Express & Star

Labour's candidate for West Midlands mayor pledges to take over bus services

Labour's candidate to be the next elected mayor for the West Midlands pledged to take bus services back into public ownership if he wins this year's election.

Richard Parker

Richard Parker, who will challenge Tory incumbent Andy Street at the election on May 2 next year, made the commitment as he officially launched his campaign.

Mr Parker, a 60-year-old accountant, said housing, transport, and tackling the cost-of-living crisis would be his main priorities.

He said his vision for the West Midlands would mean more opportunities for people to access skills and education, enabling them to get well-paid, high quality jobs.

He said the region had suffered years of decline.

Mr Parker said, if elected, he would work with councils and developers to ensure new, warmer, affordable homes were built in the places where they were needed.

He said he would ensure more people in the region would be able to own their own home, and would also tackle rogue landlords to drive up standards in the private-rental sector.

He said the West Midlands was being held back by the Conservative Government and Conservative mayor.

“I come from working-class roots, my dad was a dock worker and my mum was a school secretary, so I know the realities of working hard to make ends meet," he said.

Mr Parker was a partner at the Price Waterhouse Coopers for several years, where he specialised in political consultancy work and was involved in setting up the West Midlands Combined Authority.

More recently, he has run a business providing support to small- and medium-sized businesses.

He said his work had brought £1 billion worth of investment to the region.

“I left school at 16, I was determined to make something of my life," he said.

"I put myself through college and university and I've had a successful career. But I want to do even more as Mayor of the West Midlands.

“The opportunities that were open to me when I was starting out just aren’t there for young people today. I'll fix that because people here can't afford any more excuses."

He said too many people in the West Midlands relied on insecure jobs with low pay.

“Owning a home is a distant dream for too many people and Conservative mismanagement of the economy means that people can’t afford to heat their homes or buy food," he said.

Mr Parker said he had lived and worked in the West Midlands all his adult life and had worked in business to provide housing, regeneration and secure investment into the region.

“I’m committed to using my experience and skills to make all parts of our region places where everyone can thrive, and no one is left behind."