Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Protecting those we serve

With the coalition government's cuts, Brent council has to make savings of £104m over the next four years, which means budget cuts right across the board. Brent's Labour councillors however, are determined to cater for the needs of our community members. 

Worthy of note is that the Tory-Lib Dem cuts will hit the more deprived areas like Brent hardest. Speaking off which, almost £100 a head will be taken from everyone in the borough. Shameful indeed, considering more wealthy areas like West Oxfordshire will be better off. It is this ideological attack on Labour-run boroughs that feeds the relentless effort of Labour councillors to shield our constituents in every way we can, social standing irrespective.

From Kilburn to Barnhill, Queensbury to Stonebridge, we are out everyday door knocking, taking on residents' concerns and working tirelessly towards lessening the impact of this harsh reality on members of our wider community. Today I met a lady in Kilburn who told me she has never supported any political parties, but that life under this Conservative-Liberal Democrat government is much worse than anything she could have had nightmares about under a Labour one. Bitter-sweet but starkly telling of the amount of support our people need, support we are committed to providing.

Through the deep and muddy waters of the central government's Comprehensive Spending Review, we did protect Sure Start Centres, services for the elderly and vulnerable, advice centres and more. We will improve library services and accommodate the need for more school places, we have begun and will continue to regenerate the most deprived areas of the borough including South Kilburn. But most importantly, we are all in this together and thus shall stand united with all our residents in fighting this heavily imbalanced "deficit reduction strategy," we will protect those we serve.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Labour launches campaign to save NHS in London

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, John Healey MP and Ken Livingstone have launched a new campaign against the Conservative-led government’s cuts to the NHS in London. A new website: www.nhSOS.org hosts a petition and information about the campaign which is calling on David Cameron and Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson to keep their pre-election promises to protect the NHS.

Before the General Election David Cameron promised, "We will guarantee that health spending increases in real terms, in each year of the Parliament", "We will stop the top-down re-organisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care" and, "I will protect frontline services".

In his 2008 manifesto, Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson promised to, 'Support local health services by campaigning against closures and fighting to save local GP services.'

On 23rd February 2011 Boris Johnson was asked to ‘oppose the proposal to close the Accident and Emergency unit at King George Hospital in Redbridge?’ He refused saying, ‘At this point, I don't believe that the intervention which you are proposing would be appropriate.’

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary said,

“