Friday, 25 July 2014

Sudbury & Wembley Central Week of Action (28 July to 2 August)

The Sudbury & Wembley Central week of action is the fourth in the programme, building on previous weeks of action in Dudden Hill, Willesden Green and Tokyngton wards. During each week of action, the council works alongside local communities and partners to make a difference to the lives of local people. Colleagues from the Council's Youth Service, Parks Service and Community Safety team will work alongside partners from the Police, CRi - NHS Brent, London Fire Brigade, Veolia, and the voluntary sector - in order to tackle local issues in the two wards. Councillors will be holding a cross ward surgery on Monday evening at St John’s Community Centre, giving residents a further opportunity to engage with them on local issues. Local people can meet the team of partner agencies and Sudbury Town and Wembley Central Councillors between 12noon and 4pm on the following days: Monday 28 July and Saturday 2 August - The Open Space, Butler's Green, Sudbury Town Centre Wednesday 30 July and Friday 1 August - Wembley Central Square, outside Wembley Central Station. During the week, the team will highlight the health dangers caused by chewing paan and the support available to help users to quit. Sudbury Town Residents Association and Big Local Wembley Central plan to clean up their local areas on Saturday 2 August. The council will also be pressure-washing streets in Wembley and Sudbury. Other activities include visits by the youth bus offering activities for young people, the Diabetes UK bus offering health information, and dental checks for adult men.
with courtesy of Brent Council

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Schools need a million more places

Up to a million more pupils will join the education system in the next decade with the largest increases affecting the secondary sector, according to projections from the DfE. There were 7,072,000 children in England's state education system last year and numbers are expected to peak at 8,022,000 in 2023. By then, the number of primary pupils will be 4,684,000 - an increase of 9% on the current 4,305,000. This is equivalent to another 1,440 average-sized primary schools. The rise in the number of pupils between 2014 and 2023 will be equivalent to the addition of nearly 2,000 schools throughout the system. David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “Parents in many cities are not able to exercise choice over the school they send their children to because of the pressure on places.”
The Daily Telegraph,

Lib Dem’s call for “bedroom tax” changes

Nick Clegg has withdrawn support for cutting housing benefit payments to households with spare rooms, with Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, claiming that families who are unable to downsize are being unfairly targeted. The change of heart follows the release of a new government report which showed that it was “clearly time to take stock and change our approach,” according to Mr Alexander. He recommends altering the provision so that if there is no suitable property available, a claimant would be exempt. Mr Alexander also recommended making disabled claimants exempt. Rachel Reeves, the shadow welfare secretary, said: “This is unbelievable hypocrisy from Nick Clegg. The Lib Dems voted for the bedroom tax. There wouldn’t be a bedroom tax if it wasn’t for the Lib Dems. And in February when Labour tabled a bill to scrap the bedroom tax, the Lib Dems were nowhere to be seen.”
The Guardian,

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Benefit claimants richer during recession

A study by the IFS has found that benefits claimants were better off by as much as 2.2% a year than those in work during the recession as their benefits were linked to inflation. The economic forecaster found that between 2008 and 2013, while the average income of households on benefits rose by 5%, the income of working people fell by 6.6%. Last year the Government cut the link and from this April benefit rises will be capped at 1% a year for the next three years. The Daily Telegraph,

Special measures for GPs

Jeremy Hunt is preparing plans to place GPs into special measures if they are judged to be failing their patients. However. the move could unfairly damage patients' trust in their local practice, warns the BMA. The Guardian,

Migrants must pay more to use NHS

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has unveiled plans to charge patients from outside the EU 150% of the cost of NHS treatment in an attempt to deter so-called health tourism. The Department of Health said that the charges could save the NHS up to £500m a year and would prevent “abuse” of the system by visitors and migrants. Mr Hunt said the charges would be accompanied by greater scrutiny of recovery of fees by NHS trusts, who will face fines if they fail to identify and bill chargeable patients. “We have no problem with international visitors using the NHS as long as they pay for it – just as British families do through their taxes,” he said. The Guardian,

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Three week bin collection plan criticised

Bury Council has been accused of trying to “steam roller” through proposals to collect household rubbish bins every three weeks. Iain Gartside, leader of the town's Conservatives and chairman of the town hall’s scrutiny committee, said he would call the proposals in for review if they were approved - to give residents until the end of July to have their say. He said: "Taxpayers here have seen a 3.5% rise in their bills this year and they should expect the same level of service. We are in favour of recycling but I'm concerned this will lead to an increase in fly-tipping. This move could set us back years." Manchester Evening News

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Pickles rejects Smithfield plan

Henderson Global Investors’ proposals to redevelop London’s Smithfield Market have been rejected by Eric Pickles. The John McAslan and Partners-designed £160m scheme was called in in September last year following concerns about maintaining the historic element of the existing market. The Times,

No compensation for homes 500 metres from HS2

Home owners living 500m from the HS2 rail line will not be automatically entitled to compensation despite a report warning ministers they could be blighted by the project and could lead to a drop in property value of between 10% and 20% during construction. Under plans put out to consultation on Tuesday anyone living between 120m and 300m of the line will be offered payments of £7,500 to £22,500 to help them “share early in the benefits of HS2”, while those living closer can choose to stay put and receive cash compensation of £30,000 to £100,000. But home owners living between 300m and 500m away will only be provided for under the new measures if they can prove they have a compelling need to move. The Daily Telegraph,


Patients handed money from NHS to fund treatments The Guardian reports that billions of pounds of NHS and council budgets are to be given to vulnerable patients to buy health and social care services in the community. Simon Stevens, the new chief executive of NHS England, told the paper that the elderly, disabled children and those with serious mental illness or learning disabilities will from next April be offered individual pots of money to spend as they wish on health and social care services such as carers, physiotherapists and psychotherapy sessions. Mr Stevens said that “north of five million patients” could each have a personal combined health and social care budget by 2018. “We are going to set out the biggest offer to bring health and social care together that there's been since 1948; a new option for combining them at the level of the individual,” he said. The Guardian

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Old Oak Common and Brent

I read a interesting letter which I am reproducing below especially for Brent to take careful note of it.
"Mayor Boris Johnson wants to take away parts of Ealing, Brent and Hammersmith boroughs, for a ‘Development Corporation’ like the one in Docklands in the 1980s. Public consultation lasts until 24 September. This plan, for the whole of the Old Oak Common and Park Royal area, is terrible. Instead of us having 180 or so councillors for the area, there will be Boris functionaries, and just three councillors, one from each borough. The development around the HS2 station at Old Oak Common needs to favour local people, not huge development companies that are really a wing of the discredited financial services industry. There can be a masterplan, but we need ambitious environmental standards controlled by our local boroughs, and lots of individual planning applications, not the shambles of a single one applying over several square miles, like at Brent Cross. I have found that smaller but ambitious developers not only want to make money, but also want to build and innovate. Large older companies are just run by successful salesmen (and a very few women). They may have risen to the top, but they are mostly talentless drones. Keeping control of Park Royal by the boroughs is the only chance we have for democratic control of the area for the next 20 years, and avoiding a soulless copy of Canary Wharf here in west London. Finally, we all need to benefit from a network of London Overground and trams that could radiate out from Old Oak. We need a small incursion into Wormwood Scrubs for a railway that then enters Ealing, Brent and Barnet, as the start of a new orbital route around west and north outer London. It could also take over the Central Line stub down to Ealing Broadway, to make that more useful after Crossrail opens."