Brent and Harrow
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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Navin's News for February 2013

No frontline fire cuts in next year’s budget

Today Boris Johnson’s plans to close 12 fire stations and axe 18 fire engines were set back. The move came after members of the London Fire Authority accepted that the 2013/14 budget will not include cuts to frontline services. Proposals put forward by Labour Assembly Member Andrew Dismore mean the frontline cuts will not take place in the next financial year (2013/14), and there will now be time for a full and wide ranging consultation with Londoners.

Following Labour’s motion at today’s Fire Authority Urgency Committee the immediate threat to London’s frontline fire services has now been lifted. Today’s move has created time for a meaningful and wide-ranging consultation with Londoners on the Mayor’s plans to axe 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 520 firefighters.

Today we have pushed back Boris’s frontline fire cuts. This means there is now time to consult with people across our city and hear what they think about Boris Johnson’s plans to cut 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 520 firefighters. His plans are reckless and will jeopardise the long-term safety and security of Londoners.

Boris has been forced to take stock and delay his cuts which are too far and too fast. We will now hear what ordinary Londoners think about his plans and this will guide us in our battle to save our much needed frontline fire services. The men and women of the London Fire Brigade do a fantastic job protecting us when we need them most. Now it is our turn to stand up for them and the people they protect every day.”

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26th February 2013

Boris ignores call to “drop frontline fire cuts” - Brent

Yesterday (Monday) I voted against the Mayor of London’s draft budget which proposes to close Willesden Green and Harlesden police station in Brent. This was the final chance to debate and vote on the Mayor’s overall draft budget for London.

The London Assembly required a two-thirds majority to amend the Mayor’s budget. At the first meeting the three opposition groups passed a ‘Technical Amendment’ which forced Boris to review freezing the council tax precept, rather than cutting it by one penny a day for an average household. This would raise £9.6 million, which could be used to keep all of London’s fire stations open and maintain police front counter provision across London.

In Brent this would have:

  • Helped 255 Londoners under 24 out of work for more than a year into work through Labour’s Jobs Guarantee. This scheme would give 21 hours per week of work experience, paid at the London Living Wage for six months.
  • Saved residents £165 by cutting transport fares by 1% so they are in line with inflation

 Yesterday I joined residents at my local train station to spread the message about the Mayor of London’s cuts being too far and too fast. Boris had a clear choice between cutting council tax by one pence a day, or freezing it and using the money to keep fire stations open. But Boris chose to carry on with his foolish plan to axe 12 fire stations and 18 fire engines. 

Boris is needlessly jeopardising the safety and security of Londoners. We presented the Mayor with a fully costed plan which keeps much needed front line services but he wants to continue with his ill-thought out proposals. 

Boris has cut his share of the council tax by one pence a day per household, but at the same time has whacked up fares above inflation for the fifth year running. If he had taken on our budget proposal to cut transport fares by one per cent he could have saved residents in Zone Four and travelling to Zone One £282.74 over the course of a year. It’s time for Boris to get serious and stand up for Londoners instead of campaigning for tax cuts for millionaires.

 

Ends

Notes

  1. The Cross-party amendment can be found here: http://cityhalllabour.org/cross-party-budget-change-forces-boris-to-ditch-frontline-999-cuts/
  2. The Budget meeting took place at City Hall on Monday 25th February 2013. You can watch the meeting here: www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/webcasts
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26th February 2013

Boris ignores call to “drop frontline fire cuts” - Harrow

Yesterday (Monday) I voted against the Mayor of London’s draft budget which proposes to close Pinner and Harrow Civic Centre counter police station in Harrow. This was the final chance to debate and vote on the Mayor’s overall draft budget for London.

The London Assembly required a two-thirds majority to amend the Mayor’s budget. At the first meeting the three opposition groups passed a ‘Technical Amendment’ which forced Boris to review freezing the council tax precept, rather than cutting it by one penny a day for an average household. This would raise £9.6 million, which could be used to keep all of London’s fire stations open and maintain police front counter provision across London.

