A quick summary of Headline points from Brum Debate at Town Hall
The Yes to Birmingham Mayor campaign took over the Town Hall on Sunday 15 April and invited Brummies to challenge the candidates on what a Mayor could do for the city. With just 17 days to go until Birmingham votes in a referendum on whether to adopt an elected Mayor, the Yes campaign want to engage in a more constructive debate focusing on what a Mayor could do for the city. Instead of arguing Yes or No time after time, we felt it would be more useful for Brummies to actually hear about why a Yes vote is a constructive vote for change and for a politician to get a mandate to get to grips with the very serious issues facing the city.
In an afternoon focusing on what an elected mayor could do for Birmingham, two panels were questioned on how Birmingham can address crucial issues including jobs, transport, law and order, the digital economy and engaging young people. The first panel included experts on business, transport, local politics and regeneration and environmental issues who challenged the candidates to address a number of key points:
- How will they create jobs and growth?
- How will they support the whole of the city economically and not just the city centre?
- What will they do to improve the public transport network?
- How will they improve the health outcomes for Brummies?
- What powers will they wrestle from Whitehall?
The second panel saw Desmond Jaddoo, Sion Simon, Liam Byrne, Dr Mirza Ahmed and Sir Albert Bore take the stage to set out their pitches and address the questions raised by the audience.
- Desmond Jaddoo focussed on engagement, particularly with young people, and energising the electorate for the referendum and a potential mayoral election in November.
- Sion Simon set out a number of detailed policies including night buses and taking control of the bus and rail networks, as well as obtaining devolved funding from Whitehall in a number of key areas.
- Liam Byrne set out several policy ideas, again transport was a key theme along with his pledge to create jobs for the city
- Mirza Ahmed gave a cogent explanation of the legal powers a Mayor of Birmingham would immediately get which would be greater than those of the Mayor of London.
- Sir Albert Bore emphasised the need for a mobility plan for Birmingham, again focussing on transport as a key issue.