Mayoral candidate appeals to youth vote

Liam Byrne launches a Manifesto for the Next Generation.

Birmingham MP Liam Byrne has pledged to rebuild youth services, with a youth worker in every neighbourhood of the West Midlands, after revealing cuts to West Midlandss youth services – of over 45% – are double the national average.

Leading young Labour figures from across the region have backed Liam’s Youth Manifesto, including Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie, Cllr Mariam Khan, the youngest councillor in Birmingham and former chair of Birmingham Young Labour and Cllr Beverley Momenabadi, the youngest councillor in Wolverhampton and Young Labour Local Campaign Forum’s Youth Officer for Wolverhampton.

But Liam’s new research also shows the West Midlands has suffered cuts to youth services twice the level of the national average.

Liam is putting support for young people at the heart of his campaign to be Labour’s candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor, with commitments to bring in a UCAS style system for apprenticeships, phase in free bus travel for 16 and 18 year olds, improve waiting times for childrens’ mental health services, double the pace of genuinely affordable housebuilding, as well as campaigning for votes at 16 and to end tuition fees.

Liam’s plan for young people includes:

– Founding Labour’s National Education Service in the West Midlands – with a UCAS system for apprenticeships and begin rebuilding Sure Start
– New youth workers and safe spaces open to every young person in every neighbourhood with one stop funding pots for sports, culture, and social action
– Campaigning to end university tuition fees
– Phasing in free travel for 16-18 year olds over the mayoral term, to breakdown the ‘postcode world’
– Reducing waiting times for children and young people to access mental health services and strengthen the rights of young people in the care of local mental health services, and like Greater Manchester, publishing survey data showing waiting times.
– Doubling the pace of building genuinely affordable housing
– Becoming a real Living Wage Region – that delivers just pay to young people
– Training our young people to lead social action that brings people together – with a Commonwealth Young Leaders Programme in every neighbourhood
– Radically expanding support for youth enterprise
– Giving power to young people with a new budget for the Youth Assembly to shape the Metro-Mayor’s youth offer and campaigning for votes at 16

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Ashley Bertie, said: “I’m backing Liam’s plan to support young people. Devastating government cuts to youth services have directly contributed to the knife crime crisis on our streets. By investing in a youth worker in every neighbourhood, Liam’s plan will not only help reduce crime but will create opportunities for young people too.”

Cllr Beverley Momenabadi, the youngest councillor in Wolverhampton and Young Labour Local Campaign Forum’s Youth Officer for Wolverhampton added: “After reading Liam’s youth manifesto, I’m confident that Liam is the best person to take the West Midlands in the right direction and make it a prosperous place for every young person to live and work. He has the clear vision and strategy to achieve his goals for the many, not just the few.”

Cllr Mariam Khan, the youngest councillor in Birmingham and former chair of Birmingham Young Labour said; “I’ve worked with Liam as a councillor in one of Britain’s youngest and poorest constituencies. He’s a dad who visits schools and talks with young people every fortnight. He genuinely understands what it is young people need – and is someone who’s determined to give young people the power to change things for their future.

“I was elected onto Birmingham City Council at 21 years old – making me the youngest Cllr in the city. Liam played a key role in supporting me along the way, both within the constituency and through national party work. His encouragement shows his dedication to ensure that young people’s voices are heard.”

Liam Byrne, MP for Hodge Hill, said: “Under the Tories, a generation is growing up who’ll be worse off than their parents – and it is simply unacceptable that our youth services have been cut at twice the level of the national average, when we’re one of the youngest regions in the whole of Europe.”

“Young people are facing spiralling youth unemployment, falling apprenticeships, unaffordable housing and rising student debt.”

“Knife crime and mental ill-health are spiralling too. It shouldn’t be like this.”

“Young people are already leading the way on issues like Climate Change. We need a manifesto to support and empower the next generation to be able to fulfil their ambitions.”