In Harrow this would have:

  • Helped 85 Londoners under 24 out of work for more than a year into work through Labour’s Jobs Guarantee. This scheme would give 21 hours per week of work experience, paid at the London Living Wage for six months.
  • Saved residents £360.54 by cutting transport fares by 1% so they are in line with inflation

Yesterday I joined residents at Harrow on the Hill station and Harrow & Wealdstone station to spread the message about the Mayor of London’s cuts being too far and too fast. Boris had a clear choice between cutting council tax by one pence a day, or freezing it and using the money to keep fire stations open. But Boris chose to carry on with his foolish plan to axe 12 fire stations and 18 fire engines. 

Boris is needlessly jeopardising the safety and security of Londoners. We presented the Mayor with a fully costed plan which keeps much needed front line services but he wants to continue with his ill-thought out proposals.

Boris has cut his share of the council tax by one pence a day per household, but at the same time has whacked up fares above inflation for the fifth year running. If he had taken on our budget proposal to cut transport fares by one per cent he could have saved residents in Zone Six and travelling to Zone One £360.54 over the course of a year. It’s time for Boris to get serious and stand up for Londoners instead of campaigning for tax cuts for millionaires.

Ends

Notes

  1. The Cross-party amendment can be found here: http://cityhalllabour.org/cross-party-budget-change-forces-boris-to-ditch-frontline-999-cuts/
  2. The Budget meeting took place at City Hall on Monday 25th February 2013. You can watch the meeting here: www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/webcasts
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26th February 2013

NHS North West London Decision

Central Middlesex Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department will close along with three other A&E units, it was announced yesterday by NHS North West London.

 Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Ealing and Central Middlesex are due to become downgraded to urgent care centres. Serious emergencies will be referred to Northwick Park, Hillingdon, West Middlesex and Chelsea and Westminster. 

This decision is a travesty. Northwick Park is already over-stretched, as are the other A&Es which are remaining open and the closures of neighbouring A&Es will increase the pressure on these services.

There is widespread opposition to the closure of Central Middlesex A&E but the opinion of residents has been completely ignored. With A&E admissions consistently rising by about 3% a year it is ridiculous to start closing major hospitals in places with dense populations such as Brent.

We will continue to fight to save our hospital and will pursue every available option, including referring this to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and Judicial Review.

hospital.jpg

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22nd February 2013

Bully boy Boris needs to listen on fire cuts

On Friday the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Groups on the London Assembly agreed to alter the Mayor of London’s draft budget. The alteration, known formally as a ‘Technical Amendment’, forces the Mayor to review his budget. This is the first time for a decade this power has been used.

The changes made will force the Mayor to review freezing the council tax precept, rather than cutting it by 7pence per week for an average household. He has to report back to the London Assembly on 25th February. This would raise £9.4 million which will be used to keep all of the 12 fire stations open and 18 fire engines that are due to be cut. Monday’s vote at LFEPA relates specifically to the Mayoral Direction that Boris Johnson issued to impose his cuts on the London Fire Brigade. 

We are seeing yet more bully boy tactics from Boris Johnson over his planned fire cuts. The London Fire Authority has voted down the Mayor’s plans, reflecting the views of Londoners. We have presented him with a fully costed plan to keep all of London’s fire stations and fire engines. Only Boris could believe that closing 12 fire stations and axing 18 fire engines will improve the safety and security of Londoners.

Instead of threatening to sue us in court, the Mayor should come and speak to us and hear our plans to protect frontline emergency services. At the end of the day he is the Mayor of London and the buck stops with him. He has the power to keep these fire stations open and fire engines on the road. Rather than cutting council tax by 1p a day per household, he can freeze it and use the money to protect frontline emergency services. It’s up to him whether they are axed or not.”

