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Community activist to stand for local election in Birmingham

CANDIDACY: Desmond Jaddoo

“PEOPLE FIRST, not party” – that is the belief of community activist Desmond Jaddoo who has just announced his intention to stand as an independent candidate for Birmingham at the local elections in three months’ time.

A champion of civic engagement, Jaddoo doesn’t want to be constrained by any political party in his crusade to serve the people of Birmingham’s Ladywood ward –
one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

With Ladywood’s turn-out in the last local election as low as 16.5 per cent, Jaddoo has a tough task persuading residents to find their way to the ballot box, but he is undeterred.

A former candidate in Birmingham’s mayoral campaign which the electorate failed to back in 2012, Jaddoo has devoted the past three years rallying people to become more involved in civic life.

The former Birmingham City Council housing officer and local entrepreneur has focused on pressing home the need for voter registration if people want their voices to be heard. He has also concentrated on encouraging young people to become more aware politically, opening their eyes to civic responsibility.

He said: “Our city has been plagued with aggressive cuts to local services, whilst outsourcing contractors in Birmingham profit at the expense of the poor and vulnerable.

“It’s a time when we see communities being torn apart and local facilities closed down. The bedroom tax is another serious issue which is exacerbating the increasing poverty trap that many people find themselves in today. Clearly there is a need for change in our city which is becoming increasingly divided.”

Jaddoo will be standing against Labour candidate Carl Rice, who has been a councillor in Ladywood since 1987.

Ladywood itself reflects the divisions in Birmingham as half the ward covers the affluent Jewellery Quarter and Broad Street areas, while the other includes neighbourhoods of mass deprivation in parts of the Edgbaston and Winson Green border and Lee Bank.

Jaddoo, 45, whose parents came from Jamaica to Aston, Birmingham in the 1960s, was mentored in his younger days by the late Alderman Bert Carless, Birmingham’s first black Labour councillor.

He is all too aware that there are currently no black councillors in Birmingham’s elite Cabinet and the city has so far had only one black Lord Mayor in Councillor Sybil Spence back in the late 1990s.

“Politics in Birmingham has become stale and irrelevant to many people, especially the young, and that must change,” he added.

“Those in power do not sufficiently reflect the current and future diversity that is Britain’s second city.”

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