UKIP has consistently opposed both the formation of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and the creation of the Metro Mayor, something already twice previously rejected by voters here.
But our government and local councils have gone ahead anyway.
So why is UKIP putting forward a candidate, why am I standing?
i) ‘Like it or not’ we will have a Metro Mayor. I believe it should be someone who is passionate and cares deeply about this region,
– but is not a career politician (eg Lab candidate), or someone from the corporate world, who will be looking after the interests of large corporations and controlled by central government (Tory candidate)
I also don’t believe it should be anyone who believes in open borders and unlimited migration (Lib Dem and Green candidates)
I have spent my career bringing people together and solving difficult problems, there will certainly be plenty to solve for the Metro Mayor.
ii) Sadly in the run up to the election there are a lot of false promises being made, a lot of ‘smoke and mirrors’ from the other candidates, I intend to blow the smoke away and expose the facts and the truth.
As just one example: there is no ‘£10bn budget’, or £800m per year !
UK government is committed to contributing £40m annually, leaving a shortfall of £760m. So where will this shortfall come from?
Investment may make up a proportion, hopefully, but the rest will have to be sourced from council tax precepts (increases), business rate hikes, or loans.
Council taxes are already being raised by 4% in many boroughs, and business rates are at a level where many businesses are struggling simply to survive. Which leaves loans.
I believe the other candidates will be quite happy to oversee huge loans taken out, including 30 year ones with many strings attached from the ailing, quite possibly soon defunct European Union.
We simply cannot allow our region to be plunged into even more debt, which our children and their children will somehow have to try to repay. And now that we have voted to part company, as a region we should not be ‘hitching ourselves up’ to the enormously corrupt, hopelessly out of touch, slowly sinking EU.
(All the constituent councils already have extremely large debts and are running annual deficits, we have a £1.6 trillion national debt, £1.8 trillion ‘pensions fund black hole’, and our NHS is struggling to cope under the huge strain of starting to pay back the massive, up to 30 year long debts, as set up / incurred under Blair & Brown’s PFI agreements)
We can not continue to ‘spend today, worry about it tomorrow’, because if we do the current crisis in the NHS is a stark demonstration of exactly what will happen ‘when tomorrow arrives’.
iii) We need to promote our region in every possible way, and to attract the maximum investment. The Combined Authority and Metro Mayor can play a major part in achieving this, but this new level of government needs to be kept lean and operate in an efficient, open, honest and transparent manner at all times.
If I am mayor you can be assured that this is exactly what will happen.
Costs must not be allowed to spiral out of control… as they already are in Manchester (their authority is now approaching £2bn in debt) …and are likely to do if any of the other candidates is elected here.
As mayor I will work enthusiastically and tirelessly to improve this region and the lives of everyone who lives and works in it, but I will not allow the new WMCA to create yet another ever increasing debt mountain in the process.
There is a lot to do!
Positive ideas, achievable targets, and my initial priorities will be published both here, on Facebook, and on Twitter over the coming weeks and months.
However I do not pretend to have ‘all the answers’, if you have an innovative idea of your own and would like to see it implemented, please feel free to send it to me and I will certainly consider including it in my manifesto.