public hands. Profit has no place in our health service. The Green Party are championing the NHS Reinstatement Bill and I’m in full support. The NHS needs investment and we can raise the funds we need through the Wealth tax on the top 2% wealthiest individuals and the Robin Hood tax.
8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
Unemployment can be remedied with two solutions, education and jobs. Tackling Climate Change will create around a million jobs, in flood defence, renewable energies and recycling. Free education will provide better conditions for young people to equip themselves with the education they need to increase their chances of long lasting employment. Locally I’ll be tackling unemployment directly with community led projects of which the workforce will be people who live in the constituency and local businesses.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
100%, that’s why so many of us are unsatisfied by the government and the two bigger parties. Large portions of the population are neglected and the lack of diversity in parliament creates the kind of politics we’ve recently had in Britain. I’m not from wealthy background or from a private school, my life has been quite different to most MPs and adding me to parliament would increase diversity in terms of my age (29), political intentions, personality and background.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would always encourage anybody to vote for what you believe in. As the MP I’d ensure all the facts and figures for both sides were accessible to all constituents for people to make their own informed decision about whether to stay in or come out of the EU. My personal vote would be to stay in the EU, but work to make it a better EU for all people.

Ted Woodley

Background
I am 30 years old and I feel extremely honoured to have the opportunity to stand in this election to represent my constituency, Erdington.

I work on the railway and have been employed in public transport and have been a member of a trade union throughout my working life.

I came into political campaigning in my early twenties after I came to the realisation that there is something fundamentally wrong with a society which has made such incredible scientific and technological achievements, amassed such enormous wealth yet seems to be incapable of looking after all of its citizens. The mega-rich are getting even richer and the rest of us are getting poorer.

I then learned about the history of our country, in the past the masses got organised and successfully fought for improvements to their lives collectively. I think that although life looks different today to the way it look 100 years ago the fundamental problems are the same: super-wealth on the one side and unemployment and poverty on the other.

The problem is that today there is no mass party around to organise and represent working class people as the Labour Party once did. All of the other parties out there claim to represent ‘everyone’ yet I believe it is impossible to look after the rich and poor at the same time, you must choose a side: who should make the big decisions and control the wealth in our society: the bosses or the workers?

As a trade unionist and a member of the RMT transport workers’ union I see the potential for a real change when ordinary working people get organised. I believe the unions have a vital role to play in rebuilding the political representation of working people.

I am a frequent user of public services and I understand how vitally important it is that we as a community fight to defend them. My children were born in the Women’s Hospital and attended the excellent Featherstone Nursery School and Children’s Centre.

I want to see my kids grow up in a society which offers them a free education, a decent home to buy or rent, a free publicly owned NHS, a secure job and enough money so that they can afford a few luxuries in life as well as the basics. I don’t think this is too much to ask – there is plenty of money in this country to pay for it.

It is with this in mind that I promise the people of Erdington: to represent you to the best of my ability and to offer a future of socialism and hope based on us moving forward as a community, not one of fear and despair.

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
For starters I will reject the full MP’s salary of £67,000 and continue to live on my current railway worker’s salary. I will donate the difference to good causes including campaigns against government and local council austerity measures. I will also base myself and spend the majority of my time in Erdington, not in London. Most MPs get sucked into the elite Westminster ‘bubble’ once they’re elected (if that isn’t where they come from) with their generous expenses, wining and dining and second homes. I reject all of that and will remain on hand for the people I represent.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
My politics and personal qualities make me the best candidate. I am a socialist, an active trade unionist and a community campaigner. I am young and have clear views on how society is run now and how I think it should be run instead. How many of the other candidates are able to offer exciting and ambitious policies and concretely explain how we are going to make them a reality? Who else is saying working people have the right to decent quality jobs, homes and services and that we need to unite ourselves against the powers that be in the big corporations and the Establishment and fight to change things? TUSC is! I’m local, my kids go to local schools and like everyone else’s they deserve a decent future. I’m committed to fighting for this.
3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
He’s been successful in opening his parachute before he landed in Erdington, an area of a city in which he’s never lived prior to being elected! Seriously though, I’ve no reason to believe that Jack Dromey lacks integrity on a personal level, however I disagree with his politics and the politics of his party. He represents a party which believes in brutal austerity, making the working and poor people of this country pay for the mess caused by the bankers and big capital and are incapable of standing up to the Tories in any meaningful way. It’s a shame that Labour has become ‘Tory-lite’ but working people must move forward and build a new party of our own.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
Austerity is working for some people – the rich, the bankers and other sections of the elite. It clearly isn’t working for the unemployed, the precarious workers on zero hour contracts, the students who are forced to take on massive debts in order to get through university and many others. Britain’s capitalist economy is weaker than they would have us believe, facing one if not two more parliaments of austerity to square their circle.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
To the pound-shop Enoch Powell’s of UKIP or the Sun I say ‘Stop blaming migrants for the crisis in Britain – a crisis created by the economic system and the bankers at the top’.

