The Midlands A Mayor for...


The Midlands

Mayoral candidates are questioned about their plans.


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There are exactly two weeks to go until the West Midlands chooses

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its first directly elected mayor.

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Potentially, the most influential local politician

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since Joseph Chamberlain became mayor of Birmingham almost

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a century and a half ago.

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So, who get your vote?

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All six candidates aiming for the top job with this tonight.

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And so too is our studio audience, ready with

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the questions for our debate.

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A Mayor for the West Midlands.

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APPLAUSE.

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Good evening.

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Welcome to Birmingham's Ormiston Academy.

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So, there's an election on.

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No, not the general election, we have our own big one right

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here for our West Midlands metro mayor and I'm delighted to tell you,

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we're joined here this evening by all six of the candidates.

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For the Greens, James Burn.

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For Ukip, Pete Durnell.

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For Labour, Sion Simon.

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For the Conservatives, Andy Street.

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For the Liberal Democrats, Beverley Nielsen.

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And for the Communists, Graham Stevenson.

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And that, everybody, is your panel tonight.

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And you at home can join in our debate as well on social

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media, using the hashtag that's on your screen now.

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Let's begin with our first question tonight and it

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comes from Graham Slater.

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Your question.

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Good evening.

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Do we need a metro mayor, or is it just another expensive

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level of bureaucracy?

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Sion Simon, you stood down from parliament in order to fight

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for an earlier mayoral role and you know, you've heard

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the evidence of referendums and the rejection in Stoke,

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there's no great appetite, as we heard here from Mr Slater.

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The most important thing isn't that we have a metro mayor,

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the most important thing is that we run our own region.

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What this needs to be and it can be if we do it right,

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what this needs to be is part of a process of taking back control,

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real control, real power, from the London government that has

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real control, real power, from the London Government that has

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let is down for 40 years in the West Midlands,

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and finally starting to run the West Midlands ourselves.

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Running our own transport system, our own housing,

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our own health and social care, our own education and skills policy.

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We can do all that much better by doing it ourselves.

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The way that the Government has set out for us to do

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that is they are giving as a mayor.

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That isn't actually the most important thing.

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In terms of the cost, what I've said is at the end of three years,

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I'll publish an independently audited super scrutinised report

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which sets out exactly how much it cost and exactly what's been saved

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and exactly how much has been generated and if we have got

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and exactly how much has been generated and if we haven't got

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a massive surplus and outstanding value, then I will consider

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myself to have failed and I won't stand again.

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Peter Durnell, your party was in line with Mr Slater's idea

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for quite some time, thinking that it was an expensive

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indulgence, a vanity project, devolution from the people

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to the establishment, said one of your MEPs.

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So, why have you changed your mind?

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We don't believe this is true devolution.

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In the form that it setup now.

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We have a big issue with the authority, rather

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than the mayor position.

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I said I'll only take 30,000.

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I'm not in it for the money.

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It is expensive, so I'm actually looking to keep control of the cost

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It is expensive, so I'm actually looking to keep control of the cost

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of the combine authority which has been running since last summer,

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14 million just to set it up.

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Who knows how many million per year it's already costing?

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I don't believe that it will actually generate the money

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in itself to actually pay for itself.

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So, I'm saying...

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Why run?

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One of the reasons that I'm running is absolutely to keep

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control of those costs, to let you know what it's doing.

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If you walk down the street, almost no one would be able to tell

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you what the combined authority is, how it works, how it's running,

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how it's self scrutinising itself, all these things.

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One of the reasons I'm running is that.

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There are a lot of reasons but that is one of them.

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James Burn, you also said...

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APPLAUSE.

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You also have said that she would live

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on something more like a typical West Midlands income.

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Isn't that just a piece of gesture politics on your part?

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Not at all.

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In 2012, people in Coventry and Birmingham voted

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against having a mayor and now they have their that they didn't

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against having a mayor and now they have a mayor that they didn't

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want and didn't vote for.

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One thing that is really clear from all the hustings that we have

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done is people don't want a mayor.

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Mayors can work but the difference between here and in London

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is when you vote for a mayor in London, on the same day you vote

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for assembly members to speak up for every single area of the whole

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region to hold that mayor to account and make sure that mayor is working

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for you and for your benefit, you're not going to

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have that vote here.

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Here, you're going to have a mayor, he'll be held to account

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by colleagues of the people running the authority, will meet handful

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of times a year with no opposition politicians there at all.

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It's a real scandal.

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So, a mayor could work and can work but we need more accountability

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and more scrutiny and more honesty.

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APPLAUSE.

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Beverly Nielsen, where talking to people who believe

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it is an extra level of unwanted bureaucracy.

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Well, I've lived and worked here for 20 years and in that time

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I've seen this region overlooked by both the Conservatives

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and the Labour Party because I noticed that Sion says,

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this is about the London government, he says, letting us down,

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but actually it's the Labour Party and the Conservative Party

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that have let us down.

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What we need is, yes, our fair share.

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We need investment, not cuts but what were not hearing

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from the Conservative Party is where getting 4 billion

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more cuts for 2020.

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If were going to fight the cuts, get the investment, we need a strong

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voice and we need to make sure that the opportunities are heard.

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Would you then take home the full ?79,000 pay packet,

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given the austerity that you are saying is all around us.

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I don't think it's an extravagant salary, actually.

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It's three times average earnings.

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It's the average wage for a mayor in America and, actually,

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if we really want to get this job done, let's take it seriously.

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You're accused there of letting the region down, your party,

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you say you would work on performance related pay.

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The question we should answer first of all is do we need a mayor

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and the categoric answer is yes.

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One of the reasons why this region has done relatively poorly over

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the last 40 years is that we have not had somebody championing

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the region around Britain and around the world.

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For the first time, will have an individual

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who is responsible for doing that and, if I may say, it's

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the Conservative government that has begun to pass power back

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to the regions.

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What about this suggestion of yours of performance-related pay

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which suggests to me a more business mind than a political mind.

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And isn't it the job of the electorate decide

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whether your good value for money or not?

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Of course it is, and that's why I have indicated in my renewal plan

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the things we will achieve in our first three years and I'm

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accountable for that.

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I've also said, though, I'm prepared to put some skin in the game,

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in terms of some of my pay being on the table, depending

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on the results we achieve.

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Graham Stevenson.

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If you want a man to do the job, it's often said, get somebody

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who doesn't really want to do it.

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Like many people, I campaigned against the directly elected mayor,

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mainly for the reason, we already have already have

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government in the West Midlands, we already have councils,

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council leaders, this isn't an extra layer of government,

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it's an extra layer of fog, designed to create a circumstance

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whereby leaders of local councils can do deals with a Chancellor

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of the Exchequer operating under austerity government guidelines

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in order that they can carry out cuts to welfare and social services

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just as they are continuing to do.

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I'm standing because I want to campaign against that.

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I want to abolish that.

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I want to create people's assemblies in every borough so there's a much

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more connected kind of democracy between the professional politicians

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and ordinary people.

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APPLAUSE.

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Can I just quickly ask you about the salary.

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The 79,000 because some people obviously feel it's too much.

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Yet, if you look at the relativities, it's considerably

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less than the one suggested for the mayor of Manchester,

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certainly much less than the Mayor of London.

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Less than the police and crime commission,

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which is rather curious, I think.

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I don't think politicians should set their own pay,

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I think there should be an independent body that sets

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the pay and whatever they say is the pay,

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I'll take it.

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Let me just come back on Graham say, in case people think it's true,

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that we already have government in the region.

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We don't already have government in the region.

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We don't run our own education system.

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We don't run our own schools.

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We don't run our own skill centres.

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We don't have control over our health and our social care.

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We don't run any of these things.

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And they are huge problems.

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We can fix them if we are allowed to fix them ourselves and that's

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what this is all about.

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Quick word from the audience.

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The gentleman in the second row here.

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There's been a lot of blame on the Conservatives for this

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but only one member of the panel in front of us has actually

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been in government.

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Why wasn't the power given back when you have the chance

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and were in office?

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Also, very quickly, sorry you're putting

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in the average salary is 28 grand.

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I'm nowhere near on ?28,000.

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It's not an average salary.

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Sorry.

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Final word from Mr Slater on this because you asked this question.

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What you make of what you've heard?

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I still think it's just a waste of money.

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And when it comes to casting my vote I'm going to spoil my paper

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and write across it "No mayor, please".

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And that's going to be it.

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Isn't that a great waste of an opportunity that you've got here.

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It sends a message back.

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I tell you, when they come the votes you may well find

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that the overwhelming majority will be spoilt papers and,

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if that's the case, that message will go back to central government

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and they'll say, look, we do not want a mayor here.

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Anybody have any sympathy for this argument that we don't

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really need this mayor?

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It's unwanted.

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Yes.

