What are the Lib Dems doing in Brent?

Following on from this weekends campaigning in Dudden Hill, I spoke to a resident on Cobbold Road, who said that they will be supporting the Lib Dems at the next elections because they liked what they were saying. But I didn’t leave it there. I asked what is it about them you like? Are there any particular policies that they will be introducing in Brent that he identified with? To which he had no answer.

He even later admitted that maybe he had been sucked in by the negative campaigning from the Lib Dems as he could only recollect personal attacks on Gordon Brown and Dawn Butler from their leaflets – but not anything about what they were doing. If people vote for the Lib Dems on May 6th, does anyone know what they will be voting for?

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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?”

Brent Council accused of intimidating Brent Youth Parliament members

I recenty spoke along with Transport Minister Sadiq Khan MP,  Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry and my fellow young Brent Council Candidates Roxanne Mashari (Welsh Harp Ward) and Nadhim Ahmed (Dollis Hill Ward) at a Young People’s reception organised by Youth Opportunities and Youth Engagement Minister Dawn Butler MP.

It was amazing to meet so many young people involved positively in our communities. A few members of the Brent Youth Parliament were among the guests which has since caused local controversy. The Liberal Democrat and Conservative controlled Brent Council has since sent the Brent Youth Parliament members an intimidating letter saying:

“You will obviously need to give careful consideration as to whether you wish to align yourself with a particular person or group and what impact this may have on others’ perception of you as a Brent Youth Parliament member.

“If you do decide to participate in local politics, you will need to give consideration as to which person or group you are willing to be connected with and, any implications of this.”

Barry Gardiner MP, who represents Brent North in Parliament raised the issue in Parliament and was advised by Sir Alan Haselhurst to take the matter to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Harrow Times have reported in the story LINK.

I think it’s an absolute disgrace that young people are being discouraged from being involved in politics by being threatened and intimidated in this manner.

Brent Labour has led the way in youth representation and in this years’ local elections will be putting forward 5 candidates in their 20s.

BAME Labour Bus in Wembley Park

I was out with the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Labour Bus in Asda Wembley Park today which champions the progression of Ethnic Minorities in Politics through the Labour Party. There was a bit of a slow start due to the dirty tactics that had been played by an objection raised by us being there, but we firmly stood our ground.

Brent Labour are doing our bit for the advancement and the drive to improve representation of Ethnic Minorities in politics. 60% of our Brent population  are from an ethnic ‘minority’ background and 60% of our Brent Labour candidates are also ethnic ‘minorities’.

In Dawn Butler, we have the first (and only) Black female Government Minister and one of only two black female MPs in total in Parliament. Voters in the new Brent Central constituency also have the opportunity to have the new Parliamentary seat send a Black candidate in Dawn Butler to Parliament. The alternate choice is Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats, who was educated in a Grammar school in Leicester and is one of many Cambridge University graduates in Parliament – of which there are a disproportionate amount in Parliament already.

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

Top Clicks

1. FlickR

2. Twitter

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

Happy New Year

2009 has been an amazing year… With your help lets make 2010 an even better one!

A special thank you to the Dudden Hill Labour Party and the Labour Action Team, the Brent Labour Party and Council Labour Group and staff along with Councillor Navin Shah AM, Dawn Butler MP and Barry Gardiner MP and their staff for all their hard work and support.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Brent’s Dawn Butler MP Becomes First Black Female to Speak at the Commons Dispatch Box

Brent South Labour MP Dawn Butler made history yesterday as she became the first Black Woman to speak at the Dispatch Box in the House of Commons. She was congratulated on this achievement by Tom Clarke MP, who on Tuesday received a Disability Champion Award.

Dawn has long championed youth issues in Parliament and was recently promoted as Minister for Young Citizens and Youth Engagement.

See LINK to debate on the Hansard online archive: LINK

Labour invests another £80million to modernise schools in Brent

Following extensive lobbying by Brent Labour councillors and local Labour MPs Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner, the Labour government has agreed to provide an additional £80 million under its ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme. This means that secondary schools in the borough will be rebuilt or expanded as part of the government’s programme to modernise all secondary schools. Those programmed in the first phase are Alperton, Cardinal Hinsley in Harlesden, Queen’s Park Community School (which is to be expanded) and Copland School in Wembley.

Labour’s Education Spokesperson, Councillor Mary Arnold, said:

“Once again our Labour government has put its money where its mouth is and invested in education. In recent years, the Labour government has given Brent the second highest increase school budgets in the entire country and now they are giving us this huge additional capital investment to improve the fabric of our schools. Before Labour came to power, Brent school students were taught in overcrowded classrooms sometimes with leaking roofs and in some cases in corridors. That situation has massively improved under Labour and this new money gives us the chance to ensure that every Brent child receives a first class education in modern schools with state of the art facilities”.

The ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme allows for expansion as well as modernisation and Labour fears that the Lib Dem/Tory council may use the money merely to expand schools rather than modernise them. They have so far failed to rebuild primary schools despite receiving the money from the government to do so and their failure to take urgent action when they came to power four years ago has resulted in a critical shortage of school places.

LABOUR’S TEAM FOR BRENT – A MULTI-RACIAL TEAM FOR A MULTI-RACIAL BOROUGH

Only 15.9% of councillors in London are Black or Asian. In parliament only 15 MPs are black or Asian – 13 of those are Labour MPs and 2 are Conservatives. Despite winning a post war record of 63 seats, the Liberal Democrats have no black or Asian MPs.

Labour’s team for the local elections spent a day at the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre in Stonebridge to discuss policies and campaigning for 2010. Whilst a detailed manifesto has yet to be finalised, there was unanimous agreement that the next Labour administration will scrap the £25.00 charge for bulky refuse collection, which has led to an epidemic of dumping and introduce fairer care charges for elderly and disabled residents.

Labour has now selected candidates for all of the wards in Brent Central, two of the three Brent wards in Hampstead & Kilburn and several of the wards in Brent North. Most of the candidates attended the Bridge Park ‘Awayday’ where they were joined by local MPs Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner.

Labour Leader, Councillor Ann John, said:

“Our team for 2010 is younger, more representative and more talented than at any time since I first came on the council nearly 20 years ago. 59% of Brent’s population are of Asian, African or African-Caribbean origin and so are 59% of our candidates. We will be the first party in the history of Brent to put forward an ethnic majority team of candidates for an ethnic majority borough. That team of candidates is committed to improve the environment, give a fair deal to elderly and disabled residents and the best possible start for our young people with additional school places and new sports facilities”.

A photograph of some of Labour’s candidates is below.