Just back in from the Church End area

I’ve just come back from talking to people in the Church End area with the Labour Action Team and Dawn Butler MP and the level of neglect from the Liberal Democrats is atrocious.

The Lib Dems scrapped the Council provision that offered to take five big items a year from residents free of charge. The Labour Party opposed at the time and still continue to argue strongly on this scrappage and are fighting to bring this service back in.

As feared, dumping of household furniture such as sofa and mattresses has become a common feature on our streets. In the long run, cutting the service has actually increased the costs incurred by the Council in collecting and cleaning up large items.

Parking charges under the Lib Dems have soared through the roof and are due to rise further, despite their election manifesto promises in 2005 not to increase Council Taxes and Parking Charges. Another broken promise from the Lib Dems.

Consequently, the Council is collecting from parking charges. However, where is this money going? the state of the roads in Church End suggests that it definitely is not going back into maintaining and upkeeping the roads.

These are common  examples of the Liberal Democrats increasing taxes but cutting these services and are visible everyday across the whole of Brent and another reason to Bring Labour Back to Brent.


In the Guardian Today

The Labour MP for Brent South, Dawn Butler, is one of only two black women MPs and the first elected black woman Government Minister. The MP for the other constituency which will be merged into the new Brent Central seat is Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather. Ms Teather has appeared on Question Time on at least four occasions since the 2005 election and on no less than three times this year. Dawn Butler has never been invited to appear. We are truly alarmed that Nick Griffin will now appear on Question Time before Britain’s first elected black woman Government Minister. We wonder if the apparent bias against Dawn Butler is symptomatic of what Greg Dyke once called “a hideously white organisation”.

Cllr Ann John

Leader, Brent council Labour group and 19 other Brent Councillors and Councillor Navin Shah AM

Break the stereotype, fix the impression

Source: Brent BRAIN
Source: Brent BRAIN

BrentYouth Parliament (BYP) have launched a nationwide survey called ‘Break the Stereotype, Fix the Impression’. The survey will ask people of all ages and backgrounds questions on how young people are perceived and to assess whether current observations of young people are distorted and largely negative.

The survey will be circulated throughout the country as the BYP and UK Youth Parliament see the issue as a UK concern.

BYP members decided this survey was needed because they were concerned that society and the media see all young people as being badly behaved and rude, caused mainly due to the small minority who misbehave and seem more visible. The group believes that, unless these impressions are challenged, young people will inherit an attitude that could cause lasting damage for future generations.

Kishan Parshotam, a BYP member said, “Young people need to identify and understand the older generations perception of them, the results of this survey will help bridge the gap between the generations as it is a joint responsibility.”

Manveen Patwalia, Principal Youth Participation Manager for Brent Council said, “The youth are the future of this planet and we must provide them with encouragement and guidance. This survey will help bring more awareness to the issues that young people face in their growth into adulthood.”

Everyone who completes the survey will be in with a chance of winning a new Apple iPod Nano with video camera and FM radio!

Survey deadline: Sunday 15 November 2009. The results of the survey will be published on Wednesday 25 November 2009.

(Source: Brent BRAIN)

College of North West London Celebrates 75th Birthday

Source: Brent Brain
Source: Brent BRAIN

The College of North West London celebrated its 75th birthday at the Dudden Hill Lane campus this October when staff cut a giant iced birthday cake in the shape of 75.

The College opened its doors to students on 12 October 1934 as Willesden Technical College, and apart from a short period of closure, it soldiered on throughout the Second World War – only once disrupted by tragedy in November 1940, when seven bombs fell on the site one Sunday, killing 11 members of the public in the College air raid shelters and injuring 19 people.

In September 1991 the Tech merged with Kilburn Polytechnic to become the College of North West London. More buildings were added to the Willesden site – the latest being the £13 million state-of-the-art technology block known as the Telford Building, which opened in April 2009.

From a few hundred students and 28 staff in 1934, the College now has over 13,000 students and more than 900 staff across three sites – Willesden, Kilburn and Wembley Park.

Special guests at the cake ceremony included Kenneth Lewis, aged 85, who was a plumbing student at the College from 1938-40 and became an RAF pilot during the war. He trained as a surveyor and rose to be managing director and chairman of the renowned Haymills construction company before retiring, but continued flying as a hobby until he was 80.

The College found Kenneth on the Friends Reunited website, where nearly 900 people are registered as former students of Willesden Technical College or Willesden College – but sadly there is nobody from the earliest year of 1934-35.

The College anniversary web page containing interesting facts and information, will be updated on a regular basis. The web page will run all through the anniversary year from the end of October until October 2010, and the public will be able to send in their comments and memories. Visit www.cnwl.ac.uk.

Source: Brent BRAIN (Brent’s Community Network)

London Transport prices take unprecedented hike

boris-johnson-yawn_667484nBig news today on London Transport fares. Boris Johnson is introducing an unprecendented rise to London Transport charges – THE LARGEST EVER in tube and bus fares!

