On Saturday, 8th April, 2017 the Liberal Democrat’s candidate for mayor of the West Midlands, Beverly Nielsen launched her manifesto. Nielsen who is an entrepreneur, educator and businesswoman has vast amounts of experience when it comes to life in the West Midlands, be it working for the Confederation of British Industry, working as the chief of Midlands Excellence Limited, or as a member of staff at Warwick University. From 2009 to 2013, Nielsen served on Worcestershire County Council from 2009-2013.
The launch of a manifesto is always an important event, but for Nielsen and the Liberal Democrats even more so. The West Midlands Mayoral Election is a hotly contested one, with the winner of the election promised broad powers as mayor, of one of the UK’s biggest regional areas. There are many areas in which the Midlands could do with improvement, in her manifesto, Nielsen promises to make developments in seven key areas.
These areas include: improving opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, delivering affordable housing for all, tackling congestion on the roads, growing home made businesses, enhancing the regions natural assets, delivering safe and secure communities and delivering fairer public services.
In her manifesto, some of the key pledges that Nielsen makes to better society within the West Midlands include: offering all young people aged between 16 and 25 a Swift Travel Card worth up to £300 to improve the chances of young people actively seeking work by offering more opportunities for free off peak travel, advocating a shared growth culture through promoting a real living wage for all employees and achieving this through using local procurement and bringing back production to the West Midlands.
Nielsen pledges within her manifesto to begin a house building programme that ensures access to homes of varying length and levels of affordability for everyone. She also promises to make more public homes available for rent and sale, and to ensure adequate high standard sheltered accommodation and provide more options for the older citizens of the West Midlands to live in.
To fulfil her pledge in reducing congestion, Nielsen has proposed offering free bus passes to encourage more people to use the bus, expanding the tram network within the West Midlands and developing a railway link between Birmingham and Moseley.
Nielsen also proposes the creation of a West Midlands Regional Bank to draw on local knowledge of local businesses, the creation of a £1 billion innovation fund to provide grants to start ups, to the region’s businesses schools, universities and colleges, to further encourage local business growth.
Finishing off the launch of her manifesto, Nielsen had this to say:
“The current government has cut services to the bone, and is now cutting £4bn more between now and 2020. If you make me the Liberal Democrat Mayor of the West Midlands, I will be your champion for change, and a unifying voice across the political divide which has existed for far too long.”