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The county council look after the whole of the West Midlands

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from 1974 until it lasted in 1986 and it was closed down

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because central government didn't like the way

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they were spending the money.

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Who's going to stick up for the role of having an elected mayor?

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Lady on the front row here.

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I think we should have the elected mayor, especially with the Brexit

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negotiations because we need somebody who can travel to Europe,

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the rest of the world and really sell Birmingham

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and the West Midlands and get inward investment into the region.

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OK.

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Right, well, we've heard that the opening positions,

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if you like, from each of the candidates and, indeed,

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from some people in the audience giving a take on this

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new mayoral role.

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But in which parts of the region will he or she be responsible for?

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Who exactly can vote in this election?

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And how precisely will the new leader be able to shape

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people's day-to-day lives?

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Elisabeth Glinka now considers the prospects.

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There's no gold chain.

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And it's not about opening school fetes.

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This mayor will be a directly elected politician making decisions

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that impact the lives of three million people.

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Two million will be eligible to vote.

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Think Giuliani, think BoJo, this person will represent us

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to the rest of the country and even the rest of the world.

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The metro mayor will cover seven metropolitan boroughs.

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Dudley.

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Solihull.

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Sandwell.

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Walsall.

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Wolverhampton.

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Coventry.

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Birmingham.

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And the people of those boroughs have different ideas

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about what the priority should be.

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I think it's important to focus on training for young people.

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I think in proving the railway will be a real good step forward.

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I think we need more smaller housing.

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Somebody really needs to grab the bull by the horns

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and say to the world, here we are, guys, come and see us.

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It's a big job with some big responsibilities.

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Overseeing the budget worth ?8 billion over 30 years.

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They'll be responsible for training at colleges and also

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for apprenticeships.

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Housing will also fall to them.

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Including compulsory purchase powers.

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And they'll control the region's transport budget, with final say

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over bus franchises, roads, and trams.

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In greater Manchester, the elected mayor will also take over the job

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of the Police Commissioner and responsibility for

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health and social care.

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It's hoped that here in the West Midlands,

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the mayor could also get these powers after the next

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election in 2020.

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The election takes place on May the 4th and it's

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using the supplementary voting system which means that

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as well as your first choice, you also get a second preference.

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Whomever wins, building a reputation and the standing

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of the West Midlands has got to be key amongst their priorities.

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Yes, it's one starting pistol after another

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at the moment, isn't it?

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Let's get on to our next question which comes from Mohammed Arlene

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and it's from transport.

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Your question?

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Evening, panel.

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Investing in transport is fundamental if we are to get

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West Midlands moving again.

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What are your plans, including reducing congestion,

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especially on our motorways and your views about

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nationalising the M6 toll?

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Right, well, Andy Street, you've said that congestion

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in the West Midlands is dreadful, or appalling.

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I'm not sure that restarting the super Prix Road race

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would improve congestion in Birmingham but what's your

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solution to the obvious gridlock in our part of the world?

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So, the long-term answer has to be about investing in public transport.

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We've got to get people out of their cars and give

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them an alternative.

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So, we've talked about reopening disused railway lines,

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we've talked about extending the Metro, and we've talked

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about genuine boss prioritisation.

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about genuine bus prioritisation.

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But the real question underlying all this is how we going to get

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the funds necessary to do that?

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And I would put it to you, if you look at the failure of this

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region over the last few decades, the local Labour leadership has

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not won the investment to invest in our transport.

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I am going to be able to get that investment.

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That is my my clear commitment.

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I want voters to think who is most able to win that

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investment for our region.

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So, it's a reproach to your party, the local decision-makers here.

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I'm glad that Andy has been a bit more party political than usual.

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He normally presents itself as an independent

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but you're not an independent.

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A Tory.

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And it's because he's a Tory that he opposes

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the nationalisation of the M6 toll.

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Business across the West Midlands is in favour of it.

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It is a no-brainer.

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Congestion costs, according to Greater Birmingham

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and Solihull Chamber of Commerce, West Midlands businesses

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at least 2 billion a year.

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Black Country Chambers of commerce, they say it's their number one

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priority and it is a fact that if the government nationalised

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the M6 toll and made it free, that would take tens of thousands

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of vehicles a day of our motorways and local roads

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in the West Midlands.

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And he doesn't want to do it because the Tory government

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in London doesn't want to pay the one off 1 billion pounds,

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although they announced this week they've got ?6 billion for roads

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in the south of England.

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It is typical.

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APPLAUSE.

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Pete Durnell, Ukip called for a while for nationalisation

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of the M6 toll but you've gone in for some toned down

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version of that, just subsidising HGVs, haven't you?

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That was actually a little while ago and I've spoken to a few people

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who actually took me all through the statistics.

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So, I've actually change that position.

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My position is, it's always been Ukip's policy that we want

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that road nationalised.

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We don't agree with toll roads.

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We think all roads should be free for everyone to use.

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What I have said since then is, if I had ?1 billion, or 2 billion,

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people disagree how much it would cost.

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And you gave that to me, it probably wouldn't

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be my number one priority.

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To spend it all on the M6 toll road.

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I would look at a lot of pinch points across the region

0:17:000:17:03

as a priority, rather than that because, bluntly speaking,

0:17:030:17:08

round about peak times 90 - 95% of HGVs already use the M6 toll.

0:17:080:17:11

It will have benefits that it's not going to solve

0:17:110:17:13

our congestion problem.

0:17:130:17:15

Graham Stevenson, do you think public ownership is the fundamental

0:17:150:17:17

answer to our problems?

0:17:170:17:18

I do.

0:17:180:17:20

I've always said a Communist is a socialist who really means

0:17:200:17:22

what he says and I read Mean what I say I say that I want to not

0:17:220:17:27

only nationalised the M6 but also bring into public ownership,

0:17:270:17:34

owned by the local council, every single bus company

0:17:340:17:36

in the West Midlands.

0:17:360:17:41

Now, you don't need to pay huge sums of money to nationalise the M6 toll.

0:17:410:17:45

We could do what government did in 1946, the departing Chancellor

0:17:450:17:50

of the Exchequer only paid off the last bit of it quite recently.

0:17:500:17:56

The bank of England was bought by providing low interest long-term

0:17:560:17:58

bonds, that could be done in this case.

0:17:580:18:01

We wouldn't have to pay a penny now, we could defer it till later.

0:18:010:18:08

We're against toll roads, we're against making people pay

0:18:080:18:10

twice to use something that they already pay for.

0:18:100:18:12

APPLAUSE Just on driving the multimodal shift,

0:18:120:18:16

the first thing is, we have perfectly good plan for transport

0:18:160:18:19

for the West Midlands it is massively underfunded,

0:18:190:18:21

even with the additional monies coming through that

0:18:210:18:22

devolution package.

0:18:220:18:25

We need about 700 million a year more than we are receiving

0:18:250:18:28

in order to be competitive.

0:18:280:18:30

The Conservative government that hasn't given is that funding over

0:18:300:18:35

the past term of this government is responsible for this,

0:18:350:18:38

can give us the money and can find at the drop of the hat the money,

0:18:380:18:42

22 billion, to get the access into Heathrow.

0:18:420:18:45

APPLAUSE Tricky issue this, isn't it for you, James,

0:18:450:18:50

given that, obviously, transport has an environmental cost

0:18:500:18:54

and, yet, we've got the cost of the congestion that

0:18:540:19:00

we're all agreed is such a block on economic development.

0:19:000:19:03

How do you square the circle and find an affordable answer?

0:19:030:19:05

Absolutely.

0:19:060:19:06

It's a real problem because congestion doesn't just

0:19:060:19:08

cost businesses money for being stuck in traffic.

0:19:080:19:10

Actually, it's causing gigantic levels of air pollution,

0:19:100:19:16

we're seeing about 3000 people in our region every year dying early

0:19:160:19:19

because of air pollution.

0:19:190:19:20

The simple fact is, we do not have a good enough public transport

0:19:200:19:23

system that most people can use every day.

0:19:230:19:25

We do not have that.

0:19:250:19:26

We need more funding.

0:19:260:19:27

I respect a lot of what Andy says but I would see it very

0:19:270:19:31

differently around funding.

0:19:310:19:33

We voted in a government who said they would cut funding

0:19:330:19:36

and that's what they've done.

0:19:360:19:37

There isn't a magic pot of money.

0:19:370:19:39

Until 2030, over the life of this combined authority deal,

0:19:390:19:41

they are saying we will give you ?7 billion.

0:19:410:19:43

At the same time, will be ?37 billion worse off

0:19:430:19:46

because of government cuts.

0:19:460:19:47

The money is not there.

0:19:470:19:48

This is a real problem.

0:19:480:19:49

No matter who is mayor, government is not going to give out free money.

0:19:490:19:53

We've heard a lot about the toll road.

