Interesting to discover that at the same time as 23 play areas across the city are being axed by Labour, in Handsworth Wood Ward they’re having a new one built. Having heard this rumour, I asked about it at today’s Districts & Public Engagement Scrutiny Committee, where it was confirmed.
We were told it’s being built by Section 106 money (which confirms what I’d heard). Fair enough. But I’m curious to know where the money to maintain it in the future will be coming from. Councillors were told the reason play areas were closing was because of the costs of maintaining them, so it seems rather strange to be allowing a new one to be built. If there’s money available to maintain a new play area, why isn’t there money available to maintain the current one in Edgbaston which Labour want to shut?
Secondly I was surprised to hear that Labour have rejected Cllr Yvonne Mosquito as their candidate for the Police & Crime Commissioner by-election. Yvonne is the current Deputy, so you would have thought she would be the obvious choice to be the Labour candidate for the top job now, following the sudden and unexpected death of Bob Jones. Not so apparently. Labour have gone for an elderly man, who apparently has confirmed he will also have Yvonne of his Deputy.
That’s big of him! I suspect Yvonne has far more experience of the job than he does. Apart from having been the Deputy, she’s a former member of the Police Authority, and she’s currently the Interim Police & Crime Commissioner. The clear message from Labour in the West Midlands appears to be that the woman can be Deputy, but when it comes to the top job, they want a man.