Brent Council Cabinet for 2013/2014 to be officially instated tonight

At the Mayor Making ceremony tonight, where the work of community champions is the main focus.

The new positions will be as follows:

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 Michael Pavey

Lead Member for Crime Prevention and Public Safety – Cllr Aslam Choudry

Lead Member for Customers and Citizens – Cllr James Denselow

Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods – Cllr Roxanne Mashari

Lead Member for Highways and Transportation – Cllr Jim Moher

Lead Member for Housing – Cllr Margaret McLennan

Lead Member for Regeneration and Major Projects – Cllr George Crane

Cllr Bobby Thomas will be the new Mayor of Brent. Cllr Kana Naheerathan

I would like to thank the cabinet colleagues that have served in the past for their extreme hard work and dedication and look forward to working with my new executive colleagues.

In addition, Brent Council will be officially signing the Time to Change pledge which aims to fight against mental health discrimination.

 

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My 2013/14 Budget speech at Full Council

I didn’t really plan a speech but contributions from the Tories and Lib Dems got me inspired to stand up at the Budget setting meeting on Monday. Here is what I said;

“in 2013, the horizon is very different for disabled people.

Cllr Kansagra [Leader of the Brent Conservative Party] said in his speech that vulnerable people are protected in changes made by Government….. but that’s as true as a Lib Dem Focus leaflet I received a couple of weeks ago that said that David Clues was my ‘local’ Councillor when he’s living in Brighton.

What about Disability Living Allowance, where by the Government’s own admission, 200,000 will lose out on their disability benefits?

By the Government’s own admission, thousands will lose out on Carer’s Allowance because of the way that benefits interact with eachother.

This Budget supports carers with the introduction of a new Carer’s Hub. Mr Mayor, there are 23,000 Carers in Brent. People providing care to their loved ones in ways that we cannot even imagine. We will create a single access point for carers in Brent.

What about Employment Support Allowance? Disabled people who have worked all their lives and find themselves in adversity will have their benefits slashed if they have not found a job in 12 months

And what about the Bedroom Tax? Couples where one individual has to sleep in a hospital bed and the couple cannot share a room will be penalised for having an “extra” bedroom.

This Budget continues to offer hope and support to the Voluntary Sector – to the Brent CAB, who will often be the first point of call for Brent people affected by these changes.

Mr Mayor, Labour is the Party that offers hope to people in Brent at a time when examples are taken out of context and are out of the norm and are being used to soften the public mood for benefit changes that are damaging the lives of disabled people.

Mr Mayor, given the Lib Dem and Tory record in Government, I dread to think what they would do to services valued by the most vulnerable if god forbid the Lib Dems & Tories had control at this Town Hall again – and it’s with this I end my statement and support this Budget and it’s amendments.”

London Needs Ken

Compare Ken’s response to the 7/7 bombings to the Boris response to the London riots.

London needs a serious Mayor for serious times who can provide leadership. Not Boris, who is too preoccupied with his main job as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and has no time to be an effective Mayor for London – and does not care enough to cut his luxury holiday short to fulfil his duty as Mayor of London to provide assurance to the City after major events such as the riots last summer.

Vote Ken Livingstone for a real leader for London!

More Jubilee line misery this weekend

London - Moving Tube London - 550d
(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

More incompetence from the Mayor of London yet again, failing to deliver for Dudden Hill residents who continue to be deprived of a weekend tube service. This is addition to the troubles that commuters faced this morning when the line was part suspended.

I recall a conversation I had on the doorstep with one of my residents who lives on Aberdeen Road who said that she had factored into her life that she doesn’t have a weekend tube service.

We were told that we would have no more weekend closures on the Jubilee Line. With the line not operating between Willesden Green and Stanmore this weekend, this promise has failed to materialise. Boris Johnson has lost his grip on the issue and it’s time that we had a Mayor that truly cares about our transport system.

That is why it is important that Ken Livingstone is elected as the Mayor of London on May 3rd as he is an individual that studies the detail, and takes a hands on approach to the Mayoral office rather than being one that poses for press and photo opportunities.

Boris rejects Brent regeneration bid

Ealing Road Bazaar
Ealing Road, Wembley (Image by Route79 via Flickr)

At a Council meeting last November the Coalition parties made much of the Mayor of London’s Outer London Regeneration Fund so it comes as some surprise to see that both of Brent Council’s bids have been denied. Brent’s Lead Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr George Crane has expressed his disbelief that the Mayor has chosen to ignore the needs of Outer London’s most diverse borough.

Brent put in a bid for 1.65 million to continue the successful work started in Willesden High Road in an earlier bid agreed last year. The bid would have helped transform Willesden Green High Road by renting some empty shop units on a long-term basis. These would be used by emerging businesses to help employment and skills of local people. The other part of the bid was to improve the area around the Willesden Green Library centre and make it a focal point to showcase local creative talent.  (For more info on Willesden project see http://willesdenwindows.com )

The second bid was for 1.8 million for Ealing Road between Wembley Central and Alperton. The programme was designed to promote Ealing Road to deliver physical, economic social and cultural benefits to Ealing Road, Wembley and Brent.

Ealing Road is already attracting high visitor numbers from around London and beyond with its unique style of Indian shopping experience.

Cllr Crane said

”All our neighbouring Boroughs have received money and it is difficult to understand why Brent has been singled out to have both projects rejected..

I will be asking Navin Shah, Brent’s London Assembly Member to raise this with Mayor Johnson and ask him to reconsider both Brent’s bids.”  

Cllr Hirani funds two alley-gating schemes in Neasden

It seems as though these two alley-gating schemes will be the last for the forseeable future as good Council staff who worked in this area are no longer working for Brent Council. The two schemes funded were behind the Subway fast food store and behind the Santander Bank (was tempted to write Abbey National!) by Birse Crescent.

