Express & Star

I'll create 150,000 jobs if elected, says mayoral candidate

Labour's mayoral candidate has pledged to create 150,000 new jobs and training opportunities in the West Midlands if he is successful in next month's election.


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Richard Parker accused the present mayor, Conservative Andy Street, of overseeing an 'unemployment crisis' in the region, with unemployment in Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Walsall all being significantly above the national average.

Mr Parker said that, if elected, he would guarantee high-quality apprenticeships for every young person that wants one, as well as support for those who want to retrain for new roles.

He said one of his first tasks would be to convene a 'taskforce' of employers, businesses, colleges and training providers to attract investment and create the skilled, experienced workforce businesses across the region need to thrive.

Mr Parker said his ambition for the region would be supported by Labour’s commitment to make Britain a 'clean energy superpower'. This included commitments to invest in electric vehicle battery plants in automotive heartlands like the West Midlands, fund green hydrogen manufacturing and upgrade cold, draughty homes.

He said: “We have crisis of unemployment under the Conservatives, with too many people across our region being held back by a lack of opportunities.

"If elected, I will work with businesses and colleges to unleash the talent and skills I know we have by the bucket-load.

"We will guarantee apprenticeships and create a jobs revolution with thousands of new, well-paid roles across the West Midlands, providing the chance for people to work hard and get on once again."

Mr Parker said Mr Street had failed to deliver on his promise to bring almost 4,000 government jobs to Birmingham as part of plans for a new civil service hub, despite the expenditure of £1 million taxpayers' money.

He said the unemployment rate in Bimringham was 7.3 per cent, almost double the national rate of 3.7 per cent.

In Wolverhampton the figure was 6.2 per cent, in Walsall, it was 6 per cent, and in Sandwell it was 5.6 per cent, although Dudley was fairly close to the national average at four per cent.