Constituents Share their Priorities with Local MP

More than 30 constituents took part in a lively Report Back session with local MP Steve McCabe (Birm

Topics under discussion included changes to the NHS, unemployment, police cuts and various local concerns.

 

Anger was expressed that those living in Scotland and Wales have access to free prescriptions while patients in England have to pay. Steve McCabe said that he thought it was wrong that those who claim free prescriptions in Scotland and Wales can also choose to have operations in England and that the same level of funding should apply in the whole of Britain. There was also concern over access to GP appointments and the role of care assistants on hospital wards.

 

There was dismay at the loss of jobs at BAE and the decision to award rail contracts to a German company rather than Bombardier at the expense of British jobs; concern at the lack of apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Birmingham and questions levels of overseas aid spending at a time when cuts at home are so deep.

 

There was also anxiety expressed at restrictions in the use of the pensioner bus pass which prevents people using the pass in different parts of the country. Steve McCabe has recently submitted an Early Day Motion in Parliament to challenge this decision. The Prime Minister did make a pre-election pledge that he would protect the bus pass for pensioners.

 

Local concerns included worry over cuts to police numbers; problems with bin collections and the rubbish left behind; excessive speeds on residential roads at a time when the headlines are dominated with plans to increase the speed on motorways; the cost of the Mayoral Referendum and why Birmingham Council tax payers should have to pay; and the lack of social services support for parents caring for children with disabilities.

 

Steve McCabe said

‘I think it’s really important that I hear firsthand about the things that really matter to my constituents. I enjoy this format because it gives a large number of people a chance to have their say. It was nice to see some familiar faces and also some new ones.

 

‘I was struck by the fear and anger on the NHS and cuts to the police and I’ve been telling the government for months that they need to do more about youth unemployment.’

 

‘Sadly this is likely to be my last Report Back session at Holy Cross as the centre itself is a victim of the cuts and scheduled to close shortly as the small grant they received towards their running costs and staff will end.’

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