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Thanks! May 18, 2010

Posted by philiptibbetts in Press Release.
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It has been quite a fortnight. With so much having happened it feels much more like two months since I was standing in the Cornbow Hall for the General Election count. On what turned out to be a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrat party nationally I was very happy to have achieved such a good result in Halesowen and Rowley Regis. The desire for change in politics that I felt from talking to people is making a real impact and it is great to see that the support for the Liberal Democrats locally continues to increase.

Of course there are many people that need to be thanked for this result, firstly of course are the voters. Liberal Democrat voters are thanked for supporting the cause of change and fairness, especially those volunteers who went leafleting and spread the word. Everyone who voted should also be thanked for the improvement in turnout and thus their support of democracy as a whole. On a personal note I would like to thank my agent, employers, friends, family and girlfriend for their support which was a real help.

Importantly I would like to thank all of the other candidates for what I felt to be a very courteous and civilised election campaign. However James Morris will of course be starting a whole new career and, as well as sending him my thanks, I would also like to wish him the best of luck as the MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis. I am greatly enthused by and hopeful for the new Conservative and Liberal coalition that James will be a part of. Not only is this a stable government for the country but it seems to feature an exciting blend of good policies from both parties. I was even lucky enough to be able to address the entire Liberal Democrat party this weekend in support of the new government.

Now I will also return to my other projects, however this experience has been a great one and I have learned a lot. To represent my hometown and my principles has been a true honour and as such something that I will always be proud of.

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Championing Halesowen & Rowley Regis May 5, 2010

Posted by philiptibbetts in Press Release.
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“As we now approach Election Day itself I have been incredibly pleased with the response I have received from the people I have met around and about all over the constituency. This election really seems to have encouraged a feeling of change that only the Liberal Democrats have the ability and conviction to achieve. I have prided myself on my passionate and principled approach to the issues facing Halesowen and Rowley Regis and I know that the party and myself can offer this constituency, my hometown, the ability to finally take advantage of its long neglected potential.

“Although I will be continuing to leaflet, canvass and talk to as many people as I can I felt that I should make available a list of all the things that the Liberal Democrats and I would do for this area, other than the fundamental political reform that this country needs, which I have included below. Anyone is more than welcome to contact me and may I say that to represent and champion my home and my principles has been an incredible honour.”

Yours faithfully

Philip Tibbetts
Liberal Democrat PPC for Halesowen and Rowley Regis
(including Cradley Heath, Old Hill and Blackheath)

Employment & Economy

Our area could be crucial to solving the national problem of an economy that is not green enough and is too dependant on the banking sector. The Liberal Democrats will be stimulating the manufacturing industry with £3 billion that will help build Britain’s green infrastructure and I will fight to make sure that we get our fair share of that – after all, we have the capability and skill set but we must take advantage of this now.

As well as diversifying the national economy for resilience we need to make sure our local economy is also as well balanced and robust. I would seek to draw investment and development for our tourism industry which can play on our unique culture, industrial heritage and surrounding countryside.

Education

£20 million has been earmarked for both Sandwell and Dudley schools as party of the national parties ‘Child Premium’ policy. The money would be controlled by head teachers in order to make sure that it is spent on what is best for the particular children rather than national targets.

The whole education system needs to be made more flexible to the needs of children and the local communities. Here in the Black Country more vocational education is needed to end the high youth unemployment and the social problems that can cause. A national minimum curriculum will enable teachers to teach whilst more vocational courses, apprenticeships and a work placement scheme will ensure that he education system will serve the individual and the community.

Crime

Crime is becoming more visible and as such it is starting to affect our local community more and more. To combat this we need the law to be more visible, catching and deterring crime. The national Liberal Democrat commitment to policing means that there will be 162 extra police officers on the West Midlands force.

We also need local justice for local people, so I will be seeking to implement the Neighbourhood Justice Panels already used so successfully by the Liberal Democrats in Somerset. By allowing the community to be involved with the punishment of petty criminals the people can feel reassured to know that justice has been done. Criminals are made to feel real guilt for their crimes, saved from hardening in prison and reoffending rates are cut.