Here’s what they’re all saying about it:

Bus fares are to go up by 12.7% and Tube fares will rise by 3.9%. Oyster card pay-as-you-go bus journeys are to rise from £1 to £1.20.
The Congestion Charge is rising to £10, while Mr Johnson said a £9 charge for those using a new account system would be operational next year.
The mayor said the price of a seven-day bus pass will also jump from £13.80 to £16.60 but London Travelcard prices will be frozen in the vast majority of cases.

Source: BBC

We’ve got a very, very clear choice. It is to pay a comparatively small price now, or [rather] in January, or pay a huge price later on, in five, ten, 15 or 20 years time. If we miss this opportunity to continue the upgrades and the improvement of London’s transport infrastructure, which will make this city not only much more liveable and better for everybody to move around in, but more competitive for generations to come.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

I left Boris Johnson with very large Transport for London reserves and plans to raise more funds and protect the environment. He has cut investment, reduced protection of the environment and hammered ordinary Londoners with above inflation fare increases. In essence his policy is that the majority of Londoners should pay to subsidise the better off and worst polluters. That is no joke for London.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone

The Mayor is pricing people off public transport, whilst favouring motorists by going ahead with plans to cancel the western extension of the congestion charge. Part of his fares increase will pay for the gap left by losing around £55m of congestion charge income. The Mayor has today highlighted the pollution caused by old buses, but he was the one who dropped the £25 congestion charge on gas guzzling cars, which would have generated around £30m in its first year. Everything the mayor does shows a bias in favour of the motorist and against public transport users. Even the long delayed increase in raising the congestion charge will be after bus and tube passengers have already started paying their extra fares.

Green Party London Assembley Member Jenny Jones

pdf Document with the breakdown of the changes from the BBC’s website: LINK

.. and from the Evening Standard: LINK

Brent Conservative Councillor Bertha Joseph handed 6 month suspension for spending charity money on ball gowns

Brent Council’s Standards Board has found leading Tory Councillor Bertha Joseph guilty of three charges of breaking the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. The former mayor of Brent has been suspended from the council for six months after she used £900 in cash donations to buy two ball gowns.Bertha Joseph

The charges were:

  • Failure to register gifts within 28 days;
  • Bringing the Mayoralty and Brent Council into disrepute;
  • Misuse of money received for personal gain.

The Committee, which includes one member from each of the three main parties and two independent members, agreed to suspend Cllr Joseph from the council for a record 6 months. She had claimed in the London Evening Standard today that she had been the victim of a Labour vendetta against her and this decision was a direct consequence of Party political squabbles. However, such a claim is absurd as only 1 member out of 5 in the committee who were responsible for dishing out the punishment is a Labour Party representative.

For the duration of her suspension, she will no longer receive her councillors and special responsibility allowances of over £11k a year and Labour is demanding that she be removed as Brent Council’s representative on the London Fire Authority, which pays her a further £7k a year.  It is worth noting that former Mayor Ken Livingstone objected to Cllr Joseph’s appointment as a representative on the Fire Authority on the grounds of her lack of probity. The Committee also recommended that Cllr Joseph pay the sum of £900 to the current Mayor’s charity to reflect money received from local businesses and used by her to buy clothes for herself.

Councillor Joseph has 21 days in which she can appeal the decision.

Bertha is a former Labour Party Councillor and defected to the Tories in 2007 and is a former Mayor of Brent.

Brent Council’s proposed £50 million cuts

Cllr Lorber has issued a statement on their proposed £50 million cuts and Labout Group leader Cllr Ann John has issued a refutation.

(c) Steve Cadman
(c) Steve Cadman

Cllr Paul Lorber:

As a result of Labour’s mismanagement Labour Councillors more than doubled the Council Tax by 2006.  When we took control from Labour in 2006 the first thing we set about doing was sorting out the mess Labour left.  Over the last 3 and a half years we have made the Council more efficient and made services better for local people.  Instead of Labour’s huge, unplanned increases in Council Tax we have had an ordered, steady reduction in the level of increase year on year.

The latest Resident’s Attitude Survey shows that there has been a huge increase in satisfaction with the Council’s services – 65% of residents were satisfied, up from 48% in 2005.  But we’re not content to stop there; we want to increase that further.  We will continue to make the Council more efficient, to deliver better services and to make the borough cleaner, greener and safer. I’m pleased to say that, now we’ve planned and organised our budgets over the last 3 years we are aiming to freeze the Council Tax next year.  We know how important this is to our residents in these difficult economic times.”

Cllr Ann John:

It is true that Labour increased the Council Tax from a very low base but the Liberal Democrats supported us in that and on some occasions argued for higher increases. It is also a fact that when we left office in 2006 all of the indicators including the Residents’ Attitude Survey were on an upward trajectory and the Council was heading for the top of the local authority performance league.

We now find the Chief Executive telling the Council’s senior managers that there is significant waste, duplication and inefficiency in the way we work; that there is a degree of self-satisfaction not always supported by performance; that 62% of our (performance) indicators are below average and 38% are in the lowest quartile and that there has been a particularly sharp drop in performance in the past year.

I simply ask, under whose watch has this massive deterioration occurred?