That’s been an interesting year! All sorts of elections, false starts and comebacks. The year not many predicted. All this and Tory austerity continues unabated with the use of foodbanks inexorably rising and government promises of jam tomorrow in the form of Brexit.
In the meantime, life goes on. Some initiatives I have been involved in are all designed to try to improve the quality of life for our citizens here in Coventry. This can be in the form of new jobs, creating income streams to spend on hard pressed services or securing investments in new developments or infrastructure to both encourage commerce and shoppers whilst creating jobs for local people. Not just for today but for many years to come.
Here’s a run-down of some projects and their progress as of today.
1. City Centre South. Agreed the money to be released in January with the first contract to buy and knock down Coventry Point due in the new year
2. Very Light Rail. £12M negotiated from the Combined Authority in November to create a prototype by 2019
3. Brought back into public ownership Coombe Abbey which the council already had the freehold ownership but which will now bring in 7 digit profits to reinvest in services year after year for Coventry people
4. Agreed for new electric power to be pumped into Whitley to help JLR expand creating further jobs with work ongoing now
5. Won the national competition to secure and locate the new Electric Battery Development Centre in Coventry making it the national centre of excellence and manufacture of battery technology in the country. Land currently being prepared for construction
6. Created a new company with the council as 50% shareholder to construct further buildings at Friargate thus securing both rental and business rates to be invested in services in Coventry. Building 2 starting in 2018
7. Secured the Financial Ombudsman Service to locate here in Coventry in October this year bringing 300 jobs and rental income for the city
8. Agreed to enter into agreement with the Historic Coventry Trust to bring old neglected buildings back into use over a period of 5 years
9. COOP. Negotiated a sale to redevelop the old COOP on Corporation Street into luxury flats, offices and restaurants bringing in Council Tax, business rates and jobs for Coventry people. Work in the building happening as we speak with a preview event happening in January
10. Agreed further changes to Coventry Train Station to enable redevelopment and modernisation with work ongoing
11. Made sure the employment support service for adults with enduring mental health and learning difficulties had funding and a sustainable future meaning the Job Shop goes from strength to strength
12. Made Coventry the test bed for driverless cars putting us at the cutting edge of new automotive technology and making sure we are in pole position for new investment in this emerging field. Trials took place in November with further tests in 2018
13. Made an investment in north Coventry bringing an £80K return per annum for tax payers
14. Set up a fund to help support business to the tune of £20M over 10 years creating 1400 jobs and help grow 360 small businesses locally
None of this is done in isolation. I am a Labour Councillor and I never forget that. All of this is done with an end goal in mind with a clear political philosophy. Simply put: jobs change lives and good jobs with good pay and conditions change lives completely.
It’s what Labour is all about. That’s what drives me and will continue to do so.