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Street: 100 words on 100 days

Street: 100 words on 100 days

🕔10.Aug 2017

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, is about to notch up 100 days in the job.

Just a few months ago, he was lining up against fellow candidates in our series of West Mids Elects Public Debates, run in partnership with local newspapers, the University of Warwick, Centre for Cities, Chambers of Commerce and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

He beat Labour candidate Siôn Simon by just under 4,000 votes when over half a million electors went to polls on 4th May. No other candidate managed to secure more than 6% of the vote.

Analysis: 100 days – what’s the score?

100 days in (almost), we asked his main campaign rivals for 100 words on what they thought of his performance so far.

James Burn and Beverley Nielsen both remarked on Mayor Street’s commitment and energy.

Siôn Simon said that, by any measure, Andy Street’s 100 days had been a failure with no person in the region having had their life significantly improved.

UKIP’s Pete Durnell wants more cash for the West Midlands – but not too much for the WMCA’s incoming CEO.

Mr Burn wants to hear what the Mayor is going to do about chronic deprivation in the West Midlands.

Ms Nielsen is still trying to square the Mayor’s Renewal Plan with WMCA’s Strategic Economic Plan. She’s not alone.

Here’s what the ‘could-have-been Mayors’ have to say…..

James Burn, Green

Andy is in a very difficult position. The expectations of him are huge but the money and power available to make real changes is very limited indeed.

He’s clearly worked incredibly hard and I’m pleased at many of the announcements, especially on homelessness.

At the same time, Andy stated in the campaign his priority as mayor would be changing the map of deprivation in the West Midlands, where 1 in 3 children live in poverty, not just assuming growth would trickle down. At almost 100 days, I’m still waiting for any significant announcements on this.

Pete Durnell, UKIP

Barely one in ten eligible West Midlanders voted for Andy on May 4th. Achievements need to be tangible, things that make a real difference to the daily lives of an extremely sceptical public.

‘Achievements’ therefore cannot include: having tea with Theresa, acquiring extra powers, producing rafts of completely unfinanced plans, or hiring a Chief Exec at £187k, when the advertised maximum was 180.

Instead of jetting off to Canada, he should be leading his Homelessness taskforce, as promised.

What do we need from Devo II? Hard cash. Considerably more than the piffling £36.5m per annum we received under Devo I.

Beverley Nielsen, Lib Dem

There can be no doubt about Andy’s personal energy, endeavour and ambition for our region – he has certainly set out some big and important targets.

The Renewal Plan identifies priorities beyond the Super SEP including eliminating youth unemployment and homelessness, doubling housing build, increasing cycle spend by 40 fold, reclaiming further powers from Westminster over housing and transport, protecting our heritage, placing the West Midlands voice at the heart of Westminster….

The key will be when resources can become available to meet these policy objectives prioritised by the new Mayor and to be clear that these have the support of the whole WMCA board.

Siôn Simon, Labour

Ticking off meaningless tasks you set yourself while so many people are still struggling so badly is no kind of achievement.

On homelessness, congestion, getting the best deal for the West Midlands from Brexit, Andy Street has failed to stand up for the West Midlands.

Our region continues to bear the brunt of Tory austerity, about which the Tory Mayor has said and done precisely nothing.

His first 100 days prove that he is the Tory government’s man in the West Midlands…

Not a single person…has had their life significantly improved by Andy Street’s first 100 days. That should be the test, and on that test he has failed.

Mayor Street has just over 2.5 years before he faces the electorate – and possibly some of the election class of 2017 – again. In the meantime, he faces significant challenges in very uncertain times.

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