0:19:530:19:55

Specifically, can I just pursue for your position

0:19:550:19:56

on how you stand on that?

0:19:570:19:58

I think I would open the toll road when there

0:19:580:20:02

is congestion and traffic, perhaps on the M6, but if I think

0:20:020:20:04

it's ?1 billion there's better things to do,

0:20:040:20:06

for example there's 115 kilometres of railway lines that are disused

0:20:060:20:09

throughout the entire region.

0:20:090:20:10

They run alongside and near roads.

0:20:100:20:13

People like going on trains.

0:20:130:20:14

So, let's use that money to reopen those disused railway lines and get

0:20:140:20:17

people moving within the region.

0:20:170:20:20

APPLAUSE.

0:20:200:20:24

The concentration on the M6 toll is understandable, given

0:20:240:20:27

the impact of traffic congestion.

0:20:270:20:29

Is it an example of market failure here?

0:20:290:20:32

Government failure and market failure together?

0:20:320:20:33

No.

0:20:330:20:34

We've got to look at actually what the real issue is here.

0:20:340:20:37

The issue is very clear.

0:20:370:20:38

The issue is people travelling to destinations

0:20:380:20:40

within the conurbation, not travelling around

0:20:400:20:44

the conurbation.

0:20:440:20:46

So, I'll absolutely clear, every investment decision

0:20:460:20:49

as about a choice.

0:20:490:20:50

It is not the right use of the money to nationalise the M6 toll

0:20:500:20:54

and we should actually subsidise people travelling around our

0:20:540:21:04

and actually subsidise people travelling around our

0:21:050:21:07

conurbation not into destinations within the West Midlands.

0:21:070:21:09

Let me be clear, Patrick, I'm certainly not saying

0:21:090:21:11

that we in the West Midlands should pay for that road.

0:21:110:21:14

The government should nationalise that road precisely

0:21:140:21:15

because it is people going around the West Midlands...

0:21:150:21:17

I'm going to bring the audience in at this point.

0:21:170:21:20

There is a gentleman on the back row over there who has been trying

0:21:200:21:23

for some time to get in.

0:21:230:21:25

Is it on this question of public ownership?

0:21:250:21:27

Nationalising or even the re-nationalising,

0:21:270:21:28

as Jeremy Corbyn wants to do with public transport,

0:21:280:21:30

is breaking EU law, is it not?

0:21:300:21:34

How much of a problem is that going to be?

0:21:340:21:37

So, if you wanted to renationalise the M6 toll road,

0:21:370:21:39

or renationalise the railways, anything like that, we would have

0:21:390:21:44

to wait until we formally leave the use until that

0:21:440:21:49

to wait until we formally leave the EU until that

0:21:490:21:52

could actually be possible.

0:21:520:21:53

OK.

0:21:530:21:54

Any support for taking the M6 toll into public ownership?

0:21:540:22:00

What's the view generally, so far as that question is concerned?

0:22:000:22:02

I have to ask whether it is actually feasible,

0:22:020:22:05

given the legislation and so on.

0:22:050:22:08

We are obsessed with the M6 toll, most people, most voters

0:22:080:22:11

in the West Midlands are worried about the absence of bus services.

0:22:110:22:14

We were told that deregulating and privatising bus services

0:22:140:22:19

would mean more buses and they'd be cheaper and they'd

0:22:190:22:21

be more plentiful.

0:22:210:22:22

No, they're not.

0:22:220:22:24

All that happened is, they swapped public monopoly

0:22:240:22:26

for private monopoly.

0:22:260:22:29

We need, not just a complete freeze on fares, we need an massively

0:22:290:22:33

reduced fare before we can start ordering people not

0:22:330:22:36

to use their cars.

0:22:360:22:37

OK.

0:22:370:22:38

I'm going to move it on now...

0:22:380:22:39

APPLAUSE.

0:22:390:22:41

I'm going to move it onto the next question

0:22:410:22:43

which is about housing, which is, again, another

0:22:430:22:46

of the primary responsibilities of the metro mayor, so-called.

0:22:460:22:49

Although some public policy analysts would like the mayor to have an even

0:22:490:22:52

bigger role than the one suggested at the moment.

0:22:520:22:55

The question comes from Dan Jones.

0:22:550:22:57

Dan Jones, your question on housing.

0:22:570:22:59

How would the mayor ensure that more affordable housing is created

0:22:590:23:02

across the region without negatively impacting on-screen space?

0:23:020:23:09

across the region without negatively impacting on green space?

0:23:090:23:11

Bearing in mind, James BUrn that you got a precise example

0:23:110:23:14

there in Solihull of a proposed development coming up on green belt.

0:23:140:23:17

Big issue, big talking point there.

0:23:170:23:18

And the pressure for affordable housing.

0:23:180:23:20

How do you answer it?

0:23:200:23:21

Big question.

0:23:210:23:22

Thank you.

0:23:220:23:23

There is a housing crisis.

0:23:230:23:24

Let's be clear.

0:23:240:23:25

As a local councillor, I get at least two phone calls every

0:23:250:23:28

single week from people in tears because they find themselves

0:23:280:23:31

homeless and there is literally nowhere to go.

0:23:310:23:33

You walk through the streets of Birmingham and the number

0:23:330:23:35

of rough sleepers has risen unbelievably in five years.

0:23:350:23:37

I cannot imagine what it would be like to not have a house.

0:23:370:23:40

The reason this has happened is because we haven't

0:23:400:23:42

built enough houses, we've left the market to it.

0:23:420:23:44

In the region, we need to build between ten

0:23:440:23:47

and 15,000 houses per year.

0:23:470:23:48

We are building between three and 4000.

0:23:480:23:51

We are building between 3000 and 4000.

0:23:510:23:53

The main reason for that is government has not stepped

0:23:530:23:55

in to build houses since the 1980s, to make affordable housing

0:23:550:23:58

and we've seen prices rocket.

0:23:580:24:01

We need a giant investment of government

0:24:010:24:03

money in-house building.

0:24:030:24:05

money in house building.

0:24:050:24:06

Until we see that, were not going to end the housing crisis.

0:24:060:24:09

People are going to go homeless and, quite frankly, if the government

0:24:090:24:12

cannot provide homes to its citizens, it is

0:24:120:24:13

failing in its basic duty.

0:24:130:24:15

Sion, you got yourself into some hot water with voters in Solihull

0:24:150:24:18

recently by saying that James's town had a big role to play

0:24:180:24:21

in providing new homes.

0:24:210:24:22

What would you say to people there?

0:24:220:24:26

What I was actually saying then wasn't what was reported

0:24:260:24:28

but was precisely the answer to the question.

0:24:280:24:33

It sounds a bit boring but what we need is a regional spatial plan.

0:24:330:24:36

It's absolutely essential.

0:24:360:24:37

That is a power that the mayor doesn't have.

0:24:370:24:39

Initially.

0:24:390:24:40

What does it mean, precisely?

0:24:400:24:43

What it means is, you've got this whole big region,

0:24:430:24:46

seven different local authorities, another one stuck on the outside,

0:24:460:24:49

and scattered across this region there is employment land,

0:24:490:24:52

and there is housing land, and there are brown field sites,

0:24:520:24:55

and greenfield sites and there are places where more jobs

0:24:550:24:58

are going to be an places where more people live

0:24:580:25:00

and there are all the questions of connectivity between them all.

0:25:000:25:06

Now, you have to plan all of that together in one plan and the fact

0:25:060:25:13

that we haven't got a plan like that and the fact that most developed

0:25:130:25:16

regions in the world have got it, means that we can't attract

0:25:160:25:19

investment into our region.

0:25:190:25:20

So, we have to have spatial plan before we can do anything,

0:25:200:25:23

before we can put the right things in the right place.

0:25:230:25:25

Then we can build more council housing, we can enable the building

0:25:250:25:28

of more social housing, of building housing of other kinds,

0:25:280:25:31

we can clean up the private rented sector and we will get investment

0:25:310:25:34

in to the private house-building sector, as well.

0:25:340:25:36

And it will lower the price in the private sector.

0:25:360:25:38

If you're serious about the West Midlands and you believe

0:25:380:25:41

in our region, you have to have a plan that

0:25:410:25:43

puts it all together.

0:25:430:25:52

Pete Durnell, you've been majoring on brown field development and,

0:25:520:25:54

indeed, refurb of derelict areas but surely that's not

0:25:540:25:56

going to be enough.

0:25:560:25:57

It's a question of the green belt if we're going to deal

0:25:570:26:00

with this, isn't it?

0:26:000:26:02

I accept to a certain extent what Sion is saying but you can

0:26:020:26:06

have a spatial plan as much as you like, what the spatial plan

0:26:060:26:09

will tell you is there's a lot of land on the west side

0:26:090:26:12

of Birmingham, in the Black Country, which is available for development.