Health

Local health services need to come under the control of Local Health Boards. These would ensure that the services offered were relevant and tailored to the needs of the community, in turn making the hospital more efficient. Not only would this make the future of hospitals more secure it would mean that ward closures could be mitigated or managed with the local society in mind.

Transport

The inequality that car parking fees have across the area causes many people to abandon our high streets and markets in favour of free parking at bigger national supermarkets and malls. Whilst applying fees equally across the area is something that is likely to happen owing to current council plans, which will at least will end the inequality, it is the abolition in the medium term that I want to work towards. Replaced by a locally set business tax that fairly links the success of the area to the amenities, creating a positive cycle of progress.

Public transport also needs to be drastically improved to help people get around, reduce road congestion and make the area more appealing for investors, tourists and business. Bus services should be reviewed with the community to make sure they are fit for purpose. I will also push for a review into the feasibility of re-opening of the old railway line to Old Hill and Halesowen as either a rail line or Metro extension.

Community

Most people in the constituency should benefit from the Liberal Democrat plan to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. Most families will see a £700 drop in their tax. The other effect of this plan, as backed up by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, is that it will make a much clearer financial incentive for people to come off benefits and get into work.

I am also committed to local housing and institutions. Empty houses need to be brought back to use to help ease the housing shortages and high prices. Community institutions like pubs and post offices need to be protected for the services and support that they provide.

Personal

Finally my personal conduct needs to be first rate as not only will I be representative for Halesowen and Rowley Regis but I need to be representative of the area too. To me this means that I need to be accessible and honest. As such I will make dealing with the concerns of the public here my greatest priority, make sure that there are many ways to get in touch with me easily and I will openly justify all decisions and expenses that I make.

In honour of my local philosophic and political hero, Thomas Attwood, I want to support the local area whilst times are hard in the economic recovery. As such, during the recovery I will donate 25% of my salary to job creation efforts in the area. Furthermore I promise to live here in my hometown (and commute to London) because, as I have said before, if I had the option then why would I want to live anywhere else?

As we now approach Election Day itself I have been incredibly pleased with the response I have received from the people I have met around and about all over the constituency. This election really seems to have encouraged a feeling of change that only the Liberal Democrats have the ability and conviction to achieve. I have prided myself on my passionate and principled approach to the issues facing Halesowen and Rowley Regis and I know that the party and myself can offer this constituency, my hometown, the ability to finally take advantage of its long neglected potential.

Although I will be continuing to leaflet, canvass and talk to as many people as I can I felt that I should make available a list of all the things that the Liberal Democrats and I would do for this area, other than the fundamental political reform that this country needs, which I have included below. Anyone is more than welcome to contact me and may I say that to represent and champion my home and my principles has been an incredible honour.”

Yours faithfully

Philip Tibbetts

Liberal Democrat PPC for Halesowen and Rowley Regis

(including Cradley Heath, Old Hill and Blackheath)

Employment & Economy

Our area could be crucial to solving the national problem of an economy that is not green enough and is too dependant on the banking sector. The Liberal Democrats will be stimulating the manufacturing industry with £3 billion that will help build Britain’s green infrastructure and I will fight to make sure that we get our fair share of that – after all, we have the capability and skill set but we must take advantage of this now.

As well as diversifying the national economy for resilience we need to make sure our local economy is also as well balanced and robust. I would seek to draw investment and development for our tourism industry which can play on our unique culture, industrial heritage and surrounding countryside.

Education

£20 million has been earmarked for both Sandwell and Dudley schools as party of the national parties ‘Child Premium’ policy. The money would be controlled by head teachers in order to make sure that it is spent on what is best for the particular children rather than national targets.

The whole education system needs to be made more flexible to the needs of children and the local communities. Here in the Black Country more vocational education is needed to end the high youth unemployment and the social problems that can cause. A national minimum curriculum will enable teachers to teach whilst more vocational courses, apprenticeships and a work placement scheme will ensure that he education system will serve the individual and the community.

Crime

Crime is becoming more visible and as such it is starting to affect our local community more and more. To combat this we need the law to be more visible, catching and deterring crime. The national Liberal Democrat commitment to policing means that there will be 162 extra police officers on the West Midlands force.

