Brent Labour’s Budget Proposals

On Monday 1st March Brent Council met to determine its budget for 2010-11. Labour opposed the package of cuts and redundancies proposed by the Lib Dem/Tory administration. Labour also re-affirmed its promise to scrap the £25 charge for bulky refuse collection, which has led to an epidemic of dumping across the Borough Other proposals included:

FREE PARKING TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL SHOPPING FOR LOCAL PEOPLE

Labour will be proposing free parking for the first hour in council car parks (all of which are close to local shopping centres) in order to discourage local people from driving to ‘out of town’ shopping centres like Brent Cross, where parking is free, to encourage people to shop locally. This would have the effect of reducing carbon emissions and also have the effect of boosting local businesses with local people using local shops.

Labour’s Transport Spokesperson, Cllr Lena Ahmed, said:

“We believe that parking restrictions and charges in local shopping centres are bad for business and we want to encourage local shopping for local people so that local people use local shops. The cost in lost revenue is a mere £96,840, which is a small price to pay for a significant boost to the local economy during the world economic downturn”.

Labour is also calling for residents’ parking charges to be linked to carbon emissions with higher charges for vehicles which cause the most pollution.

These measures will form part of a ‘Green Charter’, which Labour will present to the electorate as part of its manifesto.

AN END TO THE LIB DEMS’ CARE CHARGE RIP-OFF

Having promised free personal care for the elderly before the last election, The Brent Lib Dems have increase some home care charges by nearly 300%. Labour voted against these increases and is pledged to review the charges. However, the government has now introduced the Personal Care at Home Bill, which will eliminate many of these charges.

Labour’s Spokesperson for Adults, Health & social Care, Cllr Ruth Moher, said:

“Those who receive home care are amongst the most vulnerable people in our borough and we will protect them”.

NO TO HOUSING ON PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

Labour’s budget proposals contain a specific pledge to reverse the Lib Dems’ plans for housing development in Barham Park and to protect all public open space from rapacious developers. In December, the Lib Dem controlled Executive agreed the sale of 776-778 Harrow Road, Wembley, which is in Barham Park, for housing development and Labour fears that a tower block may be built there.

Labour’s Environment and Planning Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“The Lib Dems sneaked this report through the Executive just before Christmas and entitled it ‘Disposal of 776-778 Harrow Road’ in the hope that nobody would notice that the site is in fact IN Barham Park. The report allows for housing development on the site. Labour is opposed to any housing being built on public open space and we will fight this proposal all the way”.

Labour’s budget proposals also sought to reverse the sale of the scout hut at Oliver Goldsmith School.

ACTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

With Brent South Labour MP, Dawn Butler, being Minister for Young People, it is no surprise that Labour’s budget proposals seek to improve services for teenagers and young people. The party proposes a multi use games area in every suitable open space and regrets the Lib Dems’ decision to remove years 2 & 3 funding from the budget for improvements to Kingsbury’s Roe Green Park. Labour is also committed to restoring the cut in funding for the ‘Positive Activities for Young People’ programme, which is a Youth Service project working with young people at risk of social exclusion engaging them in constructive activity programmes in order to assist their progress into education or employment.

Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Families, Cllr Mary Arnold, said:

“It’s a false economy to cut youth spending because with nothing better to do, young people can sometimes drift into trouble, become a nuisance to everybody else and miss out on educational and employment opportunities, which will affect their life chances. Given the opportunity for positive activities, young people generally develop their talents and skills and they will thrive”.

SUPPORT FOR ADVICE AGENCIES

Labour will maintain the £22,000 one off increase in funding for advice agencies and seek to develop innovative ways to link advice, debt management and job seeking support services.

Kilburn ward Councillor Mary Arnold, who has campaigned against the closure of Brent In2 Work and cuts to advice services, said:

“Brent is slowly emerging from the world wide recession but the recovery is fragile and will be put at risk if the Tories or Liberals are in power. It is therefore important to retain the extra funding for advice agencies and to link advice, debt management and job seeking support services.

REPAIR POT HOLES BEFORE PAYING CONSULTANTS

Labour Councillors will slash spending on consultants by £1.5 million and use the money saved to repair pot holes and broken pavements. The Council’s own budget report shows that the cost of claims for injuries sustained on broken pavements has risen by over 30%. The Lib Dem and Tory council is also proposing to cut spending on street cleaning.

Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“There are more pot holes in Brent’s roads than there are in the Yorkshire Dales and they are a danger to motorists in general and especially to cyclists. Meanwhile, broken pavements are an ever present danger to disabled residents and others with impaired mobility. Instead of wasting money on consultants who tell us nothing new we should repair our roads and pavements”.

Labour will also be seeking to reduce the grossly excessive spending of £16 million a year on temporary and agency staff.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said:

“How can the Lib Dems and Tories justify employing nearly 600 temporary and agency staff at a cost in excess of £16 million a year when we are sacking 250 permanent staff?”

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Conservative Party Councillor Bertha Joseph Officially Suspended from Brent Council

The verdict is finally out on Conservative Party Councillor Bertha Joseph. In October 2009, she was handed a 6 month suspension for being guilty of three charges of breaking the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. The former Mayor of Brent was to be suspended from the council for six months after she used £900 in cash donations to buy two ball gowns but appealed against the decision meaning the suspension was not carried out.

