Please offer me a seat trial on public transport

Following the success of the ‘Please offer me a seat’ trial, Transport for London has announced the badge and card will be introduced on a permanent basis early next year.
 
The ‘Please offer me a seat’ badge and card were trialled to help customers who need a seat, but have difficulty getting one. The trial was a response to feedback from customers and research conducted last year, which found people with invisible impairments, conditions and injuries can often find it difficult to get a seat when they need one – particularly if their need is not obvious.
 
The trial was met with extremely positive reviews:
·        Participants reported 72 per cent of journeys as being easier as a result of the badge;
·        On 86 per cent of journeys participants reported feeling more confident when asking for a seat on public transport; and
·        An overwhelming 98 per cent of participants said they would recommend the badge and card to somebody they think needs or would benefit from one.
 
TfL is planning to launch the badge and card to all customers who need one early next year. Many customers may of course not want to use the badge and card, and TfL has committed make sure people are supported too. 
 
If you sign up to receive accessible travel updates by visiting www.tfl.gov.uk/emailupdates, TfL will let you know when our new badge and card is live.

Sadiq Khan is the new Mayor of London

I am truly proud of Londoners who saw real sense and overwhelmingly chose ‘son of a bus driver’ Sadiq Khan to be our Mayor.

The Tories threw whatever mud they could in a fight which has been labelled ‘dog whistling’  and ‘racist’ even by members of the Conservative Party. Despite this negative campaigning, Sadiq stayed positive and because of it, London voted for him.

I will leave you with a picture of my favourite moment from the last year. Sadiq Khan mixing Swaminarayan Khichdi at Willesden Temple. Yes We Khan

Sadiq Khan Willesden Temple

 

Navin Shah wins Brent and Harrow GLA Seat by over 20,000 votes!

Campaigning in Stonebridge

Navin Shah has retained the GLA Seat representing Brent and Harrow my an overwhelming margin. Navin beat the closest Tory rival by over 20,000 votes. Navin is much loved by all communities and has served Brent and Harrow residents selflessly over the years through his roles as a Councillor as well as an Assembly Member.

Greater London Assembly, result for the Brent and Harrow constituency:

Rathy Alagaratnam, UK Independence Party (UKIP), 9,074 votes
Joel Erne Davidson, The Conservative Party Candidate, 59,147 votes
Anton Georgiou, London Liberal Democrats, 11,534 votes
Jafar Hassan, Green Party, 9,874 votes
Akib Mahmood, Respect, 5,170 votes
Navin Shah, Labour Party, 79,902 votes

Spoiled ballots, 2,506

£907 million funding gap for London Councils projected within five years

New analysis has revealed that there is a projected £907 million funding gap in London Council budgets by 2018 due to social care pressures.

Indeed Brent’s own projections show that there is a £45 million gap due to care pressures by 2020. The projections are accurately mapped out and take into consideration factors such as, cuts to Council budgets, the rise in the elderly population, the fact that younger and working age disabled people are living longer with long-term conditions too.

The one element where there is cost uncertainty is in charges. Social care provision is means-tested and with rising levels of poverty and a squeeze on other disability and housing benefits, we may find that more will be provided with free or heavily subsidised services because of the nature of means-testing.

budget
budget (Photo credit: The Survival Woman)

London Councils currently spend a third of their budgets on social care. The Local Government Association (LGA) in a separate report in June last year warned that without reform, the public can expect a cut of 90% of funding in popular services such as libraries and leisure centres.

Indeed in the first budget of the current Council administration the two significant areas of overspend and pressure on top of the front loaded cuts to Brent Council were adult social care and children in care. Unfortunately this received about zero attention though.

The report provides a great case for wholesale health and social care integration and more support to local authorities. You can read the full report here LINK

Councils across the political divide call on the Government to drop its planning proposals

Councils of different political make ups are criticising the Government and calling on them to drop their planning relaxation proposals.

BBC Article – LINK

The BBC article mentions concerns of unsightly developments and neighbourly disputes. In addition, another issue is that we already have in London Boroughs, problems of landlords building what is known as ‘beds in sheds’. ‘Building’ bedrooms in properties at the back of houses in garages.

I have seen this in reality, when last year, during a walkabout with my Safer Neighbourhood Team in my ward, we found a woman living in appalling conditions in a converted garage on Denzil Road. What is worse is that she had a tenancy agreement from a local estate agent suggesting that they are complicit in this practise.

There is a danger that the Government’s proposals will encourage this behaviour and make things worse.

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

Ken Livingstone polled more than all other candidates put together in Brent!

 

Specific data released on the London Mayoral 2012 elections has revealed that former Brent East MP Ken Livingstone polled more than all the other candidates put together. Ken Livingstone won 54% of first preference votes, winning 22% more votes in Brent than the eventual winner of the overall election Boris Johnson who won 32% of the vote in Brent.

The vote spells bad news for the Liberals who’s candidate Brian Paddick only polled 5% in Brent.

There was more encouraging signs for Labour as Brent and Harrow London Assembly Member Navin Shah was the highest polling candidate in every single Ward in Brent. There is a huge drop in Lib Dem in Brnet with them coming an embarrassing third and even fourth in some wards where they have three Councillors!

I’ll blog further on this later.

Navin Shah storms to victory in Brent and Harrow

In Brent and Harrow, our Labour London Assembly Member Navin Shah stormed to victory, increasing his majority from 2008 to nearly a whopping 30,000 votes.

Candidate

Party

Votes

%

+/-

Navin Shah

Labour

70,400

48.5

11.3

Sachin Rajput

Conservative

40,604

28.0

-8.2

Charlotte Henry

Liberal Democrats

15,690

10.8

-1.6

Shahrar Ali

Green Party

10,546

7.3

0.7

Michael McGough

UKIP/Fresh Choice for London

7,830

5.4

3.4

TURNOUT: 145,070

 (Source: BBC)

However, the great Ken Livingstone who served as my MP in the old Brent East seat was unable to gain the London Mayoralty against Boris Johnson. Nonetheless, the result was closer than expected.

In his speech after the result, Ken stated his intention not to stand for elected office again. He has been an asset to London throughout the years and will be remembered for being a great political figure in London. Regardless of your view of Ken, he has had a revolutionary impact on the City and will be considered part of the political fabric of London for many years. 

Navin’s thumping re-election is great news for Labour in Brent and Harrow and I’m sure he will continue to be a formidable Brent and Harrow London Assembly Member.