I hope very much this finds you well and safe.

It’s been another intense week - but it does now seem like the Peak of Covid may be behind us - for now. We have lost so many dear loved ones - including Mary Jagroop, a much loved nurse at Heartlands. Too many families know exactly that heartbreak feels like. But it is thanks to people like Mary, known as Dassie to her family, that our local hospitals have now discharged 1,500 patients who have recovered from Covid.

This week I’ve been humbled to see the very best of our region coming together in the face of massive adversity. At the same time, we’re hearing troubling reports of a lack of PPE in our care homes and NHS and I’m working hard to make sure the government comes clean on what PPE is available. As we enter the fourth week of lockdown, here’s a quick email with some updates on what I’ve been up to in the last week and a reminder of the useful advice from Birmingham Council.

Best,

Liam Byrne will today say the Tory Mayor of the West
Midlands has missed a huge opportunity to declare a Climate Emergency and put
in place a Green New Deal to tackle spiralling youth unemployment.

The Tory mayor, Andy Street, today launches his local industrial strategy - without any timetable to deliver a carbon neutral region and no plan to tackle youth unemployment which has soared by 18% in the last year.

Dear James,

Please pay over the money agreed for house building.

We have a housing and homelessness crisis in our region. Homelessness is soaring and we are building affordable homes so slowly it will take until 2052 to clear waiting lists for council waiting lists. But when the West Midlands Combined Authority was set up, ministers agreed £211 million to build new homes. Only 1% of this money has been paid over.

Birmingham
and the Black Country falling behind the rest of England on key economic
indicators

Birmingham and the Black
Country (the local authority areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and
Wolverhampton) are falling behind on
key economic indicators such as prosperity, productivity, employment
and skills, according to a new report.

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