0:26:120:26:15

OK, it might cost quite a bit of money because it's brownfield,

0:26:150:26:18

it may have pollution, or whatever.

0:26:180:26:19

If you go along to East side, around Coventry, Solihull,

0:26:190:26:22

there is a huge shortage of land.

0:26:220:26:23

There is not enough Brownfield land there so you have two choices.

0:26:230:26:26

You either build up with high-rise or you have to go

0:26:260:26:29

across and the only way you can go across is on green belt.

0:26:290:26:32

So, that is the situation we're in.

0:26:320:26:34

A bit of green belt development is inevitable, Beverley?

0:26:340:26:36

Well, I think there's a couple of really important points here.

0:26:360:26:39

Firstly, the builders of social housing, affordable housing,

0:26:390:26:43

have been starved of thecash that they require to invest in order

0:26:430:26:46

to build the housing stock for affordable homes

0:26:460:26:48

by the Conservative government, cutting the rents for social

0:26:480:26:50

housing associations, cutting the new homes bonus

0:26:500:26:53

and the right to buy which means as fast as we build affordable

0:26:530:26:56

homes, we sell them at a massive discount

0:26:560:26:58

and were not replacing them.

0:26:580:27:00

So, what do we need?

0:27:000:27:02

We need more money, as James is saying, we need to lift the cap

0:27:020:27:06

on the housing revenue account, enabling others to borrow more

0:27:060:27:10

in the region, and we need to pull the money straight down from housing

0:27:100:27:13

and communities agency.

0:27:130:27:15

In terms of greenfield and brownfield development, the land

0:27:150:27:18

commission that was commissioned by the combine authority recently

0:27:180:27:23

commission that was commissioned by the combined authority recently

0:27:230:27:25

came out with a detailed report stating very clearly that

0:27:250:27:28

unless we use very sensibly some of the greenfield land

0:27:280:27:30

that is already allocated through the local area plans

0:27:300:27:34

for development, we will not reach our target and we cannot spend

0:27:340:27:37

all our time remediating.

0:27:370:27:38

Andy Street, what Beverley is saying there is that the ambitions that

0:27:380:27:41

you've expressed an housing are trapped, in effect,

0:27:410:27:45

by the limitations and failures of government policy

0:27:450:27:47

by your party in office.

0:27:470:27:48

And I don't accept that.

0:27:480:27:50

The question was how were going to build more homes,

0:27:500:27:53

including affordable homes.

0:27:530:27:56

And the answer is, in my plan, I've committed very clearly

0:27:560:28:01

to doubling the rate of house-building and the tactic

0:28:010:28:03

that will be used and the policy that will be used very clearly

0:28:030:28:06

is brownfield first.

0:28:060:28:07

Now, everybody says that but, if you look around this area,

0:28:070:28:10

you will all know hundreds of derelict sites that have laid

0:28:100:28:13

derelict for 10-20, 30 years.

0:28:130:28:18

It's a wonderful example of failure in the past and what this

0:28:180:28:20

is about is using new money that is there to clean the site

0:28:200:28:24

and then develop them out.

0:28:240:28:27

What I'm standing for is a person that will change

0:28:270:28:30

what has gone before.

0:28:300:28:33

So there are more homes built.

0:28:330:28:35

Were then do you stand on this great argument

0:28:350:28:39

going on between Andrew Mitchell who has got this proposed 6000

0:28:390:28:41

development of housing in Sutton Coldfield and Sajid Javid,

0:28:410:28:45

the Communities Secretary, who is promising tough

0:28:450:28:50

decisions on this?

0:28:500:28:51

It's very straightforward.

0:28:510:28:52

We should never have got to that point at all.

0:28:520:28:54

Because, quite simply, the reason we are at that point

0:28:540:28:57

is we have failed to do exactly what I have been talking about.

0:28:570:29:00

So, what I've said is that will never happen again in that way.

0:29:000:29:04

We shouldn't be building on the green belt, we should be

0:29:040:29:07

building on the rich belt.

0:29:070:29:08

Fancy asking a bunch of accountants, financiers, estate agents,

0:29:080:29:16

developers, what shall we do to develop our housing and building

0:29:160:29:21

policy in West Midlands?

0:29:210:29:23

Of course, they're going to tell us the land that they want,

0:29:230:29:27

the land that they don't currently have, the land they prefer to have.

0:29:270:29:32

What I'd like to see is a massive expansion of council house building

0:29:320:29:35

so that every single 16-35-year-old has a home that they want.

0:29:350:29:45

And every single 40-plus-year-old is paying reasonably for mortgages

0:29:450:29:50

and or rents that's the kind of massive change that we need.

0:29:500:29:53

We can only do it by introducing a land tax and by controlling

0:29:530:29:56

the land in our area.

0:29:560:30:00

Let's go back to our questioner, Dan Jones, you've been

0:30:000:30:02

patiently listening to all that, what you make of the answers you've

0:30:020:30:05

been hearing?

0:30:050:30:06

I'd like to take Andy Street to task on his commitment to

0:30:060:30:09

redevelop brownfield sites, which is very commendable,

0:30:090:30:12

but the commitment needs to be about developing it for housing.

0:30:120:30:16

In the area in which I live we have lots of brownfield sites, we

0:30:160:30:19

have a massive one that was meant to be

0:30:190:30:21

going for Tesco, Tesco have now

0:30:210:30:23

pulled out and that's a prime location for housing, and I would

0:30:230:30:26

like to see housing there, not another Asda, a supermarket coming

0:30:260:30:28

in that we don't need.

0:30:280:30:30

We do need affordable housing and that's what

0:30:300:30:32

I'd like to see.

0:30:320:30:39

For the final word on this subject to the man in the blue

0:30:390:30:42

shirt, just near the front, here, if you could?

0:30:420:30:44

Thank you so much, Patrick.

0:30:450:30:46

Briefly, if you would.

0:30:460:30:47

Yeah, very quickly, it's indirectly but directly directed to something

0:30:470:30:52

that you said.

0:30:520:30:53

I'm with an organisation called Let's Feed Brum.

0:30:530:30:56

Six nights a week, on the streets of Birmingham, handing out

0:30:560:31:01

sandwiches and hot food to the homeless.

0:31:010:31:02

It is a growing crisis, it does need looking at, and whoever

0:31:020:31:05

wins as mayor I invite you to come and join me for one hour to come out

0:31:050:31:09

on the streets of Birmingham, meet some of them and see what we can

0:31:090:31:13

directly do to help these people.

0:31:130:31:18

Your invitation has been heard by all the candidates, so I'm sure they

0:31:180:31:23

were listening.

0:31:230:31:26

If you are just joining us, you are watching

0:31:260:31:30

A Mayor For The West Midlands, it is our BBC Midlands debate

0:31:300:31:33

from Birmingham's Ormiston Academy.

0:31:330:31:34

You can continue this discussion right

0:31:340:31:39

now on social media using the hashtag WMMayor.

0:31:390:31:41

I'm going to move on to our next question.

0:31:410:31:45

You have a question about the early impact of

0:31:450:31:48

the new mayor, don't you?

0:31:480:31:52

Indeed.

0:31:520:31:54

It's a new role, I'm just interested in what will have changed for me or

0:31:540:31:57

my children after your first 100 days in office.

0:31:570:32:00

Pete Durnell, you have talked as others have about

0:32:000:32:04

making an initial, clear impact, so how do you intend

0:32:040:32:07

to set about this?

0:32:070:32:09

Actually, I have not promised great things after 100 days.

0:32:090:32:11

I think it would be wrong to do that.

0:32:110:32:19

I think we always have to remember here that

0:32:190:32:22

the mayor with very few exceptions

0:32:220:32:24

has to work with seven council leaders.

0:32:240:32:28

It is not a presidential position, you cannot say, right,

0:32:280:32:30

I want this done, and it happens.

0:32:300:32:32

That is not the way it works.

0:32:320:32:34

You sit in a cabinet with seven council

0:32:340:32:36

leaders and it is a collaborative decision on almost everything.

0:32:360:32:38

The thing that I would be doing for the

0:32:380:32:47

first 100 days quite honestly is finding out what is going on,

0:32:470:32:50

because I don't think anybody really knows what is going on

0:32:500:32:52

in the combined authority.

0:32:520:32:54

I've seen some of the reports and I can't...

0:32:540:32:57

She wants to know how her life will be affected.

0:32:570:32:59

It seems you're saying it's not going to be affected very

0:32:590:33:02

much at all.

0:33:020:33:03

In 100 days, no, it isn't.

0:33:030:33:04

Because the mayor will have to get to grips with all the stuff

0:33:040:33:07

that is going on already, find out whether is being spent, find out how

0:33:070:33:11

far the plans have got, all this sort of stuff.

