Open letter from Councillor James Allie – Alperton Ward, Brent

It is with great sadness that after more than 10 years as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, this week I have resigned my membership of the party. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I wanted to help make Britain a fairer, greener and more equal country. I no longer believe that the Liberal Democrat Party can make this happen. They have betrayed the values that I once shared with them.

However, I do believe that the Labour Party, under their new Leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt along with Ed Miliband in Westminster, shares my values and that I can as part of a Labour administration continue to work for the people of Brent.

I find that I am unable to lend my support to the devastating policies the Coalition is inflicting on Britain. In particular I have been sickened by the hypocritical things the Liberal Democrats do and say here in Brent.While my feelings about this have built up over the past two years, there are three issues that have finally pushed me to take this decision:

  1. The people I represent in Alperton are struggling more than ever under this government, but the Liberal Democrat Leadership in Westminster is prioritising reform of the House of Lords instead of a plan for economic growth.
  2. The closure of the A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital under this government is an astonishing betrayal. Sarah Teather campaigned to keep the A&E when it was not under threat of closure. Now she is in government closing it. I am only sorry that I trusted her back then and I am sure that a number of her constituents feel the same way.
  3. Paul Lorber also knows very well that had the Lib Dems won the Local Election in 2010 they would have faced the same pressure to close the six libraries in Brent. It is the Coalition cuts to local government that are causing this problem and Cllr. Lorber’s posturing on the issue is just an insult to the library campaigners and the people of Brent.

I recognise that some of my constituents in Alperton will feel let down by my decision. I apologise to them if they feel I ought to have nailed my colours to the mast more firmly before the election. Equally I trust that many of them voted for me because they knew of the hard work that I have done as a councillor over the years.  I pledge to them that I will work harder than ever to improve the lives of everyone who lives in Alperton. I know that there are many people who voted Lib Dem at the last election and indeed many Lib Dem members who feel as betrayed as I do by the party’s record in the coalition. I urge them to join me and to join the Labour Party.

Regards,

Councillor James Allie

 

Highlight of the Olympic Opening Ceremony #WeLoveTheNHS

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Household Rubbish dumping in Neasden

The last month or so has been particularly rewarding as a local Councillor serving the Neasden area. Every door on Cairnfield Avenue, Birse Crescent, Chartley Avenue, Eastleigh Close, and Tanfield Avenue has been knocked on. I have received intelligence from my fellow neighbours about two households in particular that are responsible for putting their household rubbish out on the roads instead of taking the time to properly sort out their rubbish in the bins provided to them.

What disappoints me most is that these people live in the area and are making it a dirtier environment for everyone. In the case of one culprit, it is reported that they are encouraging their children to dump by handing them the rubbish and getting them to dump it. This is unacceptable.

I have instructed for these households to be monitored closely.

Serious incident concerning 6,000 X-Rays at Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex Hospital

The Urgent Care Centre at Centre Middlesex Hospital under the hospital reconfiguration plans for North West London is due to remain and stay open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. With Accident and Emergency services unlikely to remain at Central Middlesex Hospital, it will play an even more important role in servicing the needs of people in Brent. The Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex Hospital is currently outsourced to Care UK, who are a private company.

The Guardian reported in April 2012 that 6,000 X-rays in the possession of Care UK from Central Middlesex Hospital had not been processed. It was logged as a serious incident and investigated.

It was revealed at the recent Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny meeting that Care UK knew about the unprocessed X-rays for two weeks and only took an urgent course of action once NHS Brent found out and pressed them on this issue. The NHS Brent representative at the meeting said that they were ‘disappointed’ with Care UK’s response. Sadly, a Care UK representative did not attend the meeting.

Furthermore, it was revealed that the contract does not allow NHS Brent to enforce any fines or penalties on Care UK for their misdemeanour. This lesson must be learned and a penalty should be included in the next contract. Alternative providers must also be explored.

Letter from London Council Leaders: The missing London Borough

Monday’s census information represented a moment of truth for many London boroughs with the survey finally confirming what we have known for a long time: that the population of many Boroughs is growing much faster than those in Westminster think. The Councils we represent have seen above average increases in our population and as a result all have significantly higher populations than was previously projected and funded for.

This isn’t just a technical problem but a real world one that affects real people, as the funding we receive from the Government to provide the services our residents need is based on the incorrect projected figures, not on reality. Between us, we face a funding shortfall of almost £300 million each year as a result of these inadequate population estimates.

Having to deal with the massive cuts to our grants from Government has put huge stress on services in all our Boroughs. Not receiving the funding we are legitimately entitled to will only make this worse. Between us we are missing funding for over 300,000 residents – the equivalent of a large London Borough.

This ‘missing Borough’ means we have all had to make even deeper reductions to the services our residents rely upon than we would have otherwise had to.

