General Election 2024 - meet the Meriden and Solihull East candidates: Malcolm Sedgley - The Solihull Observer

General Election 2024 - meet the Meriden and Solihull East candidates: Malcolm Sedgley

Solihull Editorial 22nd Jun, 2024   0

During my many years working in Solihull comprehensive schools, Solihull was thriving, full of decent hard-working people, proud of their community and optimistic for the future. This optimism included an expectation, that life for their children and grandchildren would be even better.

However, I believe that incompetent government and ineffective opposition has left our communities in crisis. The people are as wonderful as ever, but the optimism of a better tomorrow has long gone. Crime has spiralled, local economies are suffering, our services are at breaking point and many youngsters, face the prospect of not being able to afford their own home, until an ever-advancing age – if at all.

These issues are not in isolation. Allowing small and medium sized businesses to flourish, means a stronger local economy, providing more and better paid jobs, the restoration of hope for our young people and the sense that we can all start living again, rather than merely surviving.

I’ve spoken to various small business owners. Regardless of the sector, justified criticism of over-bearing regulations and restrictive planning regulations, stifling enterprise and growth, has been a common theme.

The ‘big boys’ inevitably get the attention of our political leaders, whilst small businesses and the self-employed are repeatedly overlooked, despite SMEs being the backbone of both our economy and society.

Nothing illustrates this more than lockdown. Many small enterprises were forced to close and self-employed people found themselves destitute through no fault of their own. This must not be allowed to continue. I will always put the needs of local businesses ahead of the interests of large corporations.

A related issue – is cash.

Trying to park in Solihull without resorting to a smart phone app or having to walk long distances, is virtually impossible. Many older people or those who don’t want to be permanently attached to their smart phones, now actively avoid, what should be thriving centres of commerce

I’m not against the convenience of card and cashless payments but cash should always remain an option, allowing a greater percentage of our wealth stay within our local economies, rather than financial institutions becoming even richer through card charges. Yet many cash dispensers have disappeared. Banks are disappearing from our High Streets and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to bank cash takings. I will always fight for the retention and easy access to cash.

I’m sure every candidate will state one blindingly obvious fact. Solihull must have A&E services restored. Sending people to Heartlands or even Warwick hospital, is plainly unsustainable. My father suffered a life changing stroke at the age of 65 and I’m fully aware that every minute can be vital.

Crime is an ever increasing problem and devastating lives. I will join with all those people, trying to ensure that we have a police station in central Solihull, as well as Chelmsley Wood. This should be seen by all as essential. Vague promises, of a resolution at some point in the future, is no longer an option. Our new MP must insist on details and dates.

Housing is a major concern for all of us. Either we are paying ever rising rents and mortgages, seeing our children and grandchildren unable to embark on the next stage of life or watching our greenbelt being covered over, is both unjust and unfair. All new developments should be in cooperation with local communities and should benefit local communities. We should not be expected to bail out politicians, for their failure to address the population explosion.

If elected, my focus will be on representing the people of Meriden and Solihull East, whilst joining with other Reform MPs to offer a real opposition to the inevitable Labour government.

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