We also need local justice for local people, so I will be seeking to implement the Neighbourhood Justice Panels already used so successfully by the Liberal Democrats in Somerset. By allowing the community to be involved with the punishment of petty criminals the people can feel reassured to know that justice has been done. Criminals are made to feel real guilt for their crimes, saved from hardening in prison and reoffending rates are cut.

Health

Local health services need to come under the control of Local Health Boards. These would ensure that the services offered were relevant and tailored to the needs of the community, in turn making the hospital more efficient. Not only would this make the future of hospitals more secure it would mean that ward closures could be mitigated or managed with the local society in mind.

Transport

The inequality that car parking fees have across the area causes many people to abandon our high streets and markets in favour of free parking at bigger national supermarkets and malls. Whilst applying fees equally across the area is something that is likely to happen owing to current council plans, which will at least will end the inequality, it is the abolition in the medium term that I want to work towards. Replaced by a locally set business tax that fairly links the success of the area to the amenities, creating a positive cycle of progress.

Public transport also needs to be drastically improved to help people get around, reduce road congestion and make the area more appealing for investors, tourists and business. Bus services should be reviewed with the community to make sure they are fit for purpose. I will also push for a review into the feasibility of re-opening of the old railway line to Old Hill and Halesowen as either a rail line or Metro extension.

Community

Most people in the constituency should benefit from the Liberal Democrat plan to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. Most families will see a £700 drop in their tax. The other effect of this plan, as backed up by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, is that it will make a much clearer financial incentive for people to come off benefits and get into work.

I am also committed to local housing and institutions. Empty houses need to be brought back to use to help ease the housing shortages and high prices. Community institutions like pubs and post offices need to be protected for the services and support that they provide.

Personal

Finally my personal conduct needs to be first rate as not only will I be representative for Halesowen and Rowley Regis but I need to be representative of the area too. To me this means that I need to be accessible and honest. As such I will make dealing with the concerns of the public here my greatest priority, make sure that there are many ways to get in touch with me easily and I will openly justify all decisions and expenses that I make.

In honour of my local philosophic and political hero, Thomas Attwood, I want to support the local area whilst times are hard in the economic recovery. As such, during the recovery I will donate 25% of my salary to job creation efforts in the area. Furthermore I promise to live here in my hometown (and commute to London) because, as I have said before, if I had the option then why would I want to live anywhere else?

NSPCC Stand for Children Pledge May 5, 2010

Posted by philiptibbetts in Pledge.
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The party has a strong track record in pushing for greater support for children. We have committed to funding Childline, supported and tabled a motion to increase the Home Office’s definition of domestic violence to include the effects it has on children and we have planned for the introduction of ‘quick-report’ buttons on social networking websites.

Furthermore we believe that the Children’s Commission should be a properly funded and independently entity in order to allow it to stand up to the government and the media if it feels that childrens issues are not being properly raised or considered. Being independent will also allow it to co-operate with charities more easily, helping to make its work more efficient and effective.

Therapeutic services for those children who have suffered abuse are one of the best ways to prevent the abuse from permanently damaging the childs’ life chances. As such we are committed not only to the principle to also to adopting the Layard proposals beyond 2011 to make sure that all that need access to such services get them.

Back on the Rails May 5, 2010

Posted by philiptibbetts in Press Release.
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Philip Tibbetts has already passionately spoken about the poor state of public transport in his home constituency of Halesowen and Rowley Regis. One particular issue that annoys the Liberal Democrat candidate is that to get from Halesowen to a train station either requires a short bus ride on an infrequent service or a long bus ride on a more regular service. Neither option is ideal and this shows that much needs to be done to make our public transport system fit for purpose.

Philip by Dudley Castle

Philip visits Dudley to assess the need for better local transport

“The public transport system in the area is crucial for its future. The Liberal Democrats are planning on stimulating the manufacturing industry with over £3 billion which the Black Country would be well placed to benefit from and the local Liberal Democrats also want to develop tourism in our area. Both of these elements would bring huge benefits to the area, however our current transport system could really undermine their positive impacts.

