Brent Council Executive 2012 / 2013

Following the Brent Council Annual General Meeting of 2012 tonight, the emerging Cabinet will be as follows:

Mayor of Brent – Cllr Michael Adeyeye

Deputy Mayor of Brent – Cllr Bobby Thomas

Leader of Brent Council – Cllr Muhammed Butt

Deputy Leader of Brent Council – Cllr Ruth Moher

Lead Member for Adults and Health – Cllr Krupesh Hirani

Lead Member for Children and Families – Cllr Mary Arnold

Lead Member for Crime Prevention and Public Safety – Cllr Lincoln Beswick

Lead Member for Customers and Citizens – Cllr Lesley Jones

Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods – Cllr James Powney

Lead Member for Highways and Transportation – Cllr Jim Moher

Lead Member for Housing – Cllr Janice Long

Lead Member for Regeneration and Major Projects – Cllr George Crane

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Coalition in denial about child poverty

Brent Labour is concerned about the impact of the Lib Dem and Conservative policies that are putting more people into poverty. The renowned Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has produced a report which says that the UK is seeing a big rise in poverty and that 600,000 more children will be pushed into poverty.

With one in three children living in poverty in Brent, Labour is concerned that the Coalition Government is making things worse for our future generations.

Lead member for Children and Families Cllr Mary Arnold said,

“Changes to tax credits for working families, reduction in childcare grants, increasing VAT, scrapping of Building Schools for the Future, fewer opportunities for apprenticeships than Labour proposed, slashing the Education Maintenance Allowance and the trebling of tuition fees is making it more difficult for the next generation to reach their aspirations.”

Leader of Brent Council, Cllr Ann John OBE said,

“It is not fair that that people are being affected in this way, when at the same time, the Government has refused to continue the Bankers Bonus Tax that was in place last year and could be used right now to help pay off the deficit. There is a fairer way to address this deficit; a Plan B, which the Government are not looking into.”

Brent Labour protects Sure Start Children Centres from Liberal Tory Cuts

Sarah Teather has wrongly claimed with the headline on her website that ‘Labour Council chooses to close Sure Start centres’.

Firstly ALL OF BRENT’S SEVENTEEN SURE START CENTRES have been protected in this years budget contrary to Lib Dem promotional material. This is in the backdrop of 20% cuts to Sure Start funding from £10 million to £8 million from… wait for it… the Minister for Children and Brent Central MP Sarah Teather.

The Brent Lib Dems continue to claim that they are giving more money for Sure Start.

However, the coalition has not protected the Sure Start budget as David Cameron has said. It has amalgamated funding for the centres into a new “early intervention grant” (EIG), which also includes funding for programmes related to teenage pregnancy, mental health and youth crime. So Brent has to use the money we spend in this area and put it all into one pot of spending to include Sure Start. A bit underhand from Sarah Teather and the Brent Lib Dems but we expect it.

Cllr Mary Arnold, Brent’s Lead Member for Children and Families, said:

“Sure Start is one of the greatest achievements of the last Labour Government. Labour investment in Sure Start recognised that investing in children yields returns for all of us in society.

The coalition’s cuts to Sure Start funding are a tragic mistake. This decision follows cuts to BSF, trebling of tuition fees, and the abolition of EMA. As usual young people are the victims of right-wing slash and burn attitudes to the welfare state.

I’m proud that my Council colleagues have found a way to protect all our centres. Let’s hope there’s a new Government soon which recognises that Brent’s children all deserve a sure start in life.”

Apply now for a Brent primary school places

I’d like to remind parents of children who are due to start at primary or junior school in September 2011 are being reminded that they are running out of time to get their applications in.

The deadline for applications for the thousands of children expected to start at a Brent primary next year is 15 January 2011.

Parents who are unsure about the process can put the dates of two public meetings in their diaries.

Council admissions officers will be able to answer questions and help families fill in application forms on:

  • 6 January 2011, between 5 and 7pm, at Willesden Green Library Centre, 95 High Road, London, NW10 2SF
  • 7 January 2011, between 5 and 7pm.  Brent Town Hall, Forty Lane, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 9HD.

All Brent families have to apply to Brent Council regardless of whether the school is in Brent or outside. Parents can apply quickly and easily online at www.brent.gov.uk/admissions

Councillor Mary Arnold, Brent Council’s lead member for Children and Families, said: “If you are parent of a child who is due to go to start at one of Brent’s excellent primary schools next year, I strongly advise you to complete an application within the next month, before the deadline.

