Brent to be targeted again by Coalition Government

The BBC is reporting that Councils in England face a 10% cut in funding from central government as part of the coalition’s spending plans for 2015/16 – LINK

The article quotes a Local Government Association (LGA) estimate that a 10% cut in spending would mean an average council having to find another £30m of savings on top of existing cuts. As we know, Brent is usually disproportionately impacted from Coalition Government cuts – LINK

10% savings on top of the 30% cuts to Council Budgets will simply mean that in Brent, we will have to simply stop doing some things and make some unpalatable decisions.   Council Leaders including Cllr Muhammed Butt of Brent signed a statement agreeing that the cuts to local councils “simply cannot go on” – LINK

Furthermore, US President Barack Obama has rejected Osbornomics, saying that “we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity” LINK

Globally, the opposition against the Tory and Liberal Democrat approach is growing. But the approach from Nick Clegg and George Osborne and company is not changing.

I hope that the Brent’s three MPs Barry Gardiner, Sarah Teather and Glenda Jackson vote against this unfair budget on Wednesday.

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.

Quit chewing tobacco!

National Institute for Health and Clinical Exc...
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has issued advice to South Asians in the UK to stop chewing tobacco because of its links to cancer.

In addition, the BBC has reported that “they may also contain other unhealthy ingredients such as areca nuts – a mildly euphoric stimulant, known to be addictive and cancer-causing – and slaked lime, a chemical used to make cement.”

The nicotine content in some of these brands is also higher than that contained in cigarettes, meaning that it is more addictive, and so people feel the need to have more of it.

Read the article in the BBC here – LINK

It is a huge issue among the population in Brent with us having large South Asian populations here. Many local residents are unhappy because of the disgusting red marks that spitting while or after chewing leaves on the streets. However, the impact on people’s health is also another reason to be concerned about chewed tobacco products.

Looking Down Under

English: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gil...
English: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard at a Q & A Session in Rooty Hill, New South Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sparked celebrations filled with jubilation and also tearful emotion among disabled people, their carers and charities that help disabled people.

The Australian Labour Government has championed this progressive move in care provision for disabled people. Two federal states have caved in to the Prime Minister’s demands to provide additional funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In stark contrast, our Tory Liberal Government has stalled care reforms and is using “scrounger” rhetoric to justify cutting benefits to disabled people.

The national disability charity Scope have recently reported that almost half of disabled people feel that attitudes towards them have worsened in the last year.

“For Scope it’s impossible to ignore that the results comes as Government continues to focus the welfare debate on a few benefit scroungers in a bid to make the case for radical reform.”

Hospitals in North West London, serving Brent residents “will almost certainly” have to close due to NHS cuts

Hospital (Photo credit: José Goulão)

The BBC is reporting that the medical director of the largest commissioning cluster in the capital has said hospitals in north west London “will almost certainly” have to close.

The cluster has been tasked with saving about £1bn over four years.

NHS NWL serves a population of 1.9 million people in eight boroughs – Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.

It currently has a budget of about £4bn a year and has been tasked with cutting about £1bn from its budget by 2014-15.

NHS North West London (NWL) medical director Mark Spencer said: “We have more hospitals per head of population, more hospital beds per head of population and travel time to your local hospital is much shorter than anywhere else in the country. And that’s an inefficient system.”

When asked if hospitals will have to close, he said: “Almost certainly.

“Some of these will continue as diagnostic and outpatient facilities but it’s likely some of them won’t have hospital beds in them as they do now.”

When asked whether NHS NWL will have fewer hospitals with accident and emergency (A&E) services, he replied: “I think that’s very likely.”

Unfortunately, closing A&E services mean that it takes longer for people to get emergency treatment and this could be the difference between life and death.

In relation to other services, the NHS Bill passed through Parliament yesterday means that up to 49% of resources can be used privately meaning that there could be less resources available for the public.

TV Highlight of the Week: Charlie Brooker on 10 O’Clock Live

10 O'Clock Live

I don’t watch much TV, but I’m a fan of the 10 O’Clock Live show and try to watch it when I can. Last year when faced with the choice of BBC Question Time or 10 O’Clock Live, I opted for the latter. It sings more in tune with younger audiences as a current affairs show.

I was disappointed with the episode last week but it was back to its best last night. In Harry Hill style, the clip below is a piece of poetic genius from Charlie Brooker and is my TV highlight of the week. Click on the link to watch:



Brent adoption service in the news

I woke up this morning to hear the London Borough of Brent mentioned on Radio 4 this morning on the Today programme. New data has revealed that Brent has poor adoption rates – LINK

I am disappointed with our slow adoption rates in Brent compared to other Councils; although there could be a valid explanation for this, which I am seeking.

It is generally an area that is ignored by local media. One of the most alarming things about the Council Budget papers passed in 2011 was the level of projected and actual overspend for children in care and yet coverage to my knowledge was zilch (the second area of overspend was Adult Social Care).

I have written to the Children and Families Department at Brent Council for an explanation as to whether there are valid reasons why our adoption rates are comparatively slow and if we can have a look at better performing Boroughs.

University applications down

An article on the BBC website has revealed that initial figures show that “University applications for 2012 are running at 9% below last year’s level.”

Even more concerning, is that “when overseas applications are taken out, the figures show a 12% drop in applications from UK students.”

I sincerely hope that it is being monitored what our young people are doing instead of going to University, given the huge intake drop. If people are not going to University because of choice, we cannot fail the next generation by not providing quality further education and training opportunities and support to make sure they are well equipped and have the skills necessary to enter the labour market.

Meanwhile, the One Show on BBC1, broadcasted on Monday 24th October (video only available for a limited time) revealed that when interest payments are taken into account, people who take out the maximum loan amount could find themselves paying £75,000 in debt.

Another survey has revealed that 10% will be put off going to University because of the new fees system that will start from next year onwards.

Have you been a victim of gold chain snatching in Brent?

Just got a call from BBC London TV. They are running a feature on the increase of gold chain snatching in Brent. If any victims of this crime are available to talk to them today, send me an email on or call 07886939295.

Government purchases 9,000 Olympic tickets

2012 Summer Olympics

The BBC is reporting that the Tory Liberal Government has bought 9,000 tickets for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Brent Council was given the opportunity to buy tickets but we thought it was unacceptable to purchase them at a time when we are being forced to cutback on public services. It raises the question of whether we are really all in this together.

It is disappointing that that the Government has decided to purchase such an extravagant amount.