To bosses I say ‘we’ll stop you seeking ever cheaper, easy to exploit labour as a way of pushing down all our wages’.

We’ll build homes and pay decent wages to all workers. The establishment want cheap labour but they don’t want the bill to provide decent homes and jobs for all.

I oppose racist immigration controls but want all workers to be paid the rate for the job, to stop the wages race to the bottom. Migrants are often super-exploited and pay more into the economy than they take out. But it’s also true that government cuts means there’s insufficient public services, schools and homes in many, often poorer, communities and that must stop now.

6. Many people are concerned about the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
By having wages indexed to prices, through legislation or unions fighting for it. Some council workers haven’t had pay rise in 10 years while the cost of living has soared. The cost of energy can be brought under control by renationalising the energy companies, introducing price controls and investing in cleaner, greener and more efficient electricity generation methods. Rent controls are an urgent necessity with private landlords taking advantage of the lack of supply and ripping off tenants. We will stop this.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
The NHS is the pride of Britain. Stop and reverse privatisation within the NHS. End PFI, Kick out private companies leeching off the NHS. The election of the Tory government saw adverts across the United States business pages inviting private firms who’ve messed up USA’s health care to come and get a share of our £100 billion budget.

Unfortunately New Labour pushed the process of privatisation by stealth. Labour built the bridge of privatisation that the Tories are now driving their tanks over.
Only TUSC, as socialists, can be trusted to defend a public NHS. We think the pharmaceutical companies should be nationalised and run to meet the needs of patients, not shareholders.

There is as high as a 12-15 year difference in life expectancy between wealthier and poorer areas in Britain. Social change and a more equal society itself will also generate better health.

8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
We would create more jobs by reducing the working week without loss of pay and share out the work, we would make cheap loans available for small businesses to expand and we would invest in a major eco friendly house building programme, tackling the housing shortage and creating many jobs at the same time. We would ban zero hours contracts and offer a triple guarantee: a education, an apprenticeship or a job. In the sixth richest economy on the planet we should be able to organise society so that people’s needs are taken care of once they leave school.
We would pay for this by introducing a levy on the £800bn lying idle in the vaults of British big business which they are refusing to invest and we would also crack down on the estimated £120bn tax avoided and evaded by the wealthy each year.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
There aren’t enough socialists in parliament and working class women and men are not sufficiently represented. Parliament and the government should reflect the communities represented but the electoral system we have doesn’t and we think that we need to look at how the system can be changed so that it can more fairly reflect different politics and types of people that make up the population.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would say vote to leave the EU. I believe in international solidarity of working people but this isn’t what the EU is about. It is a bosses club which serves big business not ordinary working people. It is pro-austerity, pro-privatisation and undemocratic.
We reject the narrow nationalism of Tory and UKIP opposition to the EU. The establishment parties only argue over how best for the wealthy to rule, in or out of Europe.
In previous answers I said the ultra-free marketis failing. The EU is the free market gone mad and it’s undermining the European economy. That’s why it’s also an undemocratic stitch up – if any of its people vote to reject an EU policy they’re ignored and told to vote again until they get the ‘right’ answer.
We’re for uniting Europe, but on an equal and socialist basis, the EU and its’ Lisbon treaties are impoverishing many and breaking up Europe. As such we oppose it.

