Brent results for the General Election

Residents have voted emphatically for Labour in Brent. We are represented by three MPs covering the Hampstead and Kilburn, Brent Central and Brent North constituencies.

Tulip Siddiq has increased her majority in Hampstead and Kilburn from 1,138 to 15,560. In Brent Central where my Council ward Dudden Hill is, Dawn Butler increased her vote share from 19,649 to 27,997 and in Brent North, Barry Gardiner increased his majority from 10,834 to 17,061.

The Conservatives had heavily targeted Brent North and Hampstead and Kilburn in particular but London in general saw Labour support rapidly increase across the capital. Personally I mostly campaigned in my own ward in Dudden Hill within Brent Central but did go to campaign sessions in Hampstead and Kilburn and Harrow West where Gareth Thomas not only retained his seat but increased his majority.

Sadly, we are still facing a Tory Government led by a weak leader but we will now have a strengthened and united opposition which will be incredibly important as we go through Brexit negotiations.

We were already knocking on doors before the snap election was called as we don’t just go on the doorstep during election time. Our returns in Dudden Hill when canvassing in the snap election period where showing that Dawn would increase her majority and in a worst case scenario would be no worse than the 2015 result under Ed Miliband’s leadership. A few conversations I had with voters during the campaign stick to my head.

In Dudden Hill, I met a firefighter who was so angry with the Government following the terror attacks. He lived in Kilburn but happened to be visiting his mother in my ward when I knocked on the door. He was furious at how much the emergency services were praised for their work in response to the attacks but when it comes to day to day activity they were treated like crap. They couldn’t even exercise or show their frustrations by being able to strike. He hadn’t had a pay rise in years and all his living costs had gone up. They felt undervalued day in day out and used as a political tool when they are needed.

Corbyn was mentioned as a reason people were not voting Labour but when we checked our returns, this was generally mentioned by people who had never voted for Labour and were anti-Labour in all elections.

Labour voters who mentioned dislike for Corbyn still said they would vote for Labour because of Party values. Corbyn was even mentioned as a reason for people voting for Labour, switching to Labour from Greens or Lib Dems and he gave a reason for people who had never voted before to vote for Labour for the first time in their lives.

Results in Brent Central and Brent North show the Conservative vote was fairly static in Brent and in terms of vote share there were slight decreases but a huge drop in their support in Hampstead and Kilburn.

It was truly remarkable to see people coming forward to vote at polling stations who had never been motivated to come out and exercise their democratic right before. As we showed in the London elections with Sadiq Khan’s victory, positive campaigning and the politics of hope definitely helped to deliver the unexpected general election result we are waking up to today.

 

Sir Alex Ferguson tribute

Source: Mirror UK
Source: Mirror UK

The news of Sir Alex Ferguson retiring as Manager of Manchester United is naturally dominating news headlines around the globe. Here’s a local related fact on the legendary Manager.

Of his 38 trophies won as Manchester United Manager, 16 were lifted in the London Borough of Brent

Elsewhere, here is a post on Left Foot Forward outlining 5 things Sir Alex said about the Tories LINK

Here also is a quote from Sir Alex on Labour and the Tories LINK

25 Years On

Cllr Hirani with Shadow Minister for Public Health Diane Abbott MPI was delighted to attend the 25 years on event celebrating the 1987 historic election when four ethnic minority MPs, Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz and Diane Abbott and Paul Boateng were elected to Parliament. The event was held at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham. Paul was of course a MP in Brent and now sits in the House of Lords.

Indeed that weekend, I had been watching the Election 1987 programme on BBC Parliament and it was evident that it was an exciting election all around. In terms of social progress in society, it was great for ethnic minorities in this country. It paved the way towards seeing more ethnic minorities in public life in prominent positions. There are 27 ethnic minority MPs in the current Parliament, serving as either Labour or Conservative MPs.

I am proud of the progress that our Brent Labour Group is making and our ethnic composition that reflects the diversity of Brent. Around 60% of the Brent come from ethnic minority backgrounds and 60% of the Labour Group are ethnic minorities.