As Council Leaders, elected Mayors and Group Leaders we call on the Government to ensure that we receive the funding that we are entitled to. Local Government funding must be based on reality, not fantasy.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council

Cllr Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

Cllr Chris Robins, Leader of Waltham Forrest Council

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham

Cllr Chris Roberts, Leader of Royal Borough of Greenwich

Cllr Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council

Cllr Jagdish Sharma MBE, Leader of Hounslow Council

Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council

Cllr Joshua Peck, Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour Group

Key tests that North West London Hospital reconfiguration should be subject to

Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP said in a recent Parliamentary debate that I blogged on earlier on Health that…

In 2010, the Secretary of State set out four tests that all proposed reconfigurations had to pass. They related to support from general practitioners, strengthened public and patient engagement, clear clinical evidence and support for patient choice. He said:

“Without all those elements, reconfigurations cannot proceed.”

So let me ask the Minister: does he think that the A and E units closing at Ealing, Hammersmith, Charing Cross and Central Middlesex pass that test? How about St Helier, King George, Newark and Rugby?

Sarah Teather a no show at Parliamentary debate on local hospitals

Maybe there was a rational reason why the Tory Liberal Minister could not attend the debate and vote on the NHS and local hospitals.

However, it is good that attention was paid to Central Middlesex Hospital in the debate.

Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North said,

Barry Gardiner: Thank you, Sir. I shall try to respect your advice.

In November 2011, the following announcement appeared on the Central Middlesex hospital website:

“A and E at Central Middx Hospital is temporarily closing overnight between 7 pm and 8 am starting from Monday 14 November 2011.

The urgent care centre next to A and E will remain open 24 hrs a day 7 days a week to treat patients with minor injuries and illness.

We are making this temporary change to ensure we continue to provide a safe service to patients during the winter months.”

In those three paragraphs, we hear twice over that that overnight closure is temporary, which gave minimal comfort to my constituents in Brent who used the facility. The overnight closure is indeed temporary. On 2 July, a consultation entitled “Shaping a healthier future” was launched in north-west London, and residents can submit their views until 8 October this year. The consultation, promoted by a transitional body called NHS North West London, aims to centralise and rationalise hospital services in the area. Each proposal outlined in the consultation includes the closure of the A and E at Central Middlesex—not overnight provision, but the 24-hour facility—for good.

The motion speaks of

“the growing gap between Ministers’ statements and what is happening in the NHS”.

I may have trouble agreeing with that, because it depends on which Minister and which statements. The Minister of State, Department for Education, the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather), received an e-mail from me today advising her that, if called to speak, I would quote her in this evening’s debate. I wanted to do so, because she made the following three statements. First:

“The Tories would be a disaster for the NHS, they plan a part privatised service”.

The second quotation:

“These cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest”.

The third quotation:

“The government must take urgent steps to safeguard our local NHS”.

Those three quotes date respectively from 2003, 2007 and 2007, when the hon. Lady was campaigning to keep open the accident and emergency centre at Central Middlesex hospital—campaigning for something which she, in her government, is now closing. No wonder her latest comment is:

“This flawed consultation, which does not allow residents to say that they want to save the A and E, is a kick in the teeth for all local people.”

I do not speak Parseltongue—I do not understand it—but I deplore the pretence of opposing a policy that you are pushing through in government. That is really disgraceful.

Even Tory MP for Ealing, Angie Bray MP spoke out against what is happening. She said,

Angie Bray: As my right hon. Friend is aware, the proposal is to downgrade four accident and emergency departments across London that are all right beside my constituency. Does he agree with my constituents that losing four accident and emergency departments is disproportionate and will mean a significant loss of service for them locally?

Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny and North West London Hospital Reconfiguration

Dr Mark Spencer, Lead Medical Director for Shaping a Healthier Future which proposes to make Central Middlesex Hospital into an Elective Hospital rather a Major Hospital was at the Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny meeting last night at Brent Town Hall. He said that no decision had been finalised. However, he admitted that there would only be change to the proposals and preferred option A if something has been left out or if there was a gap identified somewhere that needed to be filled.

Sadly, it appears that there is little room for manoeuvre on these proposals.

Meet the Funders Event – 20th July 2012

CVS Brent is the new Community and Voluntary Sector organisation in Brent that supports, promotes and develops voluntary and community action in the London Borough of Brent.

CVS Brent is hosting a Meet the Funders event on 20th July. For more details, to register for the event at Brent Town Hall, and to join CVS Brent, visit this LINK

Boris Johnson Outnumbered

Love this show. It’s called Outnumbered. Here is one of my favourite clips from it. Enjoy!

In all seriousness, Boris Johnson is actually the Mayor of London! Frightening isn’t it?

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