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  1. ITV Report

General Election 2017: Midlands Matters - Walsall North

Walsall North is home to the market towns of Willenhall and Bloxwich.

Thousands of people pass through the area every day on the M6 motorway which cuts right through the middle of it.

The area has a proud manufacturing heritage. Since the 1800s, if you bought a lock and key for your home, chances are it was made in Willenhall, as there were once 340 different locksmiths here selling their products across the world.

Competition from the Far East saw a big decline in business and the area, like much of the Black Country, saw high unemployment in the 1980s.

Parts of the constituency are still depressed. There are once grand buildings now standing derelict, and some I spoke to say they won't be voting as they don't think any politicians will listen to them.

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I also saw many positive examples of how the region is working hard to adapt to changing times.

I went to the Era locksmiths plant in Short Heath where they're expanding and developing smart, mobile security technology.

There are big employers with main offices here, Homeserve, the RAC, TK Maxx and Poundland.

I went to St. Thomas More School - 1,500 pupils with a real buzz about the place from both pupils and staff.

Then, the residents of the Sand Bank tower blocks in Bloxwich, who recently have a 100% satisfaction rating when the tenants themselves took control of their housing association.

They turned a once shabby environment into something they're happy to show off to others as an example of people-power making a real difference to their community.

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There are four candidates aiming to close-in on Labour's 1,900 majority in the 2015 election.

Local issues were at the forefront of people's minds here.

Five separate people told me they want to see public toilets return to Willenhall town centre, and more for people to do. That may be a council issue, but it shows that whoever the next MP is, they will need to show they're connected with local issues as well as national interests if they're going to persuade more people to vote in future.

94,295
Population
71,613
Eligible to vote
1979
Labour since 1979
55%
Turnout in 2015
68%
Voted for Brexit

Candidates

  • LIZ HAZELL - UKIP
  • EDDIE HUGHES - CONSERVATIVE
  • ISABELLE PARASRAM - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT
  • DAVID WINNICK - LABOUR

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