Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

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Navin's News for March 2015

Mayor’s failing Rental Standard will take 103 years to hit target at current rate

I have questioned London Mayor Boris Johnson’s commitment to private renters in Brent and Harrow after it was revealed that at the current rate of progress it will take him over one hundred years to hit his target of getting 100,000 of the capital’s landlords signed up to minimum standards. Despite promising to hit is target by May 2016, just 627 additional landlords have been accredited since Boris Johnson launched the scheme in late May last year. The Mayor’s failure will leave many of the 100,696 private renters in Brent and 56,931 private renters in Harrow with little protection from bad landlords.

In 2012 Boris Johnson pledged to sign up 100,000 of London’s estimated 300,000 private landlords to a new London Rental Standard (LRS). The scheme, which was eventually launched in late May last year, sets minimum standards for landlords and provides a kite mark for the various voluntary landlord accreditation schemes in London.

A few days after the LRS was launched last May the Mayor reported that there were 13,512 landlords already signed up to the various accreditation schemes. Yet according to the latest City Hall figures, only 627 additional landlords have signed up since then, despite an intensive publicity campaign. At this rate of progress it will take a further 103 years before Boris Johnson hits his target to sign up 100,000 landlords.

With 100,696 private renters in Brent and 56,931 private renters in Harrow now living in private rented housing, it’s staggering that the Mayor can be so brazen about his failure to drive up standards in the sector.  Boris Johnson’s abysmal record is made clear by the fact that with little more than a year to go he has signed up just 14% of the 100,000 landlords he promised by May 2016. 

At the current rate, it will take over one hundred years before the Mayor meets his target to accredit 100,000 landlords.

We need real change in the private rented sector. Londoners need the peace of mind and security of longer tenancy agreements, caps on annual rent increases and an end to no fault evictions. Instead Boris Johnson’s half-hearted approach is failing private renters in Brent and Harrow and leaving them with little protection from bad landlords.

 

ENDS

 

Notes

 

-   

-       When the LRS was launched in late May 2014 there were 13,512 landlords already signed up to the various accreditation schemes

 

-       The latest figures from the Greater London Authority on the number of landlords accredited under the London Rental Standard can be found here.

 

-       In his 2012 Election Manifesto, Taking Greater London Forward, Boris Johnson pledged that 100,000 of London’s estimated 300,000 private sector landlords would be signed up to a scheme approved by the London Rental Standard by May 2016. (page 11)

 

-       According to Census 2011 figures, there are 819,085 private rental properties in London.

 

-       627 extra landlords have gained accreditation in the eight months between June 2014 and March 2015, equating to a rate of 836 landlords per year. With 85,861 additional landlords needed to meet the Mayor’s target of 100,000 landlords, this would take 102.7 years before the target is met.

 

 

 

Harrow’s ticket offices start to close

In April we will see the ticket office at North Harrow and West Harrow stations close and will mark the start of a project to close several ticket offices across Harrow. The move will leave passengers in Harrow paying more money for less staff support.

The closure comes after it was revealed that the Mayor of London’s plan to close all the capital’s tube ticket offices will cost taxpayers almost £134m. The cost is “staggering” and “£134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff.”

The closure at North Harrow and West Harrow stations marks the start of a process to close ticket offices in 9 stations in Harrow. The closures will also see almost 900 staff cut from London’s tube stations. I am concerned about the impact the staff cuts will have on disabled and elderly passengers.

Amongst other things the £134m will fund additional ticket machines in 27 stations, four new customer receptions and the conversion of 181 ticket offices for other uses.

I am very concerned about the ramifications of these ticket office closures. This argument isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or not. It is about whether there are enough staff in stations to provide the good service people in Harrow have come to expect, particularly the elderly and disabled who often rely more on station staff for assistance.

The truth is a staggering £134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff. No matter how user friendly a ticket machine is they cannot provide the same level of advice and customer service that staff could. Coming after tube fares were hiked for the seventh year running many passengers will wonder why they are being asked to pay more money for less staff support on their journey.

 

ENDS

 

Notes

 

-          The TfL Finance and Police Committee paper detailing the Fit for the Future ticket office closure costs is available here (page 7)

 

-       The following tube stations in Harrow will see their ticket offices close:

 Harrow

Station

Month

Duration of Work

North Harrow

April- June

1 Month

West Harrow

April-June

1 Month

Pinner

July- Sept

1 Month

Harrow-on-the-Hill

October - Dec

1 Month

Rayners Lane

October - Dec

1 Month

South Harrow

October - Dec

1 Month

Stanmore

October - Dec

1 Month

Sudbury Hill

October - Dec

1 Month

Harrow & Wealdstone

TBC

TBC


-       

London Assembly's Planning Committee will look at the housing crisis

I was on London Live this morning discussing what is happening today at London Assembly’s Planning Committee. I will be hearing from experts on how to design homes that meet family needs.