It’s great progress that Brent Council Leader Muhammed Butt is one of three ethnic minority Leaders of a London Borough Council. Despite London’s diversity, it is surprising that there are not more.

Brent Labour to introduce a Carers Hub!

Caregiver joins her striking caregivers
(Photo credit: Simon Oosterman)

In my first Executive meeting on 21st May 2012, I will be the responsible Member for introducing the item on inviting tenders for introducing a Carers Hub to Brent. The Carers Services Hub will provide a single point of contact for carers through the coordination and delivery of a wide range of services.

Through consultation with carers, we were told that people were frustrated with the system and the lack of a clear pathway to access help and support. Through this Carers Hub, we aim to create a single point of contact for unpaid carers and better coordinate services to them. It will also serve as a reference point for voluntary sector organisations providing support services to people in Brent.

The Carers Hub Model is endorsed by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers as a best practise model. We will be pooling our Budget with NHS Brent in order to deliver this.

Guest Blogpost from Richard Lynch: “A windfall for the rich and we’re paying for it!”

The March budget was delivered at a time when the economy is stagnating, output is still below 2008 levels, public and private investment is falling and unemployment and poverty levels are rising. Yet the coalition picked this time to give a windfall to the richest people in the country by announcing a tax cut of from 50p to 45p in the pound for earnings over £150,000 a year. And the people who will have to pay for it include pensioners and some of the poorest families in the country.

The windfall is worth an estimated £3 billion to the 300,000 highest earners in the UK – an average tax cut of around £10,000 a year or over £40,000 a year to the 14,000 members of the group who earn over a million pounds a year. Amongst the people who will benefit from it are Barclays’ Bob Diamond (whose 2011 package was worth £25 million), Reckitt Benckiser’s Bart Brecht (£12.1 million), Shell’s Peter Voser (£10 million plus), Barclays Rich Ricci (£10 million), FT-owner Pearsons’ Marjorie Scardino (£9.6 million), HSBC’s Stuart Gulliver (£7.1 million) and GlaxoSmithKline’s Andrew Witty (£6.7 million). The Chief Executives of FTSE 100 companies (average £4.2 million) will also benefit handsomely, as will many members of the coalition cabinet, including David Cameron who is expected to be in line for a £3,000 saving.

Companies will also benefit from the budget as a result of the decision to cut corporation tax from 26% to 24% but this is unlikely to interest companies like Amazon, which had UK sales of over £7 billion in the last three years and apparently paid no UK corporation tax at all!

But it is working people and those who can least afford it who will be expected to pay for this windfall to the super rich. They will include 4.4 million over 65s who will be £83 a year worse off on average because of Osborne’s ‘granny tax’ and people who become pensioners from next April, many of whom will be £285 a year worse off because more of their pension will be taxed. People getting tax credits will be penalised as well, due to the main element of working tax credit being frozen and eligibility criteria being changed for working and child tax credit. One result of this could be that as many as 850,000 families on modest and middle incomes could lose all of their child tax credit, worth around £545 a year. And around 212,000 working couples earning less than £17,000 a year could lose all of their working tax credit if they are unable to increase their working hours. This could mean a loss of over £3,000 a year and would be a disaster for some of the poorest working families in the country.

Labour was right to describe the changes to tax and benefits as one of the most ruthless assaults on the finances of low and middle income earners ever seen. And Ed Milliband was right to launch a savage attack on the Chancellor’s proposals on budget day. But Labour needs to show more leadership and organise a far more aggressive campaign against the coalition’s inept handling of the economy, bias towards the super rich and attacks on working peoples’ interests. The Unions also need to show more leadership and all of us need to stop agonising and start organising in our own workplaces and communities as well. Austerity for the poor is not the answer to Britain’s problems! We need to reject it and fight back!

Richard Lynch is a Dudden Hill resident. He is a retired Unite the Union official and currently conducts voluntary work on employment rights for the Brent Community Law Centre. He also acts as an accompanying representative for the GMB union.

Youth unemployment rates are painful

Over a million young people out of work under the Tory Liberals! I am shocked to read that since January there has been an 83 per cent rise in young people on the dole for six months or more (Source: Labour Party).