“If you miss the deadline, your application will be considered after all the others so you will be at a disadvantage and are less likely to get the school you want.

“Families with children due to go to a primary school really need to act fast if they haven’t applied as there is only a month left. Our schools are very successful and very popular and you don’t want your child to miss out.”

Hidden Grant Cuts

When Yvette Cooper said that women would bear the brunt of the cuts, I disagreed and still do. I think that the real losers are children and young people who have been quite frankly targeted by this Coalition Government.

The obvious cuts that reflect this is the Building Schools for the Future cut and the Future Jobs Fund, which was designed to support young people into employment.

However, the most alarming element of the cuts to our schools is in the detail. The small hidden grants. This includes help for things such as teenage pregnancy, advice for children and families, debt advice, all being cut grant by grant as highlighted by Councillor Mary Arnold in the Willesden and Brent Times this week.

Would young people be targeted as much if they were able to vote?

Cllr Mary Arnold – Lib Dem / Tory Coalition Deprives Brent’s Schools of £380 million

The Coalition Government’s recent announcements cancelling Building Schools for the Future capital programmes has deprived Brent schools of  £80m funding allocated last January to rebuild, remodel and expand four secondary schools initially and a further £300m for the remaining secondaries.

This is an enormous setback for the children, teachers and indeed communities who have invested in the plans, been inspired and had their expectations raised by the promise of a 21st century learning environment. And judging by the stories emerging at the recent rally of parents, schoolchildren and unions to lobby MPs at Westminster, this is the tip of the iceberg across the country. It means that children will be taught in buildings not fit for purpose and in larger classes as there will not be enough school places for Brent’s children, as a result.

Over the last 13 years, Labour invested in Brent’s schools, year-on-year, producing higher standards with results above the national average and narrowing the achievement gap. Fewer schools have been in special measures and more children have stayed in education or training including apprenticeships. But instead of building on success, the Lib Dem/Tory government has put all this is at stake with no alternatives for capital investment as it rushes through the Academies Bill inviting schools to opt out of local authority control.

This coalition government option is initially for ‘outstanding’ schools in contrast to the original model, meaning that schools already doing well could opt to attract additional funds from local authority central services leaving less to support Brent’s family of schools. These new ‘academies’ would not be accountable to the local authority (and taxpayer) and there is concern whether their admissions criteria would be subject to its approval. As the school year ends in a policy vacuum, it is important to thank teachers in recognition of their enormous contribution and to collaborate in the interests of all Brent’s children in the future.

Cllr Mary Arnold

Labour Councillor for Kilburn Ward and

Lead Member for Children and Families

Government Savages School places in Brent

Conservative Education Minister, Michael Gove, supported by his junior minister, Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central, has withdrawn £80 million worth of funding for Brent schools under the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ (BSF) programme. The decision forms part of the Liberal Democrats ‘savage cuts’ agenda announced by Nick Clegg at last year’s Lib Dem conference and being implemented by the Con Dem coalition Government.

Brent has a rising school population and a shortage of school places at both primary and secondary stages. Seven of the borough’s secondary schools are in very poor condition, not fit for purpose and require urgent replacement. The first phase of the BSF funding was to cover the rebuilding and expansion of Copland Community School, Cardinal Hinsley Catholic College, Queen’s Park Community School and Alperton Community School.

In addition, the rebuilding of the Crest Academies is also ‘under review’. The Ark Academy is not affected by the cuts.

The Government’s decision means that Brent will not be able to meet the demand for new school places.

The Leader of Brent Council, Councillor Ann John, OBE, has condemned the Government’s action, which, she says, is driven by outdated right wing ideology. Cllr John said:

“This decision means that the future prospects of Brent’s school students are being sacrificed on the altar of an outdated right wing ideology which dictates that debt must be repaid over the shortest possible period irrespective of the damage to public services and to the economy. Moreover, scrapping capital projects like this damage the economy and increases the prospect of a ‘double dip’ recession. Any recovery will be led by growth in the construction industry and this is bad news for them as well”.

The Lead Member for Children & Families, Cllr Mary Arnold, added:

“This cut will lead to overcrowding, larger class sizes and a return to the days when Brent kids were taught in corridors rather than in class rooms. The government are creating slum schools of the future”.