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Labour MEP for the West Midlands, Siôn Simon, is calling on the West Midlands Mayor to explain his failure to secure Channel 4 relocation.

Tory Mayor Andy Street pledged to “turn over every stone” to get Channel 4 to the West Midlands.

Throughout the Mayoral election campaign he continually told us his “good connections with central government” were a key reason people should vote for him.

Yet in a speech to the Royal Television Society yesterday, Tory Culture Secretary Karen Bradley rowed back on the government’s previous commitment to move channel 4 outside London.

A deal bringing Channel 4 to the West Midlands could boost the regional economy by £5billion.

Mr Simon said:

“Theresa May’s Tory Mayor pledged to be knocking on the door of Downing Street to get Channel 4 to the West Midlands – but his boast is now in tatters.

“The Tory government is abandoning its manifesto pledge to relocate Channel 4, ignoring the West Midlands once again.

“Since taking office, Andy Street has visited Tory Ministers in London four times more often than Labour Mayors of the other major cities.

“Now it’s clear he wasn’t representing our interests in those cosy chats, but taking his orders. It's clearer than ever that he's the Tory Government's man in the West Midlands.

“On Channel 4, homelessness, congestion and Brexit, the Tory Mayor leaves behind a trail of failure.

“The Tory manifesto clearly stated that Channel 4 would be relocated out of London. This was an open goal for Andy Street. A tap in - which he has somehow managed to balloon over the bar.”

“This is a spectacular and catastrophic failure by the Tory Mayor. Is he even going to comment?”

Tory Mayor has failed on Channel 4 Relocation

Labour MEP for the West Midlands, Siôn Simon, is calling on the West Midlands Mayor to explain his failure to secure Channel 4 relocation. Tory Mayor Andy Street pledged to...

1. Failure to tackle congestion – traffic misery and M6 Toll price hike.

Mr Simon said: “Motorists continue to suffer hours of delays on their daily commute. The half empty M6 Toll was sold to a new operator, who has now hiked toll fees by 7%.

“On both occasions, on behalf of West Midlands drivers, Andy Street said and did precisely nothing.

“He is on the side of the private profiteers who buy and sell the road with no care for the West Midlands; and the Tory government who don't want him to rock the boat.

“Street has rebadged an existing employee as a ‘congestion tsar’, but done nothing at all to actually stand up for the West Midlands.

2. Failure on youth unemployment – real jobs not Mayoral talking shops.

Mr Simon said: “Youth unemployment remains at shockingly high levels in the West Midlands after seven years of Tory cuts and neglect. 

“The Tories don’t care about our young people, otherwise they’d offer guaranteed apprenticeships with real value to school leavers.

“Mentors are all very well - and he hasn't even delivered them - but what our young people need is better training and real jobs. It’s another case of all talk no action from Andy Street.”

3. Failure on Brexit and trade – refuses to outline negotiating position for region. 

Mr Simon said: “As Andy Street’s Tory friends in London continue their internal squabbles, Britain heads towards the EU exit door with no plan, at risk of crashing out of the single market without a plan B.

“We need real leadership that will fight for the particular needs of the West Midlands. Our jobs, manufacturing, and regional economy depend on it. Where is the West Midlands Brexit action plan after 100 days? Or even a direction of travel? Nowhere in both cases, he has no idea what to do.”

“If he thinks a trade mission to Canada is what West Midlands people are crying out for, then he's badly out of touch. ”

4. Failure on Channel 4 bid.

Mr Simon said: “Stage-managed events are no substitute for the real transparency we were promised by the Tory Mayor. He pledged to be knocking on the door of Downing Street to get Channel 4 to move here – but we’re yet to see any evidence of action.

“Andy Street promised us Channel 4, but the signs are not good. If we don't get it, the failure, and its dire consequences, will lie squarely at his door." 

5. Failure on homelessness – taskforces instead of real action. 

Mr Simon said: “Homelessness continues to rise under the Tories and it’s time for Andy Street to make a real intervention. Taskforces are not action, so what has he actually done?

“Homelessness in the West Midlands is a direct result of Tory Government policies on housing funding, housing benefit, homelessness support, funding for victims of domestic violence, people with mental health issues, people with dependency issues.

“So what has Andy Street done or said to stand up to the Tory government on behalf of West Midlands people? Precisely nothing.

“Has he spoken out against a single one of these Tory policies which are known to be the causes of homelessness? No. He's on their side not ours. ”

6. Failure on diversity – top team doesn’t represent our region. 

Mr Simon said: “Andy Street has appointed a leadership team in his image, selected from the higher echelons of council bureaucracy. It’s appalling how little his team represents the wonderful diversity of our region.

“Tories always do this. They have an arrogant disdain for BAME representation. Andy Street is one of them, not one of us.” 

Andy Street 100 Days: 6 Tory Failures

1. Failure to tackle congestion – traffic misery and M6 Toll price hike. Mr Simon said: “Motorists continue to suffer hours of delays on their daily commute. The half empty...

Siôn Simon on Andy Street's first 100 days:

Ask yourself how many people’s lives in the West Midlands have been improved by Andy Street’s first 100 days in office? The answer is none. The Tory Mayor’s first 100 days have made no difference whatsoever to the real lives of any of our citizens. That is the core test of politics and he has failed. 

And, no, 100 days is not enough to turn around the oil tanker. But it’s enough to start to make a difference.  In 100 days I would have got dozens of rough sleepers into housing. It’s an emergency. The Tory Mayor has set up a taskforce. It would be laughable if people weren’t dying.

