Friday, 27 February 2015

Mixed reaction to Manchester NHS devolution deal

Greater Manchester’s NHS devolution deal, which will see the region’s councils take control of a £6bn health budget, has been welcomed by local MPs, senior councillors and NHS chiefs, but has been met with caution elsewhere. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said it would create a “two-tier NHS” and warned he would not offer such a deal if he was in power. Clinical Commissioning Group leaders described it as a 'genuine opportunity' to improve healthcare, while two leading proponents of Greater Manchester devolution, Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill and former government policy adviser Phillip Collins, both welcomed the deal. Mr O'Neill, who led a review into the growth of the country's cities calling for Manchester in particular to be first in line for new powers, said it was a “very impressive” deal. Mr Collins said: "This reform offers a complete transformation of the way the state works."
 The Guardian 

Sharp drop in UK business investment

The ONS has reported that business investment in the UK has fallen for the second quarter in a row. Spending by business fell by 1.4% in the fourth quarter from the previous three-month period. The ONS partially attributed the blame to falling oil prices. Economists have said overall business investment in Britain might also be affected by uncertainty over the outcome of the general election in May. On an annual basis, investment still increased by 2.1% on the same period a year ago. GDP growth was confirmed at 0.5% in the fourth quarter, a fall from 0.7% in the third and 0.8% in the second.
The Independent, 

Number of rough sleepers increases

A report from the DCLG has found the number of people sleeping on the streets has risen by 14% over the past year. The report states that 2,755 people have been reported by local councils across the country as sleeping rough on any one night in 2014. A separate report released by the Albert Kennedy Trust revealed a disproportionately high number of young people on the streets identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, with 77% believing their sexuality or gender identity was a causal factor in rejection from home.
The Independent, 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Barnhill Newsletter - February 2015

1.)        Drugs warrant executed Barnhill Road HA9

Your Barnhill team recently executed a successful drugs warrant at a house along Barnhill Road Wembley HA9 after receiving complaints of on going drugs misuse. One male was arrested for Possession with Intent to Supply Class B Drugs and Possession of Class A drugs. Investigations are on-going.

2.)        Fryent Country Park NW9 - Rough Sleepers -UPDATE

It had been brought to our attention that more rough sleepers have taken camp in the fields in Fryent Country Park and are drinking and leaving litter and empty beer cans scattered around the place. On Thursday 12th February with the support of Councillor Choudhary and Veolia we set up an operation and managed to clear the tents which were identified and various fly tips.
Please note there is now New Legislation available to hopefully gain some control over these matters. See below:-

Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO’s)  - Council Lead          

A local authority may make a Public Spaces Protection Order if satisfied on reasonable grounds that two conditions are met:-

The first condition is that—

(a) Activities carried on in a public place within the authority’s area have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, or
(b) It is likely that activities will be carried on in a public place within that area and that they will have such an effect.

The second condition is that the effect, or likely effect, of the activities—

(a) is, or is likely to be, of a persistent or continuing nature,

(b) is, or is likely to be, such as to make the activities unreasonable, and

(c) justifies the restrictions imposed by the notice.

Duration of orders - Not more than 3 Years

Offence of failing to comply with order

A fixed penalty notice - A notice offering the person to whom it is issued the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for the offence by payment of a fixed penalty to a local authority specified in the notice. Generally this will not exceed £100.

3.)        Crime Prevention Property

We have now taken delivery of various crime prevention packs supported by our local councillors and funded by the Council. We have all sorts from 24 hour timers; shed warning stickers to purse alarms etc. If you feel anyone would benefit from any of these then please contact Barnhill SNT, Bill Pyemont (Ward Panel Chair) or your local Neighbour hood watch team.

4.)        Its a Scam - Fraudsters want your money!

Very recently a pensioner was approached by two men driving a Royal Blue van in THE AVENUE WEMBLEY HA9.  They were described as English.  They told her that her neighbour had a leak and it was coming into her bedroom.   The men went into her house and went up the stairs. The elderly woman followed them and when she walked into her bedroom, there was water on the mirror and wardrobe plus some wet on the carpet. 