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.

She has failed in her appeal and the six month suspension has now been reimposed. Councillor James Powney has blogged on the verdict LINK

Lib Dem MPs trained to exploit the expenses system and the Taxpayer

It’s not surprising that Brent East’s Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has been caught up in what has been branded as “OfficeGate”.

Source: Political Scrapbook

In 2009, the Telegraph reported that the Liberal Democrat Party had produced a guide for their MPs on how to “systematically exploit their taxpayer-funded expenses” – LINK

The handbook on exploiting the system has come to light again following the revellation of expenses “saint” Sara Teather’s office expense irregularities.

Political Scrapbook has today published an extract of the handbook – LINK

Meanwhile Councillor James Powney has blogged on the fact that Sarah Teather’s appearance in Parliament has been somewhat scarce – LINK

Lib Dems lacked the grit to deal with the big freeze

Lib Dem and Tory controlled Brent Council failed to deal with the wintry conditions on Brent’s roads and pavements and consequently put people’s lives in danger. The Council’s Head of Environmental Management has admitted that ‘grit stock levels were at a very critical level’ and that they were ‘treating a reduced network of priority roads’.

Meanwhile all refuse and recycling collections were suspended and did not return to normal until 18 January. In some parts of the borough residents have not had their refuse collected since Christmas Eve.

Labour has already tabled a motion for the next council meeting (25 January) calling for a report on how the Council’s response to adverse weather conditions can be improved in the future.

Council grit bins providing grit for local residents had already run out by last weekend. The photograph below shows the Labour MP for Brent South, Dawn Butler and the Deputy Leader of Brent Council’s Labour Opposition, Cllr Muhammed Butt, next to an empty grit bin in Wembley High Road last weekend.

Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“The Lib Dems cut the budget for winter maintenance by £38,000 in 2007-08 and Brent Council now provides a paltry £281,580 for winter maintenance compared with £2.3 million on communications and over a million pounds on outside consultants to tell them how to save money! No wonder local people are afraid to go out in this weather for fear that they may fall over on Brent’s icy pavements and no wonder so many of our road surfaces are so dangerous for motorists. We live in a northern European country where snow is a meteorological fact of life and the Council should be prepared for it”.

What is now further worrying is how Brent Council will be able to cope with any further snow disruptions due to the failure of the Lib Dems to be prepared for winter weather disruptions.

2009 Site Stats

Hope you had a fab New Years’ celebration. Just a round up of the year for those who may be interested in fives.

Top Referrers:

1. Facebook

2. Twitter

3.  Alphainventions (not a clue what this is…. but it’s up there)

4. Councillor James Powney

5. Councillor Lesley Jones

Top Blog Posts

1. Liberal Democrats are failing our Children – on John Kelly, now Crest Academy Schools

2. Happy Shree Krishna Janmaashtmi to all

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

4. Ice Skating at Wembley Stadium this Christmas – which unfortunately did not happen.

5. Labour’s Team for Brent – A Multi-Racial Team for a Multi-Racial Borough

Top search terms:

1. Krupesh Hirani

2. Krupesh4brent

3. Teddy Kennedy

4. Krishna

5. Krupesh 4 Brent

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3. Write to Them

4. Councillor Lesley Jones

5. Dawn Butler MP

If you’d like more information contact me on krupesh@bclabour.org.uk

Council admits failure of Dumper’s charter

At the October Council meeting, Labour Councillor Jim Moher (Fryent ward) asked the following question:

What are the monthly rates for special collections since April 2006, and what reasons can the Administration give for the sudden decline in such collections in July/August 2007?

Councillor Moher has received a reply from the Lead Member for Environment, Planning and Culture, Cllr Irwin Van Colle, which confirms the decline and baldy states that the reason for the decline is the introduction of the charge for special collections. If you would like to see the full figures, email me on krupesh@bclabour.org.uk

Labour’s spokesperson for Environment, Planning & Culture, Councillor James Powney, welcomed Cllr Van Colle’s honesty, which is in sharp contrast to the Lib Dem refusal to admit that the £25.00 charge for bulky refuse – the ‘Dumpers Charter’ –  has caused an epidemic in dumping.

Councillor Powney said:

“I am grateful to Cllr Van Colle for admitting that the number of special collections has fallen as a result of the introduction of the ‘Dumpers’ Charter’. That is what I have been saying all along. Now perhaps he will change the policy he admits has failed”.

The Writing’s on the Wall at the Town Hall

park graffitiI have highlighted the problem of Lib Dem neglect in Brent and issue of graffiti in the past.

AJ- Town Hall graffiti
Brent Labour Group Leader Councillor Ann John

Now The Liberal Dem led Brent Council is failing to tackle the rising tide of graffiti vandalism even at it’s own Town Hall as the attached photographs taken by Labour Councillor James Powney, illustrate. See pictured Labour Leader, Cllr Ann John next to the offending graffiti outside Committee Room on the second floor at Brent Town Hall.

Councillor James Powney who is also Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, said:

“The Lib Dems cannot even clean up the Town Hall let alone the Borough”.