It was recently announced that a big firm would locate to Coventry creating 1650 jobs. This was something I supported and publicly spoke in favour of to secure the investment. There were some dissenting voices, particularly local Tory Councillors who disgracefully voted against the plans at a planning meeting.
Why do I support these plans though?
I used the same public information available to anyone in coming to my decision. Coventry has higher than regional and national unemployment figures and has done for years. Secondly, we have a particular problem with young people seeking employment. Thirdly, whilst we have two thriving universities in Coventry, something I fully welcome, only about 40% of school leavers go. Fourthly, it will be built on the old Jaguar site on Browns Lane, a site which has had employment on it since the 1930s!
Which leads me to my final and most crucial point.
The company creating these jobs operate in a growing sector of the economy, a company used and known by just about everyone in the country. They have promised full time contracts, reasonable pay and conditions with opportunities for apprenticeships for all workers. Why would I deny that opportunity to Coventry citizens? And how could local Tories denigrate these jobs and deny opportunity for our own people? In short, snobbery is the answer! Tory Councillors would sooner see people languish with no hope or opportunity than actually support people to get up in the morning and go to work!
Fortunately though the decision was made positively by Labour Councillors and we move on. My work does not stop there though.
Jaguar Land Rover and the council are in constant contact about their ambitious plans to build and develop modern batteries for new electric Jags! Very exciting I can tell you! A lot of work still needs to be done and we need the government to help with infrastructure so these plans can come to fruition. It will not be without its issues and problems.
One thing I can guarantee you though whilst I am the Councillor in charge of Jobs and Regeneration: no stone will go unturned in our pursuit of sustainable, modern and good employment in all its forms for our people in Coventry. That is my pledge.
Merry Christmas and let’s make it a very Happy New Year for all workers and job seekers in our city.