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Westminster Column - Budget

This week’s budget has attracted much national publicity but there are four points which seem to me to matter particularly to the Royal Town and to the West Midlands.

I was very pleased that we now have the second Devolution Deal thanks to the vigorous efforts of our newly elected West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

Support for the automobile industry – for driverless and electric cars – is enormously important to our local economy. The Midlands is at the centre of this industry, we are leaders in technology, design and production internationally and we welcome that support and will be hearing more announcements shortly.

The £200 million that we receive in the West Midlands for cleaning up brownfield land is now being spent. Again thanks to the efforts of Andy Street, our Mayor. Cleaning up brownfield sites is particularly important to us locally because it obviates the need to build on green belt land. We should only ever do that as a last resort.

I hope the Treasury will consider providing more funding when that £200 million has been used.

In Birmingham we will also being take part in a national pilot of “Housing First”. The pilot will allow us decisively to address rough sleeping across the West Midlands, and we are determined to do so. I am one of those who have campaigned for this initiative.

And fourthly I was able to thank the Government for the announcement that resources will be made available for the Children’s Emergency Medicine and Paediatric Care Centre at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Many of us whose constituents use this wonderful Centre have campaigned for that, and it is excellent news.

Of course there are many other measures in this Budget which will help us in Royal Sutton Coldfield but I wanted to draw attention to these four which have a very direct impact locally.

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