General Election 2024 - meet the Meriden and Solihull East candidates - Saqib Bhatti - The Solihull Observer

General Election 2024 - meet the Meriden and Solihull East candidates - Saqib Bhatti

Solihull Editorial 20th Jun, 2024   0

Since being elected in 2019, as the MP for Meriden, I have worked every single day with one focus – to make this the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family.

As a father, I regularly think about the legacy we leave for future generations. This is why I am committed to preserving our green spaces from inappropriate development and unwanted disruption from projects like HS2. I successfully secured £50million from government (in addition to £45million from the former West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street) to protect our greenbelt by using land at Arden Cross more efficiently. Where planning applications go ahead, we must have the infrastructure to deal with any increase in population.

I am calling for the restoration of Accident and Emergency services to Solihull Hospital. In an emergency, every minute matters. It is not right that if we need emergency care, we are sent to Heartlands Hospital. With a population of 220,000 in the borough, we need our own health services. This campaign builds on work I have already done to bring greater health resources to Solihull. I led a successful campaign to secure a new Urgent Treatment Centre at Solihull Hospital along with state-of-the-art surgical units currently being built. We also have a new Community Diagnostic Centre under construction in Chelmsley Wood catering for the equivalent of 116,000 GP appointments. As your MP, it was and will continue to be my job to ensure these health projects are delivered and serve our community.

As part of my plan to make this the best place to live, work and raise a family I run an internship programme for young people and regularly welcome schoolchildren to Westminster. I also hold pensioners and jobs fairs, bringing people together to access information and opportunities and bringing huge national employers to my constituents so they can access fresh opportunities.

Our local economy is central to our prosperity and as a former businessman and president of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, I know what it’s like to run a business. In addition to weekly surgeries, I will continue to run my regular business forum so businesses can tell me about the issues they face which I will continue to take up with government. We need our local economy growing, creating even more jobs for local people. That is why I am demanding answers from developers in Knowle Precinct and have secured almost £3million from to regenerate Kingshurst Village Centre.

The prosperity of our towns and villages is also dependent on people feeling safe which is why I have opposed the closure of Solihull police station and the front desk at Chelmsley Wood. I will continue to challenge the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure he takes the safety of my constituents seriously. Having a visible police presence is essential for us to feel protected and deter antisocial behaviour and crime.

I want our children to have the best start in life and that is why I have campaigned nationally for greater support for hardworking families including more childcare support and changes to childcare benefit. I was also pleased to welcome the government’s commitment to four new family hubs in Solihull borough which will support parents and families with many services including health appointments, mental health support, support for parents and playgroups.

As the current Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy I see firsthand how our country is leading the way in global innovation, creating jobs and economic growth. Through the work that government is doing, we are the third most valuable economy in the world and continue creating thousands of jobs.

In this election, you can shape the future of our community, where we live and opportunities for our future. Your vote matters, make it count.

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