Steve gets serious with Billesley Residents

Steve met with residents from Billesley to discuss what’s going on in Parliament and the big issues
The residents were concerned about the planned Welfare Reform, reorganisation of the NHS and unemployment. They had a lot to say on Birmingham City Council, wheel clamping and tackling antis-social behaviour in Billesley.
Some residents were concerned about the provision of social care in Birmingham, especially that for the elderly and carers. They agreed that the Government should guarantee a basic standard of care for the elderly, but there needs to be a re-think on how we cope with an ageing population in the long-term. Steve spoke of his commitment to locally run voluntary services which are often better placed to help local people than national charities or initiatives. One Resident pointed out that this can only happen if the Council spends its money fairly and ensures services aren’t duplicated in one area.
This issue brought up questions over Birmingham City Council’s budget and its future financial situation. Some constituents felt that the state of the Council’s finances weren’t being appropriately reported in the local media and felt that many people in Birmingham didn’t fully understand the situation and how this will affect how the Council is run after the May elections.
Private wheel clamping companies was also an issue that had affected a number of residents present at the meeting. Many people felt that something should be done to stop or regulate unscrupulous companies who charge a fortune to release your car, and more often than not clamp cars in areas where the parking restrictions aren’t clear. Steve told residents the Government had planned to deal with this problem and expected new legislation to be introduced at the next Parliamentary session.
In an issue closer to home residents wanted to talk about the progress of Operation Mastiff, a joint initiative by the Police and Council to tackle anti-social behaviour in Billesley. One resident expressed concern about the availability of dedicated Operation Mastiff officers, having personally reported an incident and finding out that the relevant officer was only available 4 days a week. Residents were also worried about the continuation of Operation Mastiff amid plans for police privatisation. Steve reassured residents that in a meeting with Chief Superintendent Barnett he was assured Operation Mastiff is here to stay.
Steve said:
“It was great to meet up with residents from Billesley, it has been a while since we last had a chat about what issues are weighing on their minds.
“I was concerned to hear about some problems around the workings of Operation Mastiff and the availability of personnel, this is something I will be making enquiries about. I am also worried about the abolition of ASBO’s for areas like Billesley where one family has managed to intimidate a whole area. The Governments new arrangements mean 5 people have to report anti-social behaviour for an injunction to be imposed, people are often too scared to report such behaviour which means individuals will get away with continued harassment of their local communities.
“I also shared the concerns of my constituents about the City Council’s finances, I think this is something that many people are not fully aware of. Whichever party elected in the May Elections is going to have a really tough time, especially considering the huge Government cuts to grants for local Councils.”
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