7th Jul, 2022

Green Party names its West Midlands Combined Authority mayoral candidate

Coventry Editorial 25th Oct, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A SOLIHULL councillor has thrown his hat in the ring to become mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Coun James Burn, Chelmsley Wood councillor and leader of the Solihull Green Party, has launched his campaign to head up the new ‘super council’.

The Green Party candidate has previously voiced his concerns about the lack of transparency in the WMCA – pointing to the lack of webcast meetings and the fact the ruling group is just made up of council leaders Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

However, if he is elected he promises to try change this.

Unlike his fellow candidates, the Coun Burn has pledged to set up an ‘assembly’ of councillors, business leaders, and representatives from unions and the voluntary sector to help scrutinise his decisions if elected as metro mayor.

He told the Observer: “For an authority like this to work, people need to feel that they are involved in decision making and that they can trust the leadership.

“But I don’t trust a group of council and business leaders to have the interests of the average person at heart.

“As mayor, I want to make sure ordinary people have control of their Authority so it provides good jobs and decent homes for their families.

“That is why I want an ‘assembly’ – to provide checks and balances and to reassure people that their concerns are being heard at the top.”

While Coun Burn will not be able to formally cede power to the ‘assembly’ he pledges to establish, he has promised to ‘listen and abide by whatever is set up’.

Among his plans for the future of the region Coun Burn promises to invest in small businesses and cutting-edge, low-carbon technologies to ensure the long-term economic security of the region.

He also plans to use his experiences as a qualified social worker to launch a ‘war on loneliness’ – giving the region’s elderly and marginalised people the support they require.

“I have stopped loads of people asking about their opinions on the WMCA and they have no idea idea what I am talking about,” Coun Burn said.

“I do not want the first time many people hear about having a mayor is when the voting slip comes through their door.

“I want to be a mayor that listens to people and heals the suspicions put in place by the behind-closed-door way the WMCA has been set-up and run so far.”

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