They told her that they needed £3,000+ in order to get the scaffolding to fix the problem and that they needed the cash immediately and told her to quickly go to the bank.  She walked up to the bank in Preston Road HA3 where she made the request. Luckily the assistant thought something wasn’t right and alerted the bank manager who took the elderly lady back to her house and called the police.  They looked at the bedroom and it seemed that the so called workman had just thrown water over the bedroom.  There was no leak!

The elderly lady is fine and has since been visited by officers from the Barnhill team to offer her some reassurance.  Thank goodness on this occasion they didn’t get away with anything! Please pass this information on and warn others that this is a scam!

Michelle & Tippawan

Your ward officers

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Care home complaints

New figures have shown that nearly 15,000 complaints about the treatment of care home residents aged 65 and over were made to local authorities last year. Seventy four councils responded to a request by Radio 5 Live Investigates to state the number of “safeguarding” complaints they had received about care home residents. Between them they had received 14,888 complaints. Of these, about a third were upheld. BBC Radio 5 Live said the figure was likely to be higher as it asked 152 councils.
Sunday Mirror

Care at home for the elderly at risk

Jon Chapman, director of specialist care consultants Pinders, has warned that pensioners could be forced into care homes because soaring costs are making support in their own houses unaffordable. The Care Act, which comes into force in April, will set out standards by which local authorities will have to abide. However, Mr Chapman believes the act could quadruple the cost of home care, forcing councils to take the cheaper option of putting the vulnerable into residential homes. Elsewhere, the Telegraph’s Glenda Cooper comments on a case in Cornwall where an elderly couple have been split up because of home care costs.
The Sunday Telegraph, 

Young are three times more likely to be jobless

According to an analysis of official figures by the House of Commons library for Labour, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. The number of people aged 16-24 who are not in full-time education or employment has increased by 8,000 over the last quarter. With 498,000 in that age group without a job. Their unemployment rate is 14.4%, while the overall unemployment rate now stands at 5.7% of the total working population. Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said there could be "no doubt" that there was a genuine issue with youth unemployment that needed to be addressed.
The Observer, 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

First Phase - Brent Cross Development ?

  • ·         £200m of investment in transport infrastructure, including major improvements to roads and junctions in the area.
  • ·         A new pedestrian and cycle bridge – the Living Bridge – which will link communities south of the North Circular to Brent Cross Shopping Centre, the new Bus Station and the new Brent Riverside Park.
  • ·         Over £5m of investment in Clitterhouse Playing Fields to produce a very special community park,     including new high quality sports pitches, tennis courts and multi-use games areas to cater for a variety of sports and age groups, as well as a new pavilion with changing rooms, public toilets and a cafĂ© kiosk.
  • ·         Claremont Open Space being transformed into a new community park – Claremont Park – and the start of the creation of the new Brent Riverside Park to the South of Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
  • ·         Modern new homes for those being relocated from the Whitefield Estate

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation

The Old Oak and Park Royal Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) has now been designated. The Brent Council was able to secure a significant number of its requirements in relation to the MDC through the consultation process. This included the removal of the Northfields area from the MDC boundary.Brent Council Officers will now work closely with the MDC in developing an Opportunity Area Planning Framework and Local Plan for the MDC area. The membership of the MDC Board and Planning Committee, which is to include elected Members from Brent, will also be finalised in the coming months.

Launch of Wembley Calling: A new Vision for Wembley Regeneration

A refreshed Vision statement for the Wembley Regeneration was launched on the 28th of January at the Civic Centre.  The statement sets out our aspirations for Wembley, and a series of projects we will deliver to bring forward homes, jobs and infrastructure throughout the growth area, from Wembley Park to Ealing Road.  These include a proposed Housing Zone for sites around Wembley Triangle, highway improvements and a new Crossrail connection to Wembley Central Station