0:33:110:33:13

Because, essentially, people don't know and I

0:33:130:33:15

don't know...

0:33:150:33:16

Beverley Nielsen, would you have an instant influence

0:33:160:33:18

on her everyday life?

0:33:180:33:19

Yes, yes, absolutely.

0:33:190:33:20

I'm very clear actually that I would introduce universal

0:33:200:33:22

fare so we would have the opportunity to buy a ticket that is

0:33:220:33:25

integrated.

0:33:250:33:26

I am very interested in last mile solutions so I'm talking

0:33:260:33:28

about park and ride with Sprint buses so we can clean up the air,

0:33:280:33:32

very quickly change, start giving people choice, and of course I'm

0:33:320:33:34

going to introduce my Beverley's Bikes right across

0:33:340:33:36

the West Midlands.

0:33:360:33:37

Good.

0:33:370:33:38

Sion Simon, your 100 days promise?

0:33:380:33:40

One of my commitments is to cap bus and tram

0:33:400:33:42

fares at ?4.40 a day.

0:33:420:33:44

Can you do that?

0:33:440:33:48

It's a deregulated market.

0:33:480:33:50

Give me a minute, Patrick.

0:33:500:33:51

Give me a minute.

0:33:510:33:56

?4.40 a day applied automatically and electronically

0:33:560:33:58

like they've been doing in London and similar regions for years and

0:33:580:34:01

years.

0:34:010:34:05

And free public transport on bus and trams for 16 to 19-year-olds

0:34:050:34:08

in further education.

0:34:080:34:10

Now, some people, Patrick has just revealed

0:34:100:34:12

himself to be one of them, say to me, you don't really

0:34:120:34:15

have the powers to do that at all.

0:34:150:34:17

I think that I can probably do that in 100 days.

0:34:170:34:20

And I think that, going back to the previous

0:34:200:34:22

gentleman's point, about the absolutely shameful

0:34:220:34:25

scandal of homelessness

0:34:250:34:28

in the West Midlands, going back to that, we're not going

0:34:280:34:31

to solve that problem in 100 days, obviously not.

0:34:310:34:34

But I would like to think that we can start to make a

0:34:340:34:37

difference in 100 days.

0:34:370:34:38

I would like to think that you, sir, will feel

0:34:380:34:40

the difference in 100 days in having a mayor

0:34:400:34:42

in the West Midlands who actually cares about and wants

0:34:420:34:45

to solve that problem and does come down to see you and is asking you

0:34:450:34:49

what do you need, how can we help,

0:34:490:34:51

because it is a disgrace to our region that we have people sleeping

0:34:510:34:54

and dying on our streets in a rich country like this.

0:34:540:34:57

Absolutely outrageous.

0:34:570:35:00

Your 100 day pledge.

0:35:000:35:04

One thing I would say is a very respected from Pete

0:35:040:35:07

throughout the campaign is honesty.

0:35:070:35:08

I agree with this spirit of what Sion and Beverley are saying but it

0:35:080:35:12

is not deliverable in 100 days.

0:35:120:35:13

What I think you can do in 100 days

0:35:130:35:16

is change direction.

0:35:160:35:18

At the moment we are set on a course for a

0:35:180:35:21

trickle-down economic plan that invests a lot in wealthy areas

0:35:210:35:23

and hopes it trickles down for everyone else's benefit.

0:35:230:35:26

That hasn't worked in the last 25 years, it's not going

0:35:260:35:28

to work now.

0:35:280:35:29

So the first thing I would do in my first ten days would

0:35:290:35:32

be to appoint a deputy mayor to make sure everyone benefits

0:35:320:35:35

from the economic plan...

0:35:350:35:37

No, the mayor has to have a deputy mayor it is in the

0:35:370:35:40

constitution.

0:35:400:35:41

So I would make sure that deputy mayor is in charge for

0:35:410:35:44

every decision that comes to that cabinet, saying will face benefit

0:35:440:35:46

ordinary people, yes or no, if no how do we change it?

0:35:460:35:49

And what is your key policy within that?

0:35:490:35:51

Can you just hit the bull's-eye with the

0:35:510:35:53

key...?

0:35:530:35:55

One in three children in the West Midlands living in poverty.

0:35:550:35:58

It's that high.

0:35:580:35:59

That has to change.

0:35:590:36:01

To change that, we need new economic plans.

0:36:010:36:04

And what we have got to do is make sure that these plans come about.

0:36:040:36:07

Graham Stevenson.

0:36:070:36:08

Well, the general election, actually creates the

0:36:080:36:13

possibility for addressing the issue of municipal ownership

0:36:130:36:15

of bus and tram sector.

0:36:150:36:17

The Tories have currently got a bill in the

0:36:170:36:19

Lords which will probably fail which would prevent

0:36:190:36:21

that from happening.

0:36:210:36:22

Very undemocratic.

0:36:220:36:23

If, therefore, it's possible to proceed after the

0:36:230:36:30

election of a mayor with the new municipalisation of bus

0:36:300:36:33

services, I think major companies like that which produces the

0:36:330:36:35

electric taxi owned by a huge Chinese conglomerate would be very

0:36:350:36:38

interested in the manufacturing of electric buses and electric trams.

0:36:380:36:42

Instead of bringing them from Italy on a low loader across a motorway,

0:36:420:36:45

all the way across Europe...

0:36:450:36:46

You could spend a lot of money on this.

0:36:460:36:49

There's a lot of money being consumed, isn't there?

0:36:490:36:51

We've already worked out throughout the campaign

0:36:510:36:54

there could well be an introduction of a West Midlands bond but one of

0:36:540:37:00

the things about this crap devolution deal is that the mayor

0:37:000:37:03

would need to go back to whatever government we have after the general

0:37:030:37:07

election and say it needs to be re-negotiated.

0:37:070:37:10

Before we can get people out of their cars, we have to

0:37:100:37:12

provide massive carrots.

0:37:130:37:13

We can only do that with really serious money.

0:37:130:37:19

Andy Street.

0:37:190:37:21

It's an interesting question.

0:37:210:37:23

I've been reflecting and I think the answer is,

0:37:230:37:28

I'd choose something that costs no money at all but actually

0:37:280:37:31

illustrated what this job is all about and it's all about leadership.

0:37:310:37:34

So, the thing I would choose is that in the first 100 days I would make

0:37:340:37:38

sure we had a Brexit summit which brought

0:37:380:37:47

gether big businesses that have got a lot

0:37:470:37:49

at stake, which employ thousands of people.

0:37:490:37:50

And get them together with key government ministers who are

0:37:500:37:53

negotiating a future deal.

0:37:530:37:55

And there are really practical matters in that

0:37:550:37:57

deal that are going to affect our prosperity.

0:37:570:37:58

For example?

0:37:580:38:01

For example, our automotive companies

0:38:010:38:03

are talking about whether they are able to move goods between European

0:38:030:38:10

countries in the supply chain.

0:38:100:38:11

That needs to be tariff free.

0:38:110:38:13

When the Prime Minister was last here, I was

0:38:130:38:18

briefing her and the Secretary of State for business on that.

0:38:180:38:20

It's those practical matters that come

0:38:200:38:22

from a new leadership role.

0:38:220:38:25

That's what I mean by speaking up for the region.

0:38:250:38:27

It's interesting because...

0:38:270:38:30

We'll come onto some Brexit related matters in a moment but it's very

0:38:300:38:33

interesting just to go back to the person who post this

0:38:330:38:36

really quite challenging question.

0:38:360:38:37

I'm just wondering what you are making about

0:38:370:38:39

what the candidates have said so far on this.

0:38:390:38:42

I'm not impressed by anyone who says 100 days is no time at all.

0:38:420:38:45

OK.

0:38:450:38:48

So what would be your choice?

0:38:480:38:51

If you could rule the world and the, let's say, not the world

0:38:510:38:54

but the West Midlands, what would be your big initiative,

0:38:540:38:57

your big idea to make an instant impact?

0:38:570:38:59

The instant impact is to change the way

0:38:590:39:01

we approach house-building, for instance.

0:39:010:39:04

I think the UK has been stuck in this format of government,

0:39:040:39:08

managers, house-building, the house builders

0:39:080:39:18

there are plenty of other areas within Europe

0:39:180:39:21

where is not managed in blocks by individuals.

0:39:210:39:23

OK.

0:39:230:39:25

Woman in blue in the middle of the audience.

0:39:250:39:29

I'm just interested in your pet ideas,

0:39:290:39:32

pet suggestions, if you could absolutely

0:39:320:39:34

have a word in the ear of the incoming Mayor and say

0:39:340:39:37

this is what you want.

0:39:370:39:38

I'm not sure I have a pet idea but talking from a project

0:39:380:39:44

management perspective, if you are a mayor,

0:39:440:39:50

why not look at the job as a project?

