Colin is the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Selly Oak. He campaigns on behalf of the residents of Selly Oak, Bournville, Brandwood and Billesley on matters of local concern.
If there is a local issue you would like to discuss with him or with Selly Oak Liberal Democrats, please get in touch and we'll do the best we can to help.
You can help Colin's campaigns by:
Birmingham's Labour run council have given final approval to closure plans for a number of swimming pools across the city. Our local pool on Tiverton Road is set to close in April 2016.
People tell us how they use the pool to keep fit and it's where their children learned to swim. It is an important local resource that will be really missed if it is closed.
The Lib Dems listen to local people and are campaigning hard to save the pool. Our alternative budget would have kept the pool open. But sadly, if Labour still run Birmingham in 2016 Tiverton Road Pool is set to close.
Britain is facing a housing shortage that is becoming a crisis. Here in Birmingham, there are 79,000 people on housing waiting lists and the number is growing. The House Builder's Federation say we need to build between 280,000 and 320,000 houses a year to keep up with population growth and reduce the numbers of people in temporary accommodation. That's why they support the Lib Dem's plans to build 300,000 houses a year for the next 10 years.
Speaking at the Lib Dem's party conference, Colin Green welcomed the commitment more social houses, saying: "We haven't built enough houses for decades. The shortage doesn't just affect those on waiting lists or in temporary accommodation. It has driven up the cost of housing for everyone, fuelling a cost of living crisis."
Colin praised the Lib Dem's record on building social houses, saying "Nationally, the Lib Dems have built more social houses in the last 4 years than Labour did in their 13 years of government. In Birmingham too, the Lib Dems built the first new social houses in a generation, following years of neglect by the Labour council. It's clear, only the Lib Dems will build the houses we so desperately need."
A bit of a twitter spat has broken out between our Labour MP Steve McCabe and our Labour councillors. People are writing in to complain about how badly the council is run, and they're right.
Is there a secret conspiracy to run Birmingham City Council so badly that we'll all end up supporting a directly elected or imposed Mayor?— Steve McCabe (@steve_mccabe) August 7, 2014
@simonbates_ just got home to a raft of emails and phone messages from constituents complaining to their MP about services run by council— Steve McCabe (@steve_mccabe) August 7, 2014
Income tax has been in the news recently. With the parties preparing their manifestoes for next year's election, their public musings give an insight into their real views on tax.
Tory policy chief Oliver Letwin has brought up 'Flat Tax' again. A Flat Rate income tax is one where everyone pays the same rate, no matter how much they earn. It is an idea that has been floating round the Conservative party for decades. Oliver Letwin's suggestion matches UKIP policy everyone paying a flat rate of 31%. It means people in the 40% tax band get a tax cut whilst the lowest paid have to pay out more. It's an idea I cannot stand.
Meanwhile, Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has talked about putting the top rate of income tax up to 50%, even though it has been shown to raise less money for the country. Punishing people for success without any benefit to the country is simply the politics of envy.
In contrast, the Lib Dems are discussing whether to increase the tax threshold to £12,000 a year, taking people on the minimum wage out of income tax, or to raise the national insurance threshold to £10,500 a year, giving more help those who work part time on low pay. The contrast with the other parties is striking.
I support progressive taxation. That is a rate of income tax that gets progressively higher the more you earn. In the UK, income tax is 0% the first £10,000 you earn in a year, 20% for the next £31,865, 40% for the next £108,135 and 45% for earnings above this.
The lowest paid in Britain barely have enough to live on and it seems wrong to take away some of the little they have. That's why I think raising the tax threshold to £10,000 a year is the best thing the Lib Dems have done in government.
Labour put tax up for the lowest paid by scraping the 10p rate of tax. We've turned that round by cutting their income tax bill by £700 a year. Now I'm looking forward to the next parliament and the Lib Dems cutting tax for the lowest paid even further.
Birmingham is set to receive £195 million of funding to boost the local economy and infrastructure.
Nick Clegg recently announced £12 billion of Growth Deals to create jobs, build homes and boost local economies up to 2020.
Growth Deals will mean every local area in England will have more power over the money they raise and spend plus more control over their own economic destiny.
Here in Birmingham, the Growth Deal will fund:
Part of the aim is to provide a significant investment in skills training, as well as work to improve educational attainment and to get more people from welfare to work. They will also help to end our over reliance on London in favour of boosting growth, jobs and ambition in our great towns and cities.
Commenting, prospective parliamentary candidate Colin Green said: "These deals would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government. Nick Clegg has led this initiative in Government, after promising that by the end of this Parliament every part of the country would have more power and freedom than at the beginning."
Announcing the deals, Nick said: "We are ending a culture of Whitehall knows best. Decisions over spending on infrastructure, business support and housing are being made at a truly local level.