Andrew Garcarz

Background

My name is Andrew Garcarz; I am the UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Erdington. 58 years old, and married for 34 years, I am the son of a Polish Soldier who came to the UK in WW2. I was born in Stockland Green, grew up on the Castle Vale estate and in Erdington Hall and have lived in Pype Hayes for the last 16 years. Unlike other candidates in this constituency, I’m not a lifelong professional politician, parachuted into a safe seat; I’m an ordinary hard-working local resident with 40 years of real-life work-experience.Now, I want to put that experience to work for my community and the people I grew up with. Lets tell Westminster we’re fed-up with old-fashioned Punch & Judy politics, tell them we want a party that listens and an MP that works for you, represents you and understands you. Vote for me; vote UKIP on May 7th.

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?

Born and raised in Stockland Green, I lived on the Castle Vale estate and attended school there. During my teenage years I lived in Erdington and for the last 16 years, a Pype Hayes resident. I have been closely involved with many local issues as a concerned member of the public. So my decision to stand for Parliament doesn’t change anything; in fact I believe my local position is my greatest strength and advantage when compared to party candidates parachuted in to the area yet living elsewhere.I have worked in this area for many years and I know well how the day-to-day effects of industrial decline have affected local families during that time. I will continue to engage with the electorate through local media, regular ward and constituency meetings and public events. I am always contactable via mobile phone and email and will devote my working life to representing Erdington at Westminster.

2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?

When you ask “what makes you the best candidate for this constituency”, I ask myself why should people vote for me; what makes me different from the other candidates? Well:
1. I am a local, born and bred in the area and I care very much about Erdington

2. I am a proud ‘Brummie’, proud of our fantastic city with its great industrial and engineering heritage

3. I am NOT a lifelong career politician

4. I’ve worked in Industry and the NHS for over 40 years

5. I bring a lifetime of experience of the real world and the skills and understanding to solve problems

6. I’ve also known what its like to be unemployed and on state benefits

When you add all these things up, I believe I have a far more rounded approach to life based on 40 years of personal and practical experience and I can use that knowledge and experience to benefit Erdington residents.

3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
Labour’s Jack Dromey has been a visible, effective and active parliamentarian and constituency politician. He has led successful campaigns against the closure of local healthcare facilities and works closely with local Labour councilors to give impetus to local issues.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
The Chancellors 2010 promise to clear the UK deficit during the lifetime of this parliament was subsequently revised downwards to a 50% reduction.
The UK deficit, the difference between what we earn and what we spend is currently £60bn. Unfortunately; the deficit is only one element of the financial factors that contribute to the prosperity of our country.The elephant in the room is the National Debt. Our national debt is increasing at a rate of £5,170 pounds per second. It’s currently £1.49 trillion pounds and rising. When the Tories came to office in 2010, the national debt stood at £0.76 trillion Pounds.
In the past 5 years they have reduced the deficit by 50% but doubled the national debt during the same period. Wages have become further depressed for the low paid, real-terms income has fallen and the gap between the wealthy and the poor has continued to expand. Austerity when practiced this way is not working.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?

David Cameron promised to reduce the influx of migrants from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands p.a. something he has singularly failed to achieve with rising immigration numbers now exceeding 250,000 per annum. Our continued membership of the EU means that we are powerless to restrict the flood of immigrants wishing to reside here.
1. Only UKIP recognises the benefits of limited, controlled immigration

2. Only UKIP will leave the EU and regain control of our borders.

3. Work permits will be permitted to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market

4. Those wishing to come and work in the UK

a. Must have a job to come to
b. Must speak English,
c. Must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival
d. Must have NHS–approved healthcare insurance.