0:39:500:39:53

Why don't you look at the plan back from the day your

0:39:530:39:56

mandate finishes and why not to be able to deliver in the first 100

0:39:560:40:00

days at least one or two points, be that important or not.

0:40:000:40:03

I don't see why not.

0:40:030:40:04

Very briefly, if you would.

0:40:040:40:05

I actually agree with Sion.

0:40:050:40:07

The first 100 days priority would be to

0:40:070:40:09

sort out some of our homelessness.

0:40:090:40:11

It's shameful to society what's happening with our homeless people.

0:40:110:40:13

I don't agree we can change the way we do

0:40:130:40:22

housing in 100 days

0:40:220:40:23

but I absolutely agree with Sion that we

0:40:230:40:25

need to sort out the homeless crisis.

0:40:250:40:28

As I said, we are going to move on and it is Brexit and all

0:40:280:40:32

these use and challenges that go with that,

0:40:320:40:34

the burning issue of the day.

0:40:340:40:38

Davinci has a question on Brexit?

0:40:380:40:40

How will you use Brexit to boost the economy?

0:40:400:40:43

Now, that is the question for you, Beverly.

0:40:430:40:44

Of course the Liberal Democrats have made

0:40:440:40:46

anti-Brexit very much your signature issue and you've talked about

0:40:460:40:49

leading everybody through the challenges and uncertainties.

0:40:490:40:54

What's your answer?

0:40:540:40:55

I think it is a risk for our economy.

0:40:550:40:58

I think the danger is that if we do not have tariff

0:40:580:41:02

free access that we have tariffs imposed on the imports used in our

0:41:020:41:05

cross European supply chain we make 30% of all cars here but my whole

0:41:050:41:08

approach as mayor would be around investing in our home grown

0:41:080:41:11

businesses, so building up the manufacturing businesses,

0:41:110:41:14

businesses that start here and pulling through

0:41:140:41:17

those businesses young talent that we are equally skilling up and

0:41:170:41:20

training in this region and not losing them as part of the brain

0:41:200:41:24

drain because we have the highest

0:41:240:41:28

proportion of students in this region.

0:41:280:41:29

Our human gold mine.

0:41:290:41:32

I want to see them going into our businesses and driving and powering

0:41:320:41:35

the next generation of growth because we're on the verge

0:41:350:41:38

of a transformation.

0:41:380:41:40

I don't agree with my colleagues who say that we're

0:41:400:41:44

promising too much because what's the point of a mayor if you're not

0:41:440:41:47

actually going to change things.

0:41:470:41:50

I don't agree for a minute that this is about being restricted

0:41:500:41:53

by the devolution powers.

0:41:530:41:54

This is about an individual who is going to work with

0:41:540:41:57

everybody in this region, have grand ambition,

0:41:570:42:00

15 years hence, start with

0:42:000:42:02

the end in mind and work towards it will stop we pass the 1 million mark

0:42:020:42:06

with electric vehicles last year.

0:42:060:42:10

20 million will be sold by 2025

0:42:100:42:11

and 100 million by 2030.

0:42:110:42:13

Electric vehicles, battery power, new renewable energy

0:42:130:42:18

and life sciences and nano sciences, that is going

0:42:180:42:27

to power growth for us.

0:42:270:42:28

Pete Durnell.

0:42:280:42:30

Beverly Nielsen is saying there that she has

0:42:300:42:32

got an idea for get over the challenges of Brexit.

0:42:320:42:35

At the same time spelling at least a certain

0:42:350:42:41

amount of disaster, at least uncertainty.

0:42:410:42:42

I disagree.

0:42:420:42:44

Essentially, Beverly wants to give everything to

0:42:440:42:46

everybody.

0:42:460:42:47

That's great.

0:42:470:42:52

I'll tell you now, our councils are deeply in debt

0:42:520:42:54

every single one of all southern councils are deeply in debt.

0:42:540:42:57

They are getting cut back every year.

0:42:570:43:00

I know my own Council of Sandwell

0:43:000:43:04

has put pretty much every green area up for sale.

0:43:040:43:07

So that's the kind of state that we are in.

0:43:070:43:09

To pretend that we can actually spend loads of

0:43:090:43:11

money on lots of things is unfortunately not realistic,

0:43:110:43:14

in my opinion.

0:43:140:43:16

In terms of Brexit, I'm passionate about Brexit.

0:43:160:43:18

I believe the opportunities that were going to

0:43:180:43:22

have with trade with the world essentially massively outweigh any

0:43:220:43:24

drawbacks.

0:43:240:43:26

I do accept there is some uncertainty but I've spoken a lot

0:43:260:43:29

with people in the chambers of, as and actually businesses

0:43:290:43:31

are quite excited about it.

0:43:310:43:32

They are thinking in different ways, they are going to

0:43:320:43:35

work in different ways.

0:43:350:43:36

It is not all doom and gloom and uncertainty

0:43:360:43:38

by any shadow of a doubt.

0:43:380:43:39

Is it doom and gloom for you?

0:43:390:43:41

Brexit is going to happen.

0:43:410:43:42

We've all got to shut up and get on with it, basically.

0:43:420:43:45

And I think there are opportunities.

0:43:450:43:46

Actually, there is a massive opportunity to build

0:43:460:43:48

a more home-grown economy.

0:43:480:43:49

At the moment, if a supermarket opens in the area

0:43:490:43:52

for every pound that you spend there, 50p is

0:43:520:43:54

sucked out of our economy.

0:43:540:43:55

Sorry, 95p is sucked out of our economy.

0:43:550:43:57

If a local shop opens, every pound spent there,

0:43:570:43:59

50p remains in the economy.

0:43:590:44:00

This is our chance to build a more home-grown economy,

0:44:000:44:03

trading with each other, based on small businesses, based on West

0:44:030:44:05

Midlands people being employed by West Midlands businesses which

0:44:050:44:08

operate for the benefit of everyone seeing more money staying here,

0:44:080:44:10

flowing around here and actually using that to address

0:44:100:44:12

things like poverty.

0:44:130:44:13

This is a real opportunity and one we must take.

0:44:130:44:16

Brexit is happening and it's in our grasp

0:44:160:44:18

to make what we can of it.

0:44:180:44:19

Sion Simon, you sit as a member of the European

0:44:190:44:22

Parliament so you see issues from both sides of the travel, so to

0:44:220:44:26

speak.

0:44:260:44:28

How do you bring that experience together

0:44:280:44:29

to answer the question?

0:44:300:44:31

Let me answer.

0:44:310:44:33

Great question and, if you don't mind me

0:44:330:44:37

saying, cracking name, Da Vinci.

0:44:370:44:41

The first thing we need is a seat at the table.

0:44:410:44:45

The Tory government has been progressing as one

0:44:450:44:47

and they've done nothing about it.

0:44:470:44:49

They are negotiating a London Brexit

0:44:490:44:51

that suits Conservative government in London.

0:44:510:44:52

It's all about financial services, it's not about

0:44:520:44:54

manufacturing, they don't care about how engineering base,

0:44:540:44:58

Dave tried to destroy it once in the 70s and 80s already.

0:44:580:45:01

They're not interested in our higher education institutions

0:45:010:45:03

which are crucial part of our economy.

0:45:030:45:04

We need a West Midlands seat at the table because actually

0:45:040:45:07

it's not about how Brexit or soft Brexit, what we need and what we

0:45:070:45:10

need to deliver is a West Midlands Brexit.

0:45:100:45:16

Andy Street, do you take up the point there that Sion

0:45:160:45:18

was making, particularly at Jaguar, Land Rover, who are very worried

0:45:180:45:21

about access to their principal markets which are indeed our

0:45:210:45:25

neighbouring European partner nations at the moment.

0:45:250:45:30

All right, they sell big in China and all

0:45:300:45:33

around the world but that's the big worry that they have.

0:45:330:45:36

They say that they want clear, open access

0:45:360:45:38

which is in question.

0:45:380:45:39

That of course is what I said in response to the

0:45:390:45:41

previous question, my 100 day priority was ensuring that would

0:45:410:45:44

happen and making sure the Prime Minister and others actually

0:45:440:45:46

understood what is at stake for the West Midlands.

0:45:460:45:49

Can you make them deliver a tailor-made solution?

0:45:490:45:51

Yes.

0:45:510:45:55

You make sure and I have done it personally, discussed with the

0:45:550:45:57

chambers of commerce and then make sure that the issues are understood

0:45:570:46:00

by the government ministers.

0:46:000:46:04

That's why you need a powerful mayor.

0:46:040:46:07

Can I answer the question with more broadly.

0:46:070:46:09

Briefly.

0:46:090:46:10

I want to put a thought to you.

0:46:100:46:16

The thought was very much is their opportunity in this?

0:46:160:46:18

My general approach to this is yes.