“For industry, the public transport in the area is an important consideration when thinking about developing new factories, especially with the congestion on some of our roads. Our public transport system is also fundamental for the potential of tourism in the area. This is why I think it is imperative that Halesowen gets better access to the rail network, and by looking back in time a little it is easy to see how this could be done – by physically reconnecting the town.

“Until the Beeching axe fell, Halesowen had a railway line and a station. The line started in Dudley before coming south through Netherton and met the still surviving rail line at Old Hill. It then continued across to the Mucklow Hill area of Halesowen. The line eventually ended in Longbridge which connected on to Birmingham New Street. Re-opening this line would connect Halesowen to the Heart of the Black Country, the rail network and the region beyond. It would also serve residential, recreational and industrial areas which would make it incredible versatile and useful.

“The Liberal Democrat party has long been a big supporter of rail and tram, committed to freeing the funding for the implementation of local transport systems that for too long has been held up by a centralised desire for congestion charging. Re-opening several old lines, of which so many lie untouched and unused across the Black Country, is something that we are committed to. My promise is to push for a review into the feasibility of re-opening the line from Dudley to Halesowen once the Walsall-Dudley-Stourbridge line has been re-opened (already a consideration by CENTRO for the Metro) with an eye on options for further expansion of the line to Birmingham.

“A public transport network is always better than a public transport line. As the network increases in size it serves more people, accesses more areas and simply becomes more useful and usable. The fact that the only expansion it is due to undergo are the small city centre extensions is testament to the political interference at the expense of public service. An expanded network serving Halesowen is what our town rightly deserves.

Cancer Research and Macmillan Pledge May 5, 2010

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Considering the magnitude of the cancer threat, being one of the nations biggest killers, it is deplorable that such variation exists for screening and treatment. Not only is there the dreaded postcode lottery but also notable discrepancies by age, ethnicity and social circumstance. The way in which the Liberal Democrats and I would tackle these issues would be:

Stronger encouragement of screening to catch cancers early, especially for those groups that seem to take up screening less. The range of screening needs to also be widened, as I understand it the upper limits currently do not reflect that fact that cancers are more prevalent in later life. However screening also needs to available to anyone who things that they may need it.

Research and treatment will be vigorously supported. I genuinely believe that the correct application of scientific research can help all of society and find progressive solutions to problems. The Lib Dems attracted me with their commitment to science and facts (even down to the fact that they proposed high speed rail and spotted the recent financial crisis early all because they work with substance rather than spin). Utilising any specialist research, including charity, is of high importance and also ensuring that resultant technologies and techniques are made available to those who need it. Access to resultant treatments needs to be fair, transparent and flexible, which is why the Lib Dems want to review the NICE approval process.

There is of course the need to educate and inform people. Where cancers are concerned this would be encouraging the pursuit of healthier diets and lifestyles – tackling obesity, reducing smoking and encouraging a better alcohol drinking culture. Body image is also especially important with the fashion for tanning seeing people exposing themselves to danger in the sun and on sunbeds – the banning of unsupervised tanning parlours and machines is a must.

To ensure this is all achieved to deliver results at a practical patient level, we advocate more control over healthcare and spending at a local level, achieved by creating Local Health Boards. This local accountability will ensure that more money is channelled to the front line of health care services, thus allowing hospitals and primary care trusts to do the best possible job. The community nursing that Macmillan advocate is something we wholeheartedly support as it gives higher quality of service, greater patient independence, needed support to families and eases the numbers of patients having to go into hospitals.

Finally our belief is that high quality care needs to continue through to recovery as well, especially helping the individual back into work.Greater support would aid the recovery process and give the patient a greater sense of hope, confidence and independence. Currently there is no strong framework for this support in getting patients back into work and that is something that needs to be developed.

I hope this helps explain the Liberal Democrat position as well as confirm my support to you. On a personal level having seen two family members pass away as a result of cancer I have a strong emotional commitment to seeing all forms of cancer properly researched and sufferers and their families properly supported and cared for.