Ends

Notes

1. The Mayor's threat to sue was reported late yesterday by the Evening Standard http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/boris-takes-legal-action-against-fire-authority-over-defiance-on-station-cuts-8491817.html

 

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13th February 2013

There is an alternative for Brent

I supported the London Assembly Labour Group’s amendment to the Mayor’s draft 2013-14 budget. The amendment and proposals focus on protecting frontline services, easing the cost of living crisis and helping young Londoners into work.

The key points of Labour’s proposals are:

  • A Jobs Guarantee for all 16-24 year olds who have been out of work for 1 year or more. In Brent this would help 270 young people
  • Cut transport fares by 1% so they are in line with inflation. Londoners living in Zone four and travelling to Zone One on a yearly travelcard would save £282.74
  • Re-allocate business rates to protect frontline police and fire services. In Brent, Willesden Green and Harlesden police station is earmarked for closure, this would be kept open and police front counter provision will be maintained.
  • Freeze the Mayor’s share of the Council Tax which is currently only saving households 7 pence per week
  • Start the process of setting up a London-wide lettings agency

As the economy stumbles and splutters towards a triple-dip recession the Mayor needs to help the economy and help ordinary Londoners. Cutting fares by one per cent will save residents in Brent £282.74 on their annual travelcard.

Our Jobs Guarantee for 16-24 year olds out of work for over a year will put 270 young people in Brent into work, and benefit 7,500 long-term unemployed young Londoners across London.

There has been a lot of local opposition to the proposed closure of Willesden Green and Harlesden police station but reallocating business rates, as we’ve suggested, will help protect frontline police and fire services to help keep London safe and secure.

Boris may shrug his shoulders and say he is doing all he can, but he is signed up to the government’s reckless economic plans. All he has done is said the ‘rhetoric should be toned down’, but that cuts and austerity should continue. At a time when ordinary Londoners are struggling and the economy is flat-lining he must do more, there is an alternative.

Boris has cut his share of the council tax by less than 10 pence a week per household, but at the same time has whacked up fares above inflation for the fifth year running. He must be stupid to think Londoners won’t notice this.

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8th February 2013

“There is an alternative for Harrow”

I supported the London Assembly Labour Group’s amendment to the Mayor’s draft 2013-14 budget. The amendment and proposals focus on protecting frontline services, easing the cost of living crisis and helping young Londoners into work.

The key points of Labour’s proposals are:

  • A Jobs Guarantee for all 16-24 year olds who have been out of work for 1 year or more. In Harrow this would help 90 young people
  • Cut transport fares by 1% so they are in line with inflation. Londoners living in Zone six and travelling to Zone One on a yearly travelcard would save £360.54
  • Re-allocate business rates to protect frontline police and fire services. In Harrow, Pinner and Harrow Civic Centre (counter) police station is earmarked for closure, this would be kept open and police front counter provision will be maintained.
  • Freeze the Mayor’s share of the Council Tax which is currently only saving households 7 pence per week
  • Start the process of setting up a London-wide lettings agency

As the economy stumbles and splutters towards a triple-dip recession the Mayor needs to help the economy and help ordinary Londoners. Cutting fares by one per cent will save residents in Harrow £360.54 on their annual travelcard.

Our Jobs Guarantee for 16-24 year olds out of work for over a year will put 90 young people in Harrow into work, and benefit 7,500 long-term unemployed young Londoners across London.

There has been a lot of local opposition to the proposed closure of Pinner and Harrow Civic Centre (counter) police station but reallocating business rates, as we’ve suggested, will help protect frontline police and fire services to help keep London safe and secure.

Boris may shrug his shoulders and say he is doing all he can, but he is signed up to the government’s reckless economic plans. All he has done is said the ‘rhetoric should be toned down’, but that cuts and austerity should continue. At a time when ordinary Londoners are struggling and the economy is flat-lining he must do more, there is an alternative.

