In just a few months time the West Midlands will elect its first Metro Mayor.
Every other candidate in the forthcoming election campaigned for the UK to Remain in the EU.
Aware that the West Midlands has been dubbed the ‘Brexit capital of the UK’, most of the mayoral candidates are being very discrete about their strongly pro-EU views.
One of them even appears to be attempting to delete or rewrite history, and is producing ‘Vote Leave’ style literature, when they actually campaigned vigorously to Remain.
All very curious!
And more than a little deceptive.
My view has never changed. I believe that the UK, and particularly the West Midlands, as the UK’s manufacturing power base, will benefit hugely from our ability to trade freely with the world again ‘post-Brexit’.
Achieving Brexit will enable us to release SMEs who do not export to the EU (around 90%) from most of the productivity-strangling Red Tape which has been directly generated as a result of our 40 year plus EU membership.
Brexit will also allow us to favour UK companies when determining who will be awarded contracts, for example the extremely lucrative ones associated with HS2.
EU rules on public procurement expressly forbid us from doing this currently, and as a result many huge contracts will go to German, French and Dutch companies, when ‘for a few dollars more’, a UK company could have been favoured, creating and maintaining hundreds, if not thousands of extra jobs.
It is hard to see how someone who believes we should still be in the EU, all the other candidates, will have the passion and enthusiasm to fully embrace all the opportunities which Brexit will provide.
I have that passion and that enthusiasm, and given the tremendous honour of being elected mayor, I will direct every ounce of it into making sure that businesses across the West Midlands lead the way in a post-Brexit era.
I have lived in the Black Country for most of my adult life, worked in Birmingham city centre, and gained my Honour Degree in Computer Science from Coventry Lanchester polytechnic (now Coventry university).
The new major must be completely unprejudiced and impartial when deciding how funds will be spent across our region.
Equally importantly, the new mayor must not only promote the West Midlands region tirelessly, they will also need to be prepared to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to protect it from the further damaging cuts which the Conservative government has in store.
West Midlands mayor will need to be incredibly strong willed and strong minded, acting at all times in the best interests of the West Midlands region, its residents and businesses.
The last thing we need is an easily-controlled ‘puppet mayor’, who will allow a Conservative government to continue to target our region for the very deepest cuts, or a Labour career politician who will carry them out, then try to cover up what they are doing with ‘deception and spin’.
I believe the West Midlands public and business leaders will not be conned with wild, obviously unachievable promises (purchasing the M6 Toll road, setting up £1 billion investment funds, etc).
Honesty and transparency will be the themes of my campaign, and continue to be if I am elected.
I am absolutely convinced that small and medium size businesses will be the drivers of our future prosperity, and that creating the right environment for these to thrive must be number one priority for the new mayor.
All my pledges can be found on my web site, www.petedurnell.com, unlike those of the other candidates they are entirely realistic and achievable.
On the 4th May 2017 voters across the West Midlands Combined Authority area will head to the polls to elect the region’s first ever Mayor. The Mayor will have a vital role to play in shaping strategy, enhancing the region’s reputation and championing local businesses and communities on a national and international stage.
Ahead of these elections the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce are working in partnership with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to engage the business community and make sure the business voice is heard. During December 2016 we featured introductory articles from each of the confirmed WMCA Mayor Candidates on our website and in our December & January edition of ChamberLink Magazine:
Conservative: Andy Street (click here)
Green: James Burn (click here)
Labour: Sion Simon (click here)
Liberal Democrat: Beverley Nielsen (click here)
We will continue to feature articles from further candidates on our website as they are announced on their message to the business community.
You can find out more about the West Midlands Combined Authority through our briefing paper (click here) or visiting the WMCA website (click here).