Religious Liberty Pledge May 5, 2010

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Many thanks for your email regarding the problems facing religious liberty across the world. Liberalism has fairness and the rule of law at its heart and this is something that the Liberal Democrats will carry through to our foreign policy in office. We will always seek to put British interests and security first and I believe that in the same way that by developing poor economies benefits Britain’s trade in the long run that developing international human rights (of which religious tolerance and liberty is a major part) will also be of benefit. Personally I believe that tolerance and liberty should be universal and as such it is something that I would seek to use my influence in parliament to promote.

‘Robin Hood’ tax pledge May 3, 2010

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The unfair nature of our banking system is certainly something that I find shameful and it is reassuring that there is the same strong feeling running throughout my home town as well. A number of people have contacted me asking whether I would support a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on the banks:

“Such a tax is best applied on an international scale as not only would this not disadvantage Britain uniquely but it would also be of benefit to the many more people across the world that have found themselves in the same situation with their banks. That is why the Liberal Democrat party has made it a manifesto commitment to bring forward the international proposals for such a tax.

“At home here in Britain we would seek to immediately place a 10% levy on all banks. Whilst an international transaction tax would be used to source revenue for international development the levy within the UK would be used to repair the damage done by the recession. First the £2bn that such a levy is expected to raise would be used to partially fund a one year employment and economic stimulus (helping tackle the rise in unemployment) and in later years the money can be used to tackle the structural deficit.

“We do also need to make sure that this can never happen again and it is party policy to separate the risky investment banking from high street savings banks so the money that the public work so hard for is never put in jeopardy in the same way again.

“I hope this has helped explain my attitude to and the party policy on the state of the banks and the concept of a ‘Robin Hood’ tax, as something that we are committed to working towards. Immediately on a national level and urgently on the international stage”

Amnesty International – Human Rights in the Mix Pledge May 3, 2010

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A simple pledge from Amnesty International that I am more than happy to support in the ‘Please Put Human Rights in the Mix’ pledge that has the following points:

  • Women’s human rights are respected in the UK and overseas, including freedom from violence and active participation in decisions affecting their lives.
  • Human rights are not undermined by a security agenda that denies opportunity for a fair trial or seeks to deport foreign nationals to countries where they face a serious risk of torture.
  • The human rights framework in the UK is protected
  • Leadership is shown in addressing the preventable deaths of women and children and to give your support to the ‘Manifesto for Motherhood’.
  • The debate on asylum and immigration is a principled one that does not pander to the prejudices of those with extreme views on this issue.

“As a Liberal Democrat you will probably be unsurprised to know that I will be happy to ensure the points of concern that you raise are addressed properly. The Liberal Democrat party has shown itself to be a staunch supporter of human rights both at home and abroad. On a personal level the philosophical principals that lead me to Liberalism and the party are the very same that keep me committed to upholding human rights.

We will entrench the Human Rights Act within a written and formal British constitution as well as establishing a ‘Freedom Act’ to help secure human rights here in the UK, as well as supporting the Manifesto for Motherhood. Whilst abroad we will support the Millenium Development Goals and seek to raise International Development spending to 0.7% of GDP.

Asylum is unique from immigration as it is a human rights issue and we will make this clear. We will seek to work across the EU to develop common standards and be able to share refugees fairly whilst ensuring that asylum in this country is handled by a independent body and allow refugees to work rather than become dependant on benefits.

I hope this highlights the commitment that both myself and the party have to human rights. At home we will strengthen and enshrine our hard won rights whilst also seeking to support the growth of human rights around the world.”

Read & Write, Right & Wrong May 2, 2010

Posted by philiptibbetts in Uncategorized.
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Liberal Democrat candidate, Philip Tibbetts, believes that the anti-social behaviour and crime that is in the area is a great cause of concern for a society going forward. He also believes that the cause of this crime has some very deep roots in an education system that has been for too long geared towards national political interests rather than the needs of the local community.

Philip Tibbetts with police officers

Black Country candidates meet with local Police officers

“Reported crime statistics are going down. However we do not know the real extent of crime but one thing is for sure – crime is becoming a lot more visible and is affecting our community more blatantly than ever before. The more obvious that anti-social behaviour gets the more fearful the public can become and our society suffers as a result.