0:46:180:46:21

I want to reflect on my business experience here in answering that.

0:46:210:46:31

I was leading John Lewis at the time of

0:46:320:46:35

the global recession and everyone said disaster, terrible.

0:46:350:46:37

But in every adversity, opportunities.

0:46:370:46:38

Fundamentally I disagree with Sion.

0:46:380:46:40

The most challenged part of our economy is the financial services

0:46:400:46:43

sector in London.

0:46:430:46:44

It means that the government are looking particularly

0:46:440:46:46

at areas like this.

0:46:460:46:48

They've got a rich manufacturing future

0:46:480:46:51

and we're thinking with them...

0:46:520:46:53

They are.

0:46:530:46:54

That might be what they're telling you

0:46:540:46:56

that if you read what they're doing, it's all about

0:46:560:46:59

defending financial services.

0:46:590:47:00

They don't say a thing about manufacturing.

0:47:000:47:01

That is not true.

0:47:010:47:02

They've invested in the London taxi company In Coventry.

0:47:020:47:08

They've invested in electric vehicles, they're investing in

0:47:080:47:09

research and development.

0:47:090:47:10

Beverly Nielsen.

0:47:100:47:12

I'd like to know, Andy, how you're going to guarantee tariff

0:47:120:47:15

free access when we have absolutely said we are leaving

0:47:150:47:18

the single market.

0:47:180:47:19

I did not say I guaranteed it.

0:47:190:47:20

What I said was that we make sure our negotiators understand

0:47:200:47:23

what is required.

0:47:230:47:24

That is the commitment I gave.

0:47:240:47:25

Graham Stevenson.

0:47:250:47:27

Until 2009, the UK had its own seat at the

0:47:270:47:29

World Trade Organisation and that was consolidated into an EU seat

0:47:290:47:33

dominated by a committee of France and Germany running things.

0:47:330:47:36

The next thing, a trade deal with China was

0:47:360:47:39

concluded whereby solar panels were supplied

0:47:390:47:49

by EU, to China, a massive emerging market

0:47:520:47:54

of air conditioning. A big thing in China.

0:47:540:47:54

In consequence, factories in the West Midlands

0:47:560:48:05

closed, factories in Germany expanded.

0:48:050:48:06

Now, I think it's possible to make a change.

0:48:060:48:09

I spent a half a lifetime as president of the

0:48:090:48:11

European transport workers Federation.

0:48:110:48:18

I've been in the EU, I know what they do.

0:48:180:48:24

I know how it's stiched up.

0:48:240:48:26

I negotiated with transnational corporations like OCI

0:48:260:48:27

and quarry, which have been mentioned.

0:48:270:48:29

I think it's possible to work on the fact that the EU needs

0:48:290:48:32

as as much as we need them but the world needs is even more.

0:48:320:48:35

I think we can get a revived manufacturing

0:48:350:48:37

capacity in the West Midlands on the back of Brexit.

0:48:370:48:38

That clearly struck a chord.

0:48:400:48:42

I'd be very interested to know which of you think is Brexit

0:48:420:48:45

good or bad for the West Midlands?

0:48:450:48:49

Give me your views?

0:48:490:48:51

Got a view on that?

0:48:510:48:54

I think it'll be very good for the West Midlands because

0:48:540:48:57

the focus will be to bring back investment and talk to all the

0:48:570:49:03

overseas world industrialists to get investment back

0:49:030:49:06

into the West Midlands. So the focus will be there.

0:49:060:49:08

OK.

0:49:080:49:09

Gentleman towards the back of the audience there.

0:49:090:49:11

OK. I run a small business

0:49:110:49:13

and most of my work actually is in Europe so I'm

0:49:130:49:16

bringing money into this country.

0:49:160:49:17

I'd like to know what going to be done for the small businessman.

0:49:170:49:21

I know it's really important that all

0:49:210:49:24

of the big companies but what about my small business, if they

0:49:240:49:26

introduced tariffs, if we have problems with access to countries,

0:49:260:49:30

my business is finished.

0:49:300:49:37

Any others.

0:49:370:49:40

Yes, at the back of the audience on this side.

0:49:400:49:45

You've been talking about investing in manufacturing

0:49:450:49:47

and financial services in the West Midlands.

0:49:470:49:56

For example, Deutchebank are in Birmingham, HSBC are coming

0:49:560:49:58

to Birmingham.

0:49:580:50:00

Would it not be an idea to try and attract these London

0:50:000:50:03

centric companies, services, et onto the West Midlands

0:50:030:50:05

following the HSBC model?

0:50:050:50:06

All right. Interesting stuff.

0:50:060:50:09

I am now going to move on to rather a pointed question.

0:50:090:50:12

One which is often bandied around.

0:50:120:50:13

Fairly or unfairly.

0:50:130:50:15

It's about Birmingham's place in the world.

0:50:150:50:21

Many people feel that Birmingham

0:50:210:50:24

lost the second city status to Manchester.

0:50:240:50:28

One of you candidates will be successful

0:50:280:50:30

and hopefully putting Birmingham back on the map.

0:50:300:50:31

I'd like to know how you propose to do it.

0:50:310:50:34

OK.

0:50:340:50:40

From Coventry, are you bothered about where

0:50:400:50:42

Birmingham sits on the map?

0:50:420:50:44

I moved from Coventry to Birmingham in about

0:50:440:50:48

1972, so hopefully I am an immigrant that accepted in the city.

0:50:480:50:52

What's pre-evident to me is the European Union has treated us

0:50:520:50:55

as a declining region.

0:50:550:51:00

We got lots of nice things in the city

0:51:000:51:02

centre, in Birmingham, I know people who say,

0:51:020:51:06

you come from Birmingham, but a bit of crap place, isn't it?

0:51:060:51:15

"No, it's changed a lot recently.

0:51:150:51:17

It looks really good."

0:51:170:51:21

We've got lots of nice glitzy stores and

0:51:210:51:23

statues in the city centre but the districts, the outlying

0:51:230:51:26

districts are not doing as well and we need

0:51:260:51:28

much more into education, into training into helping young people,

0:51:280:51:30

get a ladder on life and that's really where it counts.

0:51:300:51:33

That's what I want to see out of this process.

0:51:330:51:35

It's a devolution deal that hasn't really done

0:51:350:51:39

well for Birmingham and if it does

0:51:390:51:42

what it seems to be trying to

0:51:420:51:44

do to make Birmingham the

0:51:440:51:45

dominant partner in the West Midlands it won't do well for all of

0:51:450:51:48

the others, as well, including my beloved Coventry.

0:51:480:51:58

Talking about glitzy stores, possibly John Lewis

0:51:590:52:01

which you had a relationship with?

0:52:010:52:03

Never glitzy.

0:52:030:52:04

The question is that is seen as part of the ambition of

0:52:040:52:06

second city status and yet you've got to cascade the wealth around.

0:52:060:52:09

If I may be slightly cheeky in answering the question, first of

0:52:090:52:12

all, I don't want to be second in anything and we spend far too long

0:52:120:52:16

obsessing about this.

0:52:160:52:17

That's perhaps why you said it was a slightly

0:52:170:52:19

provocative question.

0:52:190:52:20

I'm actually much more interested in how we

0:52:200:52:30

compete with Berlin , Barcelona and Boston.

0:52:300:52:32

That is what this is really all about.

0:52:320:52:34

But if we take the debate that you have put on

0:52:340:52:36

the table, the truth is

0:52:360:52:38

that we are doing far better than Manchester,

0:52:380:52:40

fastest-growing city in

0:52:400:52:41

Britain, the best inward investment, the best

0:52:410:52:42

export performance, the best quality of life.

0:52:420:52:44

So all those things are there and I am pleased to

0:52:440:52:47

have played my part.

0:52:470:52:48

The issue, though, is we have lost the PR game.

0:52:480:52:50

So what the mayor has to do is get out there

0:52:500:52:53

and tell the story, and that is exactly what you learn

0:52:530:52:55

as CEO of a company.

0:52:550:52:56

APPLAUSE

0:52:560:52:57

Pete Durnell, as a Black Country man, does it matter

0:52:570:53:00

about Birmingham, Manchester and all the rest?

0:53:000:53:01

It does matter.

0:53:020:53:03

Absolutely, we all want to see Birmingham succeed, but we don't

0:53:030:53:05

want to see what has happened which is other parts of the region

0:53:050:53:09

actually falling into disrepair.

0:53:090:53:10

I see in town centres all across the Black Country

0:53:100:53:13

which are gradually going downhill, and one of the

0:53:130:53:20

reasons the Black Country voted a big vote to come out of the EU was

0:53:200:53:23

they felt that they had been left behind in a massive way.

0:53:230:53:26

And it is absolutely essential for the mayor

0:53:260:53:28

to promote Birmingham, promote Coventry, to go out there and do it

0:53:280:53:31

across the country, across the world.