Boris has cut his share of the council tax by less than 10 pence a week per household, but at the same time has whacked up fares above inflation for the fifth year running. He must be stupid to think Londoners won’t notice this.

 

Ends

Notes

Background

 

Jobs Guarantee

Working closely with appropriate employers the Jobs Guarantee would provide participants with 21 hours work per week paid at the London Living Wage. As of December 2013 there were 7,455 16-24 year-olds in London who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. This proposal would see £35.6 million invested in 2013-14 to finance the scheme, including wages and employer’s NI contributions.

 

The Jobs Guarantee will help prevent another ‘lost generation’ of unemployed young people, it will generate up to £27 million for HM Treasury through increased National Insurance payments, reducing the Job Seekers’ Allowance payments and through the VAT generated by the purchase of consumer goods by participants of the scheme.

 

Protecting frontline Police services

Following central government’s 20% cut to the policing budget the frontline is now being hit. The Mayor has chosen not to allocate any more resources to the police, even though he has the ability to do so. He is planning to cut police numbers, cut front counters and decimate Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The budget amendment proposal is designed to cushion the impact of central government cuts.

 

The proposals would:

  • Recruit 1,159 PCSOs – both improving uniformed presence on our streets and creating a pool for future recruitment of police constables
  • Maintain the current level of front counter services across London
  • Recruit 250 new police officers for Safer Transport Teams

 

Protecting frontline Fire services

Freezing the Mayoral precept will retain £9.4 million this year which will be used to keep all 12 fire stations and 18 fire appliances that are earmarked for the axe. This will maintain the current level of fire cover for London.

 

Reallocation of business rates

This proposal would allocate the recently-localised funds from Retained Business Rates in a way that protects the public services that Londoners depend upon and finances projects that help secure a sustainable economic, infrastructure, and environmental future for London.

 

‘Rogue’ landlords and lettings agencies

This proposal would invest in a GLA ‘know your rights’ website for tenants in collaboration with charities and think-tanks.  Secondly, proposes the financing of an action research project in to the establishment of a London-wide lettings agency. Thirdly, propose the commission of an extensive study into the feasibility of a London Living Rent.

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8th February 2013

Londoners shouldn’t be left out in the cold

On Fuel Poverty Awareness Day local Labour London Assembly Member Navin Shah is calling on energy companies to stop neglecting Londoners. Research by the Energy Savings Trust shows energy companies have only insulated half the number of London homes as elsewhere in the UK. In Harrow the number of homes insulated in the last year is as low as 8.3 per cent and in Brent it was 8.5%.

Energy companies have treated 7.2 per cent of homes in the capital in order to fulfil their obligations under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). Fuel poverty is a widespread issue with over 560,000 London households estimated to be fuel poor.

The figures are bad news for Boris Johnson, who has himself failed to meet his own target to retrofit 200,000 homes by 2012, delivering only 67,000. From April the Mayor will no longer be directly funding home retrofit measures and will instead rely on energy companies to deliver such measures.

As a result of the gap between the end of the existing retrofitting schemes and the new schemes becoming fully functional, the Insulation Industry Forum predicted that 625 jobs will be lost in London during 2013. 

The energy companies’ record in London is pitifully poor, with only half the number of homes benefitting from being insulated as elsewhere in the UK. With the ending of the Mayor’s home insulation programme in London and the energy companies’ complete lack of interest in helping Londoners save money and keep warm.

On Fuel Poverty Awareness Day I encourage all residents who are struggling to heat their homes to ensure they are getting all the help they are entitled to. It should not be a choice between food or fuel.

The number of people living in fuel poverty is rising in London. With fuel prices continuing to rise every winter and when London's higher housing costs are considered, more and more people will fall into fuel poverty each year.

It is essential that energy companies do all they can to help Londoners reduce their fuel consumption and live in more energy efficient homes. Energy companies are not taking this responsibility seriously and Londoners are being left out in the cold.

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1st February 2013