“If lawlessness starts becoming too visible, the best way to combat it is to make law enforcement more visible. Which of course means more police and the Liberal Democrats have already costed for the addition of 162 extra officers to the West Midlands force. Whilst catching and deterring criminals is a start we also need to prevent reoffending.

“If crime is visible and the law is visible then justice should be too and I advocate the use of Neighbourhood Justice Panels, as have been used by the Liberal Democrats in Somerset, that reduce the chance of reoffending significantly. These panels allow the local community to be involved with the punishment of petty criminals. As well as restoring community trust in the justice system this also forces the criminal to face up to their victims and crime. Doing so is what makes these criminals less likely to offend rather than sending them to prison which can harden them instead.

“However we need to address the causes of crime. Our area has a big problem with youth unemployment which of course breeds disillusionment and subsequently crime. The reason I feel for this high level of unemployment is that our area needs craftsmen, tradesmen and skilled manual workers but the proscriptive national curriculum directs children toward academia whether they or the area need it.

“As such, pupils either become disillusioned with education and leave without fulfilling their potential or get educated in academia. The latter results in a crowded graduate job market and again this will leave too many people unemployed. We need far greater vocational opportunities both in the education system and in the workplace. The Liberal Democrats will fund all on the job costs for apprenticeships as well as changing the education at the ages of 14-19 to include more vocational courses and modules.

“We need to remove the current national curriculum that is nowhere near flexible enough to cater for regional circumstances let alone the best needs of individual children. By replacing it with a ‘Minimum Curriculum’ we can ensure quality across the country but allow the teachers to teach as they see fit.

“With good parenting and a flexible education system we can help lay the foundations for a society that links up education with the needs of the individual and the needs of the local community. This will make things fairer and end the disillusionment that can lead to crime – everyone will be better off.

A Sporting Chance May 2, 2010

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It is widely agreed that the recent recession ended up hitting us so hard because of Britain’s economic reliance on the banking sector. This needs to be rectified and the Liberal Democrats have been pushing for a stimulus for manufacturing that would be perfectly suited to the Black Country.

Philip visits Stadium Drive in Dudley

Philip Tibbetts visits the site of the former Dudley Wood Speedway Stadium

The local Liberal Democrats are committed to making sure that we get our fair share of a £3bn green manufacturing investment scheme, though we are also very aware that we must also diversify our economy to make sure that it is more robust and resilient.

Our area’s industrial past has not only given us the capabilities to renew our manufacturing sector. It has also given us a positive wealth of heritage which should be exploited – making the Black Country a centre for tourism as well as industry in order to bring in money.

Philip Tibbetts, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, has proved his commitment to and local knowledge of the Black Country through non-political campaigning in the past. He explains:

“The Black Country is beautifully positioned to become a thriving centre for tourism, which becomes obvious when you think of our industrial heritage (like Black Country Living Museum), natural wonders (like Wren’s Nest), man-made wonders (like canals and locks), beautiful parks (like Leasowes) and our older history (like Dudley Castle).

“Furthermore we are lucky to have the surroundings that we have. In one direction you have Birmingham, the second city, which itself is a big draw to tourists with its urban museums. In the other direction we have the beautiful rolling countryside of Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire for the more rurally minded tourist. As such the Black Country would be an ideal centre for tourism, offering, as it does, access to itself, Birmingham and the countryside.

“There are plenty of tourism niches that our unique Black Country culture would be able not only to fill but also become famous for. Our pubs are ideal for ale holidays, our canals for boating holidays but a huge draw could be our sport. We have some great sports teams like Wolves, Albion, Yeltz, Stourbridge RFC, Old Hales and Dudley Kingswinford that should all attract people to come and see them play. We could become an important area for sport with such concentrated quality and diversity.

“This is why Jon Bramall (Dudley South), Chris Bramall (Stourbridge) and myself are all committed to making sure that the amazingly successful and recent resurrected Cradley Heathens (now Dudley Heathens) find a permanent home here in the area of their roots”.