Friday, 13 February 2015

Sixth Brent council tax freeze set to be discussed

COUNCIL tax looks set to be frozen for a sixth successive year in Brent, as town hall chiefs finalise plans for a two-year budget which will go before a full council vote next month.
If the council tax freeze for 2015/16 is agreed, as recommended in a report going before the council's cabinet on Feb 23, it will mean the average bill will be 15 per cent lower in real terms compared to 2010.
However, cuts in central government funding to local authorities have also left the council with the huge task of finding nearly £54million worth of savings by 2017.  These savings are in addition to the £89million already delivered since 2010. In total, the council's main source of central government funding will be around one third the current level by 2018.
In that context and following widespread local consultation, the council will need to decide which services should be protected and where savings are to be made.
Despite the financial challenges, under-threat services for  young and vulnerable people, including Brent's Children's Centres, Youth Services and the New Millennium Day Centre, are all recommended to be spared from closure in the report. Rough sleeping services and the borough's CCTV network are also recommended for a reprieve, as is the Brent Connexions careers advice service for young people.
A proposed 20 per cent reduction in social care staff should be halved to ten per cent, with these savings coming from reduced use of agency staff, according to the report and the proposal to limit home care visits to 15 minutes is also set to be shelved.
The report outlines how there should be no cuts in funding for respite care services, day care, or in the free swimming programme for young children and pensioners. If approved by the Cabinet on Feb 23, the budget plans will be put to a final vote of the Full Council on March, 2.
Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said "Many people we spoke to are still feeling the effects of stagnant wages and high costs so I hope that a sixth council tax freeze in a row will go some way in alleviating these pressures. Just 18% of the local people who responded to our survey wanted to pay more council tax.
"However, given that our net budget is being cut by between a third and a half this has left us with some very tough choices on which services to protect. Most people will understand how difficult it would be if your personal income fell by a half. You simply would not be able to spend money in the same way on the same things. You would need to tighten your belt somehow and find different ways of functioning.
"We have undertaken one of the most comprehensive listening exercises ever in Brent and, as a result, I am confident that we are spending our dwindling resources on those services that residents have told us matter the most. We are working hard to make sure every pound spent delivers maximum value and we are also finding better, more efficient ways of working and looking to maximise the use of new technology wherever we can.
"Not everybody will be happy with the decisions we need to take given the dire budget situation but by working together and pulling in the same direction I wholeheartedly believe our wonderful, diverse borough can still look forward to an even brighter, more prosperous future."
Savings that are recommended to be taken in the report include: reducing the size of the senior management team to save £1.4m a year; increasing visitor parking charges; negotiating with contractors to get a better deal on adult social care and sharing some services such as registrars and regulatory services.
For more information on the council budget visit

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Labour pledges to cap class sizes at 30

Ed Miliband is set to announce that Labour will cap class sizes for five-to-seven year olds at 30. Labour argues that it can fund the £180m cost of its cap by ending the creation of free schools in areas that do not need them. Schools would have 12 months to bring class sizes down to 30 under the plan. Mr Miliband will claim the Coalition has allowed the number of infants taught in classes of more than 30 to rise from 31,265 in 2010 to 93,345 last year.

Smoking in cars with children to be banned

Smoking in cars with children will be outlawed in England from October following a final vote of MPs. The change in the law was passed after 342 MPs voted in favour and just 74 against. More than 700 senior doctors had backed the ban last year, saying that being in an enclosed space significantly worsened the harm done to children by cigarette smoke.
The Daily Telegraph, 

New right to buy scheme considered

Under a new plan being considered by the Conservatives, millions of council houses would be "given away" to low-paid workers to reward people who come off benefits, according to the Times. It says that Iain Duncan Smith is pushing for a pledge to "gift" tenants their council home after a year in work to be included in the Conservative manifesto. Such tenants would cease to be eligible for housing benefit and would have to pay 35% of the sale proceeds in tax if they sold their property within three years, according to one model under discussion. In later years, the amount of tax paid would fall. All money raised would be ploughed back into the housing market. Proponents argue that the savings in housing benefit and the sales tax receipts, boosted by house inflation, would almost outweigh the cost. Another idea being floated is to extend the Right to Buy programme to the 2.5m homes owned by housing associations. Mr Duncan Smith has been pushing for the Right to Buy scheme, which gives homebuyers discounts of up to £100,000, to be extended. It is currently confined to 2m houses owned by councils.