The committee will be looking at is how we can increase the capital’s housing density through innovative design, without sacrificing the quality or sustainability we have come to expect.

The capital is facing a growing housing crisis and its vital we find new and innovative ways to build the homes, for both individuals and families, that Londoners are crying out for.

Watch my interview here:

http://www.londonlive.co.uk/news/2015-03-18/how-can-london-build-more-housing

 

Mayor admits defeat on apprenticeships

Boris Johnson has admitted that he is unlikely to reach his target to create 250,000 apprenticeships between 2012 and 2016. The Mayor made the admission during a BBC interview marking the start of National Apprenticeship Week. Just four months after analysis from London Assembly Member Navin Shah revealed that apprenticeship numbers in Brent and Harrow had fallen for two years running.

 

The Mayor is “utterly failing young people” after it was revealed today that amongst those apprenticeships which have been created, over half have gone to people over 25.

Government changes have meant that some types of in-work training have been reclassified as apprenticeships. The vast majority of people over 25 in apprenticeships already worked for their employer before starting an ‘apprenticeship’ under the new system.

Boris Johnson has a vast mountain to climb if he is going to come anywhere near delivering the quarter of a million apprenticeships he promised Londoners by 2016, particularly as in some boroughs, like Brent and Harrow apprenticeship numbers are actually falling.

Even with those apprenticeships which are being created, almost half of them are going to people over 25 years old and already in work. I’m greatly in favour of supporting people to develop their careers, but the government’s approach leaves the apprenticeship programme utterly failing young people.

The Government’s meddling with the apprenticeship system has meant in-work training which would have happened anyway is gobbling up the limited funds. This is locking out young people who desperately want an apprenticeship to give them a first step on the career ladder.

 

ENDS

 

Notes

 

-       Mayor Boris Johnson pledged that between 2012 and 2016 he would create 250,000 new apprenticeships in London.

-       In response to a recent Mayor’s Question response the Mayor stated that between April 2012-June 2014, 96,500 apprentice starts have been reported in London. The table below details the total number of apprentice starts achieved over this timeframe, broken down by quarter and academic year.

 

 

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

2012/13

12370

9400

10420

12880

45070

2013/14

11080

8280

9380

11310

40050

2014/15

11380

     

11380

Total

       

96500

Note: Apprenticeship starts are not reported on a monthly basis so Q1 2012/13 includes starts reported in April 2012.

Note: Q1 2014/15 data is provisional and cannot be verified until Q1 2015/16.

Note: Q2 2014/15 data is expected late March 2015.

-       The latest Government breakdowns of London apprenticeship starts in 2012/13 and 2013/14 shows that:

 

Apprenticeship starts for over-25s in London since 2009/10

2009/10 – 3,900 (19% of all apprenticeships)

2010/11 – 17,810 (43%)

2011/12 – 22,820 (48%)

2012/13 – 21,560 (48%)

2013/14 – 16,190 (40%)

 

-       93% of apprentices over the age of 25 already worked for their employer prior to starting an apprenticeship.

-       “Only around a third of 16-18 year olds (36%) already worked for their employer before their Apprenticeship, increasing to 42% of 19-20 year olds, 64% of 21-24 year olds and 93% of those aged 25 or older.”
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2014 (p.43)

-       The latest Government breakdowns of London apprenticeship starts in each Local Education Authority from 2011/12 to 2013/14 shows that:

Apprenticeship starts in Brent since 2011/12

2011/12 – 1,730

2012/13 – 1,520

2013/14 – 1,340

Apprenticeship starts in Harrow since 2011/12

2011/12 – 1,120

2012/13 – 970

2013/14 – 830 

Home Secretary’s decision not to licence water cannon

The Home Secretary’s decision not to licence water cannon for use on London’s streets at this time should be a clear signal to Boris Johnson that his proposal was ill-judged. Experiences in other countries have shown just how dangerous water cannon can be. They should have no place in our capital city.

Just last month New York’s Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned that water cannon had a “horrific history” and would not be “contemplated being used anywhere in America.” It’s hard to see why then the Mayor is so keen on seeing them in London, especially when there is little evidence to support their use. The Association of Chief Police Officers for example said there are only three occasions in the last ten years when their use may even have been considered.

The Met Police are already facing massive budget cuts. It’s time for Boris Johnson to accept he was wrong, sell the water cannon and reinvest the money in things the Met actually need. People want police on their streets, not water cannon weapons sitting unused.

The Home Secretary now needs to hold firm and rule out the use of water cannon not only until the after the election, but for good.