Today (Thursday, 16 January) the West Midlands Liberal Democrats formally announce Beverley Nielsen as candidate for the region’s Mayoral election, taking place on Thursday May 7.
Beverley Nielsen is a Councillor on Malvern Hill District Council, holding the Economic Development Portfolio and having gained a great understanding of the region’s strengths and priorities both as candidate during the 2017 West Midlands Mayoral election and having worked in the region over the past 20 years.
Launching the campaign, Cllr Nielsen and the West Midlands Lib Dems will focus on their 3Ccore strategy aimed at developing greater connections to opportunity across the West Midlands as the UK’s ‘Carbon Neutral Central Hub’through:
Connecting People…. through sustainable, integrated public transport, improved digital solutions with vocational, technical and business skills.
Connecting Enterprises…. through public procurement driving innovation, strengthened social enterprises and support for trade and investment
Connecting Communities…. through greater combined authority accountability, transparency, dialogue and delivery networks and support for civic activism
As the UK targets net zero carbon emissions by 2050 the West Midlands is ideally positioned to produce the creative solutions to beat that target, which we must aim to do for the sake of following generations. With our track record for world firsts, our start-ups and innovation-active businesses, and as the UK’s productive heartland, employing 50% more people in manufacturing than the English average, we can be the carbon neutral engine room for the UK.
Speaking on the announcement of Cllr Nielsen as candidate, West Midlands Lib Dem MEP, Phil Bennion, said:
“Time and again, Beverley has shown herself to be passionate about improving the fortunes of people and businesses in the West Midlands.
“By engaging with people across the region, and championing business at all levels, Beverley has great skill in focussing on the core liberal approach to creating opportunity and improving our region – by ensuring solutions, and their benefits, are rooted in our communities.
“Beverley is a fantastic candidate and a successful Councillor. I know that many people and organisations join with me and the West Midlands Liberal Democrats in wishing her success on May 7.”
Speaking on her candidacy announcement, and priorities for the campaign, Cllr Nielsen said:
“The Carbon Neutral Challenge will need a different, more dynamic form of community action, bringing together our diverse communities, public and private sectors towards shared Clean Growth goals. Every aspect of how we live, travel and work will change over the coming decades. I see myself and a connector and challenger – not a big corporate player – working on behalf of our communities, companies and citizens.
“Our army of small and medium-sized businesses see the scale of opportunity in front of us. They’re already driving clean growth by employing local people and buying locally through their supply chains. They want us to become the UK’s ‘Carbon Neutral Central Hub’and as your Mayor, I would drive this forward.
“We know that we need to spend more of our vital public sector funding to buy more products and services locally. It’s sad to note that the West Midlands has amongst the lowest levels of local public procurement in the UK and that the Combined Authority has made no impact here – I would change this and focus on West Midlands clean growth and new jobs and investment opportunities.
“We know more focus is going into ‘Clean Air Zones’ and moving people out of cars. 24% of UK domestic greenhouse gas emissions are from transport and of these, 93% are from road transport. Getting people onto public transport alternatives requires a far greater scale of investment than we have seen. As the region’s Mayor, I would ensure we have a relentless focus on delivering clean, reliable and efficient public transport for our people and businesses.
“With such a young and diverse population we have a human goldmine that can power growth across our Carbon Neutral Central Hub. But only if we invest in practical skills fit for the future. For over a decade further education has been drastically underfunded. Sadly, 9% of millennials in Birmingham are unemployed, one in every 11, with more than 16,000 young people in this city alone unemployed - more than twice the national average and one of the highest rates of unemployment among this age group in the country. The Mayor having promised to eliminate youth unemployment has failed to deliver.
“With rising homelessness, rising numbers of rough sleepers on our streets and the hidden homelessness resulting from large numbers of families in temporary accommodation (3,682 people at last count) there’s been a shocking insensitivity towards those most in need. Our currentMayor promised to eradicate rough sleeping as one of his top priorities – he has clearly failed. He has not delivered the joined-up solutions required to create sustainable, affordable housing developments to meet our needs.
“As your Mayor, I would ensure that we take advantage of the opportunities that investing in clean growth brings by connecting communities, enterprises and people – and my approach would see complete transparency in decision-making.
“Only by voting Liberal Democrat on May 7 can you elect a Mayor wholly focussed on the needs of the West Midlands and answerable to the people of our great region.”
Further information on candidate details:
Cllr Nielsen, Associate Professor and Director at the Institute for Design & Economic Acceleration, IDEA, at Birmingham City University (BCU), has worked in the West Midlands since 1992. Her roles span campaigning for the CBI promoting local employers and manufacturing, in business as MD of Fired Earth - part of iconic AGA Rangemaster Group, and supporting start-ups to success and young people into work at BCU where she has been based for the past 12 years. She is a Councillor on Malvern Hills District Council in Worcestershire where she holds the Economic Development Portfolio and where around half the population commutes to Birmingham and the West Midlands conurbation daily, primarily by car.