5. Migrants will only be eligible for benefits after paying tax and NI for 5 years

6. Many people are concerned about the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
We will take measures to reduce the tax burden of ordinary working people giving them more disposable income.

1. UKIP will increase personal taxation allowances to the equivalent of full-time minimum wage, approx. £13.500

2. UKIP will introduce a 35p tax rate between £42,285 – £55,000 pounds and a 40p rate above that

3. UKIP will introduce a turnover tax to ensure that big businesses pay taxes on their UK sales

4. UKIP will abolish Green Taxes, reducing fuel bills

The dependence on imported energy is a cause for concern and UKIP is keen to support a diverse energy market including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar and conventional gas and oil. We will also encourage the re-development of UK power stations.

By leaving the EU and the common agricultural policy, we can control our own farm subsidies, reassert control of our costal waters and revitalize the UK fishing industry, all of which will benefit UK citizens.

7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
The NHS is a political football. The 2012 Health & Social Care Bill promising ‘no top-down reorganisation’ heralded the biggest upheaval in the NHS’s 65 year history, at a cost of £3bn pounds, with no measurable improvements in service. In 1997, Labour introduced the Private Finance Initiative [PFI] to build new hospitals, following 18 years of Tory underfunding. Contracts, then worth about £60bn are now crippling the NHS with more than £300bn of debt over the 30 year lifetime of these contracts

UKIP will:

1. Seek to renegotiate PFI contracts, mitigating the financial burden on NHS Trusts.

2. Introduce NHS-approved health insurance as a condition of entry to the UK, for all tourists and migrants, saving the NHS £2bn per year

3. Re-introduce State Enrolled Nurses and invest an additional £3bn in frontline services

4. Ensure that GP surgeries are open at least one evening per week where demand exists

5. Ensure that all foreign health professionals joining the NHS are properly qualified and English speaking

8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
The UK needs a skilled workforce, but high levels of youth unemployment can be seen as a failing of the education system to prepare our youngsters for the world of work.

1. We will conduct a skills review to better inform our educational system and shape the qualifications required for the future

2. We will establish apprenticeship qualifications as an alternative to GCSE’s, which can be continued to ‘A’ level.

3. UKIP will remove tuition fees from students studying Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics.

4. We will also scrap the 50% target of school leavers going to university.

5. Businesses should be able to positively discriminate in favour of young British workers.

6. UKIP will repeal the Agency Workers Directive, which allows unscrupulous employers to exploit workers at below minimum wage with no employment rights.

7. We will limit the number of immigrants seeking to settle in the UK as this depresses the jobs market and drives down wages

9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
Parliament is composed largely of white, middle-aged males. This does little to encourage an increase in diversification of both gender and ethnicity. For Parliament to reflect society, the makeup and composition of the front and backbenches should be significantly different.

The UK Parliament presently has 139 female MPs. This means there has only been an increase of 1.9 per cent on the 126 female MPs elected in 2005. One in five is hardly reflective of the UK population. Positive discrimination in favour of ‘all female’ lists by Labour has given them the largest number of women MPs, 78, suggesting that positive discrimination can work to address the imbalance.
Presently there are 27 non-white MPs elected to the House of Commons, which is 4.2% of all 650 MPs. If the non-white population were represented proportionally in the House of Commons, there would be around 84 ethnic minority MPs.

10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would encourage my constituents to vote in favor of a referendum that guaranteed to take the UK out of the EU for the following reasons:

1. The UK currently gives the EU £55m per day, approximately £20bn pounds per year. This money could be better used to provide much needed improvements in Adult Social Care and NHS frontline healthcare services.

2. Exiting the EU would allow the UK to regain control of its borders and limit immigration, based on an Australian style points system that recognises skills, aptitude and qualifications.

3. We would leave the European Free Trade Area and take our seat at the World Trade Organisation. We would negotiate a bespoke trade agreement with the EU to enable our business to continue and set up trading relationships with emerging world markets, whilst retaining most favored nation status with the EU

4. UKIP would review all legislations and regulations from the EU since 2010 and remove those that hamper British prosperity

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