Both of these had been requested by the local residents living in flats above these shops and by local businesses but had limited success. One scheme had gone as far as forming a committee to manage the upkeep of the gates, only to be denied at the final hurdle.

Street drinking has gotten worse in behind these alleyways. This can be really intimidating,especially for people who live in the flats above these shops.

I regularly walk the alleyways with the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team who recommended that gates in these alleyways would be ideal. They had witnessed dumped rubbish, and even human excrement. One member had tripped on a greasy liquid and seen a rat of enormous size. Something had to be done.

I was pleased that I was able to take advantage of the final alleygating schemes for Dudden Hill ward and it was a real struggle to achieve this. I was able to successfully argue that proceedings had gone so far that it would be barmy to refuse installation of these gates now.

The gates have already been installed and the anti-social behaviour that occured in these alley areas are no more.

Aslam Choudry is the new Mayor of Brent

My co-Councillor in Dudden Hill Ward, Cllr Aslam Choudry is the new Mayor of Brent. He is a great guy and I’m sure he will have a very successful year serving as the Mayor of Brent.

His two chosen charities that he will be fundraising for over the year are the Central Mosque of Brent and Brent Mind.

Outgoing Mayor of Brent, Cllr Harbhajan Singh raised £30,000 for his three chosen charities, Asian People’s Disability Alliance, St Luke’s Hospice and Shooting Stars.

The over-running Jubilee Line upgrade should be complete at Easter but Mayor Boris Johnson lost his grip on the issue

Dollis Hill Tube Station
Image by Ben.Harper via Flickr

The latest update on works to the Jubilee line is that the over running works should be completed by Easter.

The Mayor Boris Johnson has totally failed Dudden Hill residents on this issue. I was out knocking on doors in my ward last week and asked a resident who lives close to Dollis Hill tube station what she thought about the tube service on weekends. Her response saddened me.

She said, “I don’t consider it an issue. It’s just something that I’ve factored into my life. We don’t have a tube service on weekends.”

It shouldn’t have to be like this, I thought. What’s even worse is when the service is running during the week there are delays, often at crucial times when people are just trying to get to work and earn a living. Furthermore we get unprecedented hikes in tube fares to go with this lack of weekend service and delays.

This is unacceptable. The time for Boris to get a grip on this issue has passed; he has already lost it.

News of the Week: Eleven weblinks from the week just gone, recommended by me

  1. Four in 10 Lib Dem voters would not vote for party again.
  2. Con Dem Government welcome former banker Stephen Green to the Government. Tom Watson MP tweets Blimey. When Mr Osborne said he’d take on the bankers, I didn’t know it meant he’d make them ministers.
  3. Charity Shelter claim that almost 54,000 children already living below poverty line will be pushed even further down by housing benefit changes.
  4. The Coalition Government distance itself from a pledge made by the previous Labour government to abolish hospital car park charges in England.
  5. The head of the Police Federation today said “a touch of ideology” and bad advice to government from thinktanks had left the police service facing cuts that could leave up to 40,000 officers out of a job.
  6. London Mayor Boris Johnson concerned that Con Dem immigration cap policy will affect London’s economy.
  7. London Assembly member Jennette Arnold highlights Mayor Boris Johnson’s take on the ConDem cuts and recommends that Boris Johnson should vote for Labour.
  8. Odds shorten on Ken Livingstone winning the London Mayoralty in 2012 (Not that I’d want to promote gambling!).
  9. Boris’ Best Bits. As the Mayor of London announced his intention to run as the Tory candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral elections, Left Foot Forward looks back on Boris’ best bits.
  10. Theresa May forced to answer questions over phone-hacking claims.
  11. Lib Dem Vince Cable to press ahead with the sale / privatisation of Royal Mail

Tube Strike hits London, but what is our Mayor doing about it?

Huge queues outside bus stops, lots of road traffic; both cars and bikes, and London losing out on £50 million today according to the Daily Mail.

So why the strike?

Well, the strikes are over 800 jobs that are proposed to be axed… yes 800!!!

An estimated 90% of stations affected by the staff reductions will be in outer London. The controversy is that the now Mayor Boris Johnson actively campaigned on a ticket to save jobs at ticket offices, quite deceivingly, as it was never Ken’s intention to leave stations that were under TfL control totally unmanned.

Ken Livingstone highlighted a campaign we championed in Brent in the Harrow Times to highlight the importance of staff at tube stations:

1996 stock used on Jubilee Line by London Unde...
WikiImage

He said, “we had a huge campaign about four years ago because a banker was stabbed to death as he left Kensal Rise station, which was unmanned.

“I gave a commitment that all the stations that came under the control of TfL would have staff in them.

“Nobody wants to come out of the station at 11pm seeing that there’s no one on the platform and no one on the barrier.”

My electoral ward includes two major underground stations on the Jubilee Line (Neasden and Dollis Hill) and borders another (Willesden Green). Leaving these stations unmanned will be an invitation to criminals. Presence prevents crime.

So what has been the Mayor Boris Johnson’s approach?

In the lead up to the strikes, HE DIDN’T EVEN MET THE UNION LEADERS TO NEGOTIATE!!!!!

This is the most barmy part of it all. During the 2008 London Mayoral election campaign, Boris said that he would move to negotiate a no strike deal with the Unions. Yesterday, it emerged that in what is set to be a disruptive ordeal for many Londoners, that he hasn’t even intervened personally to try and strive for a resolution. All we’ve seen from him is some media interviews.

London needs a Mayor that’s about action in this strained economic climate. Not one that leaves the work to his officers. After all, the Mayor of London is a serious role, not a ceremonial one.