Homelessness in the West Midlands is a direct result of Tory Government policies on housing funding, housing benefit, homelessness support, funding for victims of domestic violence, people with mental health issues, people with dependency issues. So what has Tory Andy done or said to stand up to the Tory government on behalf of West Midlands people? Precisely nothing. Has he spoken out against a single one of these Tory policies which are known to be the causes of homelessness? No. He's on their side not ours.

Congestion has got worse. It’s choking our region and blighting people’s daily lives. Yet the half-empty M6 Toll has just been sold to another distant private operator, which has immediately hiked the prices again. The Tory Mayor has said and done nothing. The Tory government in London doesn’t  want the boat rocked. So instead of standing up for West Midlands interests against the Tory government in London and private operators who stand to profit from increased congestion, the Tory Mayor has rebadged an existing employee as his congestion tsar. The worst kind of token box-ticking. In the real world, congestion has got worse in the last 100 days, and it will continue to get worse and worse for as long as the Tory Mayor remains in office.

Street promised us he would get Channel 4 relocated to the West Midlands. His Tory connections were going to make all the difference. In truth, there’s no sign they’re actually taking any notice of him now the election is over. His usefulness to them is ended; and they’re not interested in the West Midlands. London is everything.

Likewise on skills and employment. It’s all fluff and self-congratulatory statements; huge announcements about tiny tranches of funding that can’t begin to scratch the surface: the paltriest pots of money for which we’re to be pathetically grateful. Not the slightest attempt to stand up for the West Midlands and demand what is rightfully ours: our fair share of the national pie. Real control of our own money.

On Brexit, he’s managed to match the achievements of his Tory bosses in London: he’s done nothing, has no plan, seems to have no idea what he’s going to do; has given us no idea what he’s going to do. This is a crucial issue for the regional economy. We have particular needs and interests as a region that aren’t being represented by the Tory government in London. So what’s the Tory Mayor doing on behalf of the West Midlands?

A trade mission to Canada. One can understand why people weren’t exactly lining the streets to welcome him back.

And so it goes on across the board: bureaucratic tinkereing and vacuous “gosh amazing” announcements. Nothing that will actually make a difference. And, above all, nothing that might upset his Tory bosses in London.

What’s most disappointing after Andy Street’s first 100 days - though it’s what we always feared - is that he’s 100% Tory London’s man in the West Midlands; he’ll never stand up for us against them. And so nobody’s real life in the real world will change.

Siôn Simon: "Tory Mayor a failure by any measure."

Siôn Simon on Andy Street's first 100 days: Ask yourself how many people’s lives in the West Midlands have been improved by Andy Street’s first 100 days in office? The...

Labour MEP Siôn Simon is calling for a full timetable to be published on Channel 4’s relocation proposals.

The Government consultation on Channel 4’s regional impact ran from April to July this year.

A full timetable outlining when the consultation will release its conclusions has never been published, leaving those hoping to bid for the relocation of the broadcaster in the dark.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street pledged to “turn over every stone” to get Channel 4 to the West Midlands.

A deal bringing Channel 4 to the West Midlands could boost the regional economy by £5billion.

The project is seen as a key test on his ability to deliver for the West Midlands.

Mr Simon said:

“Theresa May’s Tory Mayor pledged to be knocking on the door of Downing Street to get Channel 4 to the West Midlands – but we’re yet to see the evidence.

“It’s time for the Tory Government to publish a full timetable for the consultation, rather than leaving the West Midlands waiting.

"A deadline is the only way to hold the Tory Mayor to account.

“The history of the West Midlands as a super-diverse creative region makes it the perfect fit for Channel 4’s move.

“Now the clock is ticking – and the West Midlands waits for Andy Street to deliver on his promise.”

Clock ticking on Tory Mayor’s Channel 4 promise

Labour MEP Siôn Simon is calling for a full timetable to be published on Channel 4’s relocation proposals. The Government consultation on Channel 4’s regional impact ran from April to...

Labour MEP for the West Midlands, Siôn Simon, is calling for immediate action to halt police cuts after violent crime surged in the UK.

Siôn Simon: “Tory failure on violent crime puts West Midlands at risk.”

Labour MEP for the West Midlands, Siôn Simon, is calling for immediate action to halt police cuts after violent crime surged in the UK. Read more

Labour MEP for the West Midlands, Siôn Simon, has issued a challenge to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street over his silence on M6 Toll price hikes.

M6 Toll operator Midland Expressway Limited has hiked the weekday price for cars by over 7%, amid growing frustration from West Midlands motorists.

The new fees would make daily commuters over £100 worse off over a year.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has kept silent on the announcement, having previously refused to endorse Siôn’s plan to get  the M6 Toll nationalised.

Chambers of Commerce found that road congestion costs West Midlands businesses £1 billion a year.

Siôn’s plan to nationalise the M6 Toll would have relieved congestion in the West Midlands along key trade routes and end traffic misery for thousands.

Mr Simon said:

“Theresa May’s Tory Mayor promised he could get things done for the people of our region, but there’s no proof he can or will.

“He promised to get our transport system moving but is failing to deliver. The Conservative Mayor  refuses to challenge a hike in toll prices that will drive even more cars onto our already-congested roads inside the region.

“Daily commuters could be £100 worse off every year, all while lining the pockets of rich private toll companies.

“It goes to show Andy Street is Theresa May’s Tory mayor backing vested private interests.

“I’ll keep providing the people of the West Midlands with the leadership they deserve.”

Siôn’s challenge to Tory Mayor over M6 Toll price hike

Labour MEP for the West Midlands, Siôn Simon, has issued a challenge to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street over his silence on M6 Toll price hikes. M6 Toll operator Midland...

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