0:53:310:53:32

But at the same time you also need to be fair to the other regions.

0:53:320:53:36

Don't let them be left behind.

0:53:360:53:37

Don't just wait for the trickle-down effect from the great

0:53:370:53:40

things that are happening in Birmingham or Coventry.

0:53:400:53:42

One of the big things I'm promoting is

0:53:420:53:48

reinvigorating the town centres, buying up disused offices, the

0:53:480:53:50

mayor has the actual ability to do that, turn them into a living space

0:53:500:53:53

inside town centres, create a nice environment there,

0:53:530:53:55

but also gives the opportunity to local businesses

0:53:550:53:57

to sell into those people.

0:53:570:54:02

So let's get the towns back up

0:54:020:54:04

on their feet again.

0:54:040:54:06

Sion, Pete suggests maybe we're worrying a bit too much about

0:54:060:54:09

Birmingham.

0:54:090:54:11

Maybe focusing too much on the second city.

0:54:110:54:16

Answering the question, Andy said we are doing

0:54:160:54:18

great, we are doing better than anywhere else.

0:54:180:54:20

Let's be clear, some people are doing great.

0:54:200:54:22

You are not doing so great if you're one of the

0:54:220:54:25

people dying under a bridge in Birmingham.

0:54:250:54:27

You're not doing so great if you're one of the 1500

0:54:270:54:29

people who are homeless in Coventry or one of the 27.5% of young people

0:54:290:54:33

that is unemployed in Wolverhampton.

0:54:330:54:34

Those people are not doing so great.

0:54:340:54:35

APPLAUSE

0:54:350:54:37

However, let's also be clear,

0:54:370:54:40

my family moved to Sandwell in 1975.

0:54:400:54:46

I am massively proud to be from this region because this is the

0:54:460:54:49

best place in the world.

0:54:490:54:50

This is an extraordinary place, where we built

0:54:500:54:52

the first steam engines, the Spitfires that won

0:54:520:54:54

the Battle of Britain, the first...

0:54:540:54:55

We are all in agreement that it is a wonderful place!

0:54:550:54:59

We are in agreement but we don't talk about it,

0:54:590:55:01

we don't celebrate it.

0:55:010:55:02

The region of Shakespeare and Elliott and Elgar

0:55:020:55:04

and...

0:55:040:55:05

Extraordinary achievement, a fabulous place.

0:55:050:55:06

When did you ever hear that?

0:55:060:55:08

When do we ever say that to each other?

0:55:080:55:10

And that is what this job is about.

0:55:110:55:12

APPLAUSE

0:55:120:55:13

As well.

0:55:130:55:14

OK...

0:55:140:55:15

It's about combining the poetry and the genius of the West

0:55:150:55:19

Midlands with understanding that people dying under bridges

0:55:190:55:20

is not the kind of society that we ought to be.

0:55:200:55:23

Is Birmingham falling behind Manchester?

0:55:230:55:24

That is a ridiculous question.

0:55:240:55:26

Birmingham and the West Midlands is so much better than

0:55:260:55:28

Manchester it is unbelievable!

0:55:280:55:29

LAUGHTER APPLAUSE

0:55:290:55:32

We have heard again and again,

0:55:320:55:35

Beverly Nielsen extolling the virtues of what is made

0:55:350:55:37

in Birmingham...

0:55:370:55:40

I was going to say that I haven't just talked about going to do

0:55:400:55:43

something about promoting Birmingham and the West Midlands, I have been

0:55:430:55:46

doing it for the last 20 years.

0:55:460:55:48

20 years ago I promoted West Midlands First,

0:55:480:55:52

it was all about the firsts we have invented here.

0:55:520:55:54

From radar, thermal imaging, liquid-crystal display, of course

0:55:540:55:56

launching the Industrial Revolution, Coalbrookdale, Abraham Darby, and

0:55:560:55:59

changing the world not just once, twice,

0:55:590:56:04

three times, but now we are going to do it again.

0:56:040:56:07

And this is the thing that I think is really

0:56:070:56:09

important here.

0:56:090:56:10

It is not just about Birmingham alone.

0:56:100:56:12

It is about the whole of the West Midlands,

0:56:120:56:14

how by coming together we are the greatest region in the UK.

0:56:140:56:17

And we are going to change the world again

0:56:170:56:19

with our great ingenuity, our creativity and our

0:56:190:56:21

innovation and design, Patrick.

0:56:210:56:23

And Birmingham Made Me is part of it.

0:56:230:56:25

James Burn.

0:56:250:56:27

APPLAUSE

0:56:270:56:30

Yes, so we've spent the last few

0:56:300:56:33

months literally travelling around speaking to audiences across the

0:56:330:56:36

West Midlands, and the common theme is a concern that this won't work

0:56:360:56:40

for them, they will be forgotten, whether you live in

0:56:400:56:42

the Black Country or in Solihull or Coventry or Birmingham,

0:56:420:56:45

everyone shares that concern.

0:56:450:56:47

Another thing is people are very proud of their areas,

0:56:470:56:50

but they are really frustrated.

0:56:500:56:51

They have restricted because they feel left

0:56:510:56:53

behind, they feel the plans aren't working for them, and they are

0:56:530:56:56

frustrated about a loss of identity.

0:56:560:56:57

And so we need to bring back pride by rebuilding places, by

0:56:570:57:00

rebuilding high streets, by rebuilding strong local economies.

0:57:000:57:03

And also the mayor is covering 3 million people, no mayor

0:57:030:57:08

with the best will in the world can understand the needs

0:57:080:57:10

of every single place. It cannot happen.

0:57:100:57:12

That is why we need to broaden it out, to stop

0:57:120:57:15

it being run by exclusively older white men, to start involving

0:57:150:57:17

more people from more communities, from more areas, to make sure this

0:57:170:57:20

authority understands the needs of everyone across the region

0:57:200:57:22

and can meet those needs.

0:57:220:57:24

Is the mayor principally a champion at home

0:57:240:57:26

and abroad for Birmingham, the West Midlands?

0:57:260:57:27

How do you get the message across?

0:57:270:57:29

Because if you go to China, for example, you see

0:57:290:57:32

Birmingham on the map but you don't see the West Midlands on it.

0:57:320:57:35

How'd you go about that?

0:57:350:57:38

You decide the right name for

0:57:380:57:39

the right occasion that you've got, and if you've got a formal occasion

0:57:390:57:42

it's the West Midlands combined authority, that's the name given,

0:57:420:57:45

end of subject.

0:57:450:57:46

I'm sure that when you go on a trade mission you do use

0:57:460:57:49

Birmingham as a name.

0:57:490:57:50

OK, good question.

0:57:500:57:52

I'm going to throw it quickly to the audience because

0:57:520:57:54

time is getting short.

0:57:540:57:55

The gentleman on the front row here.

0:57:550:57:57

How do you see Birmingham in this conversation?

0:57:570:57:59

I would seriously like an answer to this.

0:57:590:58:00

It is a two-way street.

0:58:000:58:02

You came here today, we have heard what

0:58:020:58:04

you have to say, you have all had half an hour or so to listen to us.

0:58:040:58:08

Isn't one of you brave enough to acknowledge that you have learned

0:58:080:58:10

something from what we've said

0:58:110:58:13

in the last half hour or so, any of you?

0:58:130:58:15

I'm sure they all have.

0:58:150:58:18

I'm sure it has been an education for us all.

0:58:180:58:20

Because, with a certain amount of regret, this, ladies and

0:58:200:58:22

gentlemen, is where I'm going to have to call time on tonight's

0:58:220:58:25

discussion, which I'm sure has been very informative.

0:58:250:58:29

I would like to thank particularly the panel

0:58:290:58:31

and indeed the audience for all your questions -

0:58:310:58:33

we could have gone on all night.

0:58:330:58:34

And of course you too can continue this debate on social media

0:58:340:58:37

at home, using the hashtag - #wmmayor.

0:58:370:58:40

And finally from me a quick word - on Sunday Politics Midlands this

0:58:400:58:43

weekend we will have plenty of things to talk about, won't we,

0:58:430:58:47

with the county council elections also coming up in two weeks'

0:58:470:58:53

time, and of course that snap general election?

0:58:530:58:56

That is all at the later time of 3:10pm this Sunday afternoon,

0:58:560:58:59

here on BBC One, after the London Marathon.

0:58:590:59:01

But from all of us here, good night.

0:59:010:59:04

APPLAUSE

0:59:040:59:12

Happy New Year!

0:59:190:59:20

TV: She'll be safe and snug.

0:59:210:59:23

LAUGHTER

0:59:230:59:25

The six candidates for new role of mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority debate the issues and answer questions from a studio audience. Presented by Patrick Burns.