Five commitments from the West Midlands’ new mayor on day one

New West Midlands Mayor Richard Parker has hit the ground running after a “roller coaster” election with a pledge to speed up the building of 5,000 social homes in his first year. It would be his priority amid the scandal of thousands of families stuck in hostels and substandard temporary accommodation, he said.

Also in his sights are his plans to:

  • Bring the region’s buses under public control within three years
  • Launch a skills revolution to create vital jobs and apprenticeships
  • A radical revamp of the way the town hall works, with stronger links to the community in the region
  • A ‘hotdesk’ within a future Labor Government Cabinet, where he will be invited to provide updates from the region and directly influence policy

READ MORE: Andy Street out as West Midlands mayor as Labor’s Richard Parker pulls out slim victory

But he is determined to use his new role to kick-start the biggest “social housing program this region has seen in 40 years.” “I want to change lives,” he said.

The Eyes Have It – Richard Parkers listens as he tours his new domain, WMCA headquarters(Image: Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

Mr. Parker arrived at work this morning and quickly moved into his new office on the fourth floor, all signs of his old Andy Street already removed. There was a brief embarrassing moment before this morning’s press conference when Mr Street arrived to pick up some belongings, avoiding the waiting cameras by disappearing out a side door.

But otherwise, it was all about the new starter. He toured the office with chief executive Laura Shoaf, meeting staff from the strategy and media teams with whom he will work closely from today. Mr Parker also saw the regional transport network hub and CCTV set-up and promised to take advice and work closely with staff at all levels as he takes up his new role.

Richard Parker, the new Mayor of the West Midlands, with WMCA Chief Executive Laura Shoaf(Image: Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

Mr Parker has already been inundated with calls to prioritize a range of issues – from active travel to clean air, more apprenticeships to child poverty. He said he will now work with officers to determine what personnel are needed to help fulfill his political ambitions. “I will speak and listen to the people and ensure that the responses from this office and other political offices in the region address these many concerns. It will be about collaboration and then about response and delivery,” he said.

But, tellingly, his first engagement was to attend a social event.

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