18 October 2016
The Green Party today announced their candidate for the West Midlands Combined Authority race outside the Greater London Assembly building. The Greens have selected Cllr James Burn, Leader of the Opposition on Solihull Council.
Cllr Burn, speaking outside the London Assembly said: "We've come to London today to highlight the hugely concerning difference between the West Midlands Authority and the London Authority."
"In London, there is a full-time assembly of elected people to hold the mayor and the Authority to account. In the West Midlands, our Authority has already been making big decisions behind our backs with no-one to keep them honest."
"As mayor, I want to make sure ordinary people have control of their Authority so it provides good jobs and decent homes for their families."
Cllr Burn was accompanied by Cllr Sian Berry AM and Cllr Caroline Russell AM, both elected London Assembly Members.
Cllr Russell AM added, "I was stunned when I found out the West Midlands Authority had set up just one committee which will meet on four mornings a year to hold the entire thing to account."
"And unbelievably, the committee members are chosen by the people running the Authority! Holding the mayor and Authority to account and making sure things work well here in London is a full-time job. I'm supporting James' campaign, as he will make sure this is sorted out."
Unlike existing WMCA plans which are based heavily on inward investment, Cllr Burn is also pledging to develop a home-grown, resilient economy for the West Midlands based on up-and-coming industries like low-carbon technology and manufacturing. This will provide secure jobs both now and in the future.
Cllr Burn added, "Many communities across the West Midlands have been left behind, and current Combined Authority plans won't change that. If elected, I will invest more in those places and connect people to good jobs, decent wages, and chances to get on."
The West Midlands Combined Authority has one scrutiny meeting. There are 4 meeting dates scheduled for the next 12 months. So far, no Combined Authority business has been scrutinised. The ruling group on each Council send one scrutiny member to the board. Meetings are not webcast. There is no opposition scrutiny whatsoever. For more details, see the combined authority website and constitution and scrutiny minutes.
Cllr Burn was elected to Chelmsley Wood ward in Solihull in 2014 with 52% of the vote. He is currently leader of the Official Opposition on Solihull Council. He has lived in the West Midlands for more than 15 years and has worked across much of the region in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He is a qualified social worker and currently runs his own small business. Cllr Burn has been scrutinising the WMCA since its public announcement in 2015 and has appeared on radio, TV and in the press discussing its development. For more details, see jamesburn.online