Redditch set for bitter election fight

Posted on: 13/01/2015

Our Redditch constituency programme saw us interview Conservative MP Karen Lumley, in addition to key figures within the Police, District Council, County Council and the Mayor. These interviews gave great insights into the key issues that will decide the election.

The NHS looks to be decisive, with the uncertain future of Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital bringing Conservative MP Karen Lumley and Labour Parliamentary Candidate Rebecca Blake to loggerheads ahead of May’s election. Lumley has threatened legal action over Blake’s claims that she’s repeatedly voted against the NHS.

Karen Lumley, Redditch Conservative MP

Karen Lumley, Redditch Conservative MP

We interviewed Kevin Dicks, Chief Exec of Redditch Borough Council. Since 2008 Redditch Borough Council has been sharing services with Bromsgrove District Council. Kevin spoke passionately about the benefits of this, in terms of financial viability and the ability to share expertise. He cited the importance of the £1m they received from the Transformation Challenge Fund. This has enabled them to start re-designing public services and join up services to provide long term solutions. He stressed the importance of enabling residents to take charge of their own physical and mental health by enabling them to use public services like leisure centres.

Worcestershire County Council is responsible for working with a number of district councils like Redditch. They also have to reduce their annual budget by £25m. Sander Kristel, the newly appointed Director of Commercial and Change, is tasked with managing this. He spoke of how they are integrating online services to provide a quicker and more efficient service. He also shared interesting info on the application process, which will be on our Career Focus TV site soon.

He was also passionate about World Class Worcester, a ten-year plan to secure funds from Government and business owners to create 25,000 new jobs and an extra £2.9bn into the local economy by 2025. Sander enthused about this counties ambition and potential as the main reason he applied for this role.

The Mayor of Redditch, Pat Witherspoon, enthused about the Eastern Gateway, which are sites prominently located within 4 miles of the M42. These sites are being used to attract new business to the area.

Pat Witherspoon, Mayor of Redditch

Pat Witherspoon, Mayor of Redditch

Our final interview was with Conservative MP Karen Lumley, who was equally positive about Redditch. A key subject all interviewees discussed was open for business, which is a way of linking local businesses with schools and colleges to produce more employable students. This seemed to be a very successful scheme and perhaps partly counters for the Government’s scrapping of The Future Jobs Fund.

The election remains too close to call the interviewees had a diverse range of views that reflects the diversity of this town. The programme will be broadcast online in the coming weeks. This Friday we are excited to interview Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

What are your views on the Election and what will it take to receive your vote? Get in touch with us below or on Twitter: @collabmedia1 and share your thoughts.