"It will help generate growth, jobs, and ambition in towns and cities all across England.
"Growth Deals will create thousands of jobs, provide incredible new training opportunities for young people, build thousands of new homes and improve transport links across the country. Investing in local infrastructure will make a real difference to local communities; building a stronger economy and a fairer society."
Around one million people in Britain act as carers for a parent or other family member. Research conducted by Carers UK revealed that almost half of all carers are struggling financially due to their caring roles.
As part of the government, the Liberal Democrats' Care Act and Children and Families Act have extended the rights of carers of all ages. And they want to go further in the next parliament to recognise the tireless work of carers. Plans for a ‘Carers Bonus' announced this month will form part of the Lib Dems manifesto for the next government. This will give carers a £250 a year bonus by the end of the next parliament.
The Carers Bonus marks out our commitment to promoting the wellbeing of carers and is the first of a number of proposals aimed at better supporting carers that comes from our policy on Age Ready Britain.
Commenting, Colin Green said: "Carers are Britain's unsung heroes. Up and down the country behind closed doors, you'll find a hidden army of carers doing amazing things every day.
"It is estimated that six in ten of us will at some point in our lives find ourselves caring for someone else – an elderly relative, a sick child, a friend who needs our support.
"These are people who deserve our support even in straightened times, which is why the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a Carer's Bonus to give them a little extra help."
Birmingham is suffering at the hands of Labour. Our streets are dirtier. Garden waste is piling up and we're being forced to pay more for the privilege. The council is wasting money with one hand and clawing it back through cuts with the other. It's a disgrace. Labour's green waste tax is a blatant stealth tax. It is causing our city to be littered with uncollected refuse. There are hour long waits at recycling centres as people queue to dispose of their own green waste. Yet Labour refuse to listen to people who are angry at basic services being cut.
The Lib Dems have been talking to people all across the constituency and we're listening to what you say. We will fight to protect our city, its people and the services the council ought to provide. Our top priorities are reintroducing green waste collections, protecting public services and tackling Birmingham's housing shortage.
The Labour run council has been a disaster for Birmingham. There has been a public outcry at their unnecessary cuts but they just won't listen. But you have another way to make yourself heard.
Send Labour a Message. Vote Lib Dem on 22nd May.
The introduction of Labour's £35 green waste tax has been disasterous. Local residents are angry at the mess left by Labour. There are massive queues at recycling centres and piles of dumped waste on our streets.
The problem is getting out of hand. It's time for Labour to start listening. Add your voice to our campaign to start green waste collections again byt signing our petition.
And if they don't listen, send Labour a message by voting Lib Dem in 22nd May
Labour's Garden Waste Tax is causing havoc at Birmingham's recycling centres. Queues of traffic an hour long are commonplace as local residents take the garden waste to to Lifford Lane.
The queues are causing anger and the Police have been called according to Birmingham Mail.
Local residents tell me how they waited for over an hour only to have the gates closed when they got near the front of the queue. It is beyond a joke.
Labour have massively misjudged public opinion and they are refusing to listen. They seem to put their stealth tax ahead of serving the community with the basic service of collecting refuse.
Birmingham Lib Dems will reintroduce green waste collections if they gain back control of the council in May's elections.
send Labour a message by voting Lib Dem in 22nd May
While Lib Dems try to protect services by saving money on wheelie bins
Birmingham's Labour councillors voted for cuts at this month's council budget meeting. Cuts to garden waste collection, cuts to street cleaning, cuts to bulky rubbish collections and more. And it's not just cuts. Labour voted to put up your council tax too, on top of charging for green waste collections which used to be paid for by council tax.
Lib Dem councillors tried to change the budget, to protect services and make savings from the massive cost of wheelie bins. Labour instead chose their cuts. Here's a rundown of the services the Lib Dems tried to protect and the cost savings they would have made.
Services Lib Dems tried to protect
Savings to pay for services
Labour's cuts are not needed. The costs can be more than met from savings elsewhere. Yet Labour chose to cut services, and chose to increase council tax. They do this every time they run the council in Birmingham, but you can stop them at the election in May.
A vote for Labour is a vote for waste and cuts. A vote for the Liberal Democrats will help us protect council services in Birmingham.
Selly Oak Liberal Democrats have selected local campaigner Colin Green as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Birmingham Selly Oak at the next General Election.
Commenting, Colin Green said: "I'm delighted to have been selected as the prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Selly Oak. I look forward to the opportunity of highlighting the Lib Dem's coalition successes in sticking up for ordinary people.
"Despite the difficult financial situation the country faces and being the junior partner in coalition, I welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrats have seen a number of our progressive policies achieved in government:
- Raising the tax threshold, taking the lowest paid out of income tax
- Creating millions of new jobs and apprenticeships
- Helping disadvantaged school children with our Pupil Premium
- Reforming the state pension with our triple lock to protect the value of pensions against prices and average earnings
- and now giving free school meals for all 5 to 7 year olds, boosting attainment levels for primary school children.
"It's these achievements and more that I want to help the Lib Dems build on in the next parliament."
Help save Tiverton Road pool by signing our petition here:
Birmingham's Labour run council has recently voted to close a raft of community buildings in Birmingham, including our nearest swimming pool on Tiverton Road. They have a long history of this kind of thing, they closed Bournville Lane Baths 25 years ago and it is still a blight in the centre of Stirchley.
Part of the reason they want to make cuts to our local services is because they want to spend £62 million on switching to wheelie bins. But the cuts are not necessary. Labour scrapped the Lib Dem's plan to recycle food waste, much cheaper way to improve refuse collections. Instead, they chose the much more expensive wheelie bin option and now they have to cut swimming pools and other services to pay for it.
We need to collect as much evidence as possible about why Tiverton Road Pool is important to you and other residents. You can help our campaign to save this important local service with a few simple actions:
1) Complete our online petition at sellyoaklibdems.nationbuilder.com
2) Tell us why the pool is important to you facebook.com/SaveTivertonPool
3) Ask your friends and neighbours to join in.
We need to build this campaign to make a real difference. A few minutes of your time could really help.
The Lib Dems recently announced the introduction of free school meals for all infant school pupils from September 2014.
Trials of the scheme show that learning increased by about 4 week's worth per year by giving free school meals to all pupils in infant schools...
Children concentrate more and are better behaved once they've had a healthy meal. It means teachers spend more time teaching instead of dealing with behaviour, so children spend more of their time learning.
Read more here
Birmingham's Labour council want to charge you £35 to collect your green waste - a service currently paid for by council tax.
Lib Dem spokesman Colin Green said: "While the Lib Dems in government are cutting taxes for working people, Labour want you to pay more to recycle garden waste."
"They were given an extra £28 million to keep weekly bin collections. Labour want to charge us £35 on top of that. We used to fund all refuse collections out of council tax."
Read more here
Local Schools are getting more money thanks to the Lib Dem's Pupil Premium. This year, Schools will get an extra £1300 for each child on free school meals.
The Lib Dems believe that no-one's chances in life should be limited by their background. That's why we're giving schools more money to help close the gap in attainment between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers.
Read more here
Bournville residents have responded angrily to the new wheelie bin proposal by Birmingham's Labour council.
With almost a thousand replies, the massive response to our survey is clear. People opposing wheelie bins outnumber those in favour by more than 2 to 1. Local Lib Dem Steve Haynes said: "We asked people in Bournville what they wanted and we've listened to them. People don't know where they'll keep three wheelie bins and they're worried about them being an eyesore. The Lib Dems' plans for food waste recycling would stop the problem with pests ripping open bags but Labour scrapped this cheaper and simpler scheme.
Parliamentary spokesman Colin Green added "Labour are imposing wheelie bins despite massive opposition from local residents. They're just not listening to people. They were given £28 million by government to keep weekly bin collections and they're spending it on something that people just don't want. And they want to charge us all £35 a year for green waste collections that used to be paid for by our council tax. This green waste tax could still be avoided if Labour change their minds on their expensive and unpopular wheelie bins."
Lib Dems in Government have helped businesses create over 1 million private sector jobs, including...
Jobs for young people, jobs in manufacturing, jobs across the UK and jobs building Britain. Now we're campaigning to create A Million More...
Read more here
The winter weather has taken its toll on some of our roads and there has been an outbreak of potholes. The Lib Dem team are taking note of these as they walk around the ward are reporting them to the council for repair.
As the new Liberal Democrat campaigner for Bournville ward, I've asked the council to make the necessary repairs. I think it is important to look after our city and I'm keen to get involved. If there's anything I can help with, from road repairs to fly tipping and missed refuse collections, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone and leave a message on 0121 589 1608. I'll try to get the problem solved as soon as I can.
Birmingham's Labour run council have decided to cut Council Tax Benefit by 20%. This means thousands of low income and unemployed households will now have to pay council tax.
Labour put this to January's council meeting where they voted down a Lib Dem amendment which would have left council tax benefit unchanged.
Read more here
The Living Wage is in the news again after a new figures for 2012 have been published. It's not a new idea. Liberal MP Mark Oldroyd wrote about it in 1894 and the Living Wage foundation has been promoting it for over 10 years. The new figure is £7.45 per hour and is higher than the current minimum wage of £6.19. So what is the Living Wage for and why is it important?
Read more here
©2014 Colin Green
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