On the doorstep, young people in Dudden Hill are angry with the lack of opportunities that are available to them to gain an in into the labour market. They are ready willing and able but the Government’s austerity measures and lack of investment has cut off opportunities.

It hurts that we have a Government that believes unemployment is a price worth paying. There is an alternative to cut slower, which would recognise the human cost of the cuts.

I have blogged here about the Labour 5 point plan for jobs LINK.

The importance of the Future Jobs Fund which was introduced by Gordon Brown – later to be scrapped by Clegg, Teather, Cameron and co – should not be underestimated. What it meant that was while it may have been the case that there are not enough jobs, or enough growth in our economy to get young people into jobs, what the fund did was give opportunities to young people to be job ready and gain practical experience. This is far more valuable to our economy, the taxpayer and the individual and their family than for paying to keep them on the dole.

Tory Liberal millionaire ministers who enjoyed free University education at Oxbridge University, only later to come into power and impose tuition fees of a maximum £9k a year on young people today, have failed to understand the needs of the 16 to 24 age group.

Along with economic policy change, we also need fundamental political change. The Government should also lower the voting age to 16. If people were able to vote at 16, then maybe the voice of young people would be listened to more.

A clearer picture of Brent’s recycling rates

Active tipping area of an operating landfill i...
Thanks to Brent Labour, 41% less of Brent's rubbish end up like this under the new Brent recycling system (WikiImage)

Is Brent Labour the Greenest Party in Brent?

….. Yes

The bold decision to care about the environment and change the Brent waste collection strategy has seen some more incredible results in Brent’s recycling rate and an emphatic decrease in the amount of rubbish that is being squashed underground in landfill, damaging our mother earth.

The greatest gift that we can pass on to our next generation is our planet and the Labour Party is leading the way in Brent on green issues.

We now have a clearer picture of the how the new waste service has performed during its first month.

The October 2011 picture compared to September 2011 is as follows:

Landfill

Dry Rate

Org rate

Combined Recycling Rate

Sep-11

6574 tonnes

14%

18%

31%

Oct-11

3890 tonnes

25%

20%

45%

Landfill waste is down by a staggering 41% !!!!!!!!! and the kerbside element of dry recycling shows a whopping 50% increase since we moved to the blue bin system. The new recycling system is yet to be rolled out to all flats in Brent.

Part of these reforms mean that 28,000 new properties in Brent that the Brent Liberal Tories have left out with any form of kerbside recycling will be able to recycle more easily.

Yes, there are teething problems at the moment with people adjusting to the new system and it would be naive to think that the system will work 100% perfectly for everyone within the first month. But once these have been ironed out, we hope that we can get closer to Brent Labour’s target of bringing our recycling rate up to 60%.

.

Kenton by-election result

Unfortunately Labour was unable to gain a seat from the Conservatives in Kenton ward yesterday following the death of Councillor Arthur Steel which triggered the by-election. Conservative candidate Suresh Kansagra won by 156 votes.

The final results were as follows:

  1. Suresh Kansagra (Conservative) – 1,063 votes
  2. Ellie May Southwood (Labour) – 907 votes
  3. Robert Dunwell (Independent) – 185 votes
  4. Alan Mathison (Green Party) – 75 votes

(turnout – 25.96%)

The seat would have been a real coup for Brent Labour as it has been Conservative since its existence. It remains the only ward in Brent which has three Conservative Councillors. It was a fair fought election and Ellie was a splendid candidate and managed to increase the Labour vote in Kenton Ward by 2.8%. Meanwhile the Lib Dem vote collapsed from 14.4% in May to 7.4% yesterday and were even shamefully beaten by the Independent candidate Robert Dunwell.

Change from May 2010 elections

Party May 2010 Result Feb 2011 by-election Result Change from May election (%)
Conservative 46.3 % 43.9 % – 2.4 %
Labour 34.7 % 37.5 % + 2.8 %
Lib Dem 14.4 % 7.4 % – 7 %
Green 4.6 % 3.1 % – 1.5 %
Independent 0 % 7.6 % + 7.6 %

I’d like to congratulate Suresh on his victory and I look forward to working with him at the Council.