Local tradespeople will see their businesses boom if Liam Byrne MP wins next week’s West Midlands mayoral election. They will be a core part of his plans to bring back industry to the region.

"More than a 100,000 people in the West Midlands work from a van. That's nearly one in twelve of us. They're often self-employed and missed out on any support during Covid. That's why it's time they had a Mayor on their side fighting to boost their take home pay' said Liam Byrne

"That's why today we're publishing our six-point Trades Plan to show how we can use the power of the Mayor to back our self-employed plumbers, sparkies, chippies, fitters, roofers, project managers, plasterers, painters and decorators with public contracts that need breaking up to put them within reach of small traders not just the big corporations. 

“I'm determined to make sure the biggest challenge to going green is the biggest opportunity for small traders. To go green we néed to retrofit 1.2 million homes to make them net zero carbon and warm. We need to make sure West Midlands Retrofitting is a boom industry for our local self employed, bringing back thousands of jobs opportunities for many trades. We will back a regional, co-ordinated approach to get the funding and investment, speed delivery and give opportunities to local businesses..
“My ‘Manifesto for Trades" is probably the first recognition by a politician that the self employed tradesman and woman with a van needs to be front and centre in our economy.” he added.

Notes for editors: 

Liam's 6 pledges:

1.     Bring back industry

The West Midlands makes things. Our region started the industrial revolution. Today, we can bring back industry by re-industrialising as a green workshop. Buying British-made and boosting demand is key. We will run a ‘Make It Here’ review to identify where our investment plans such as for transport and housing, and major programmes like the Commonwealth Games can be brought forward and foster manufacturing in our region and in turn support small traders and businesses in the supply chain. 

2.     Use homes retrofit to support local trades

The biggest challenge to make our region go green is retrofitting 1.2 million homes go net zero carbon and warm. Retrofitting can be a boom industry, bringing back thousands of jobs opportunities for many trades. We will back a regional, co-ordinated approach to get the funding and investment, speed delivery and give opportunities to local businesses. 

3.     Contracts for local firms

We want to keep the public pound local and ensure that there is one place that supports the public sector driving contracts to local firms. We will set up a Combined Authority Prosperity team to drive local spending bodies to assess which contracts can be shifted locally fast to support local businesses and local jobs. As part of this We want big contracts broken up so smaller firms and traders can get a slice – such as sparkies, plumbers and fitters 

4.     Back support for the excluded

Too many self-employed people and small businesses have been overlooked by the government’s Covid support. It isn’t good enough. We’ll draw together evidence on those who have missed out, the hardest hit sectors and the impacts caused. We’ll use this evidence to make the case for future support as the impacts of Covid will still be felt ahead. 

5.     Get our share

London and Manchester get more investment than our region. We’ve been short-changed too many times. That’s not right. We will win a fair share for the West Midlands and stand up to government to guarantee that we get every penny we deserve. I’ll bring together the MPs and leaders across our region to press government to get our share.

6.     Voice for the van

We know traders don’t have the same protections or safety nets that others do. Life can be more precarious. Yet, too often the voices of the self-employed and small traders aren’t part of decisions. As Mayor I’ll change that. My goal is to make working life easier for small businesses and sole traders. I don’t have all the powers, but I’ll use what I do have to do just that - and press other bodies and government to back this approach too.


Oiver Longworth - Press Officer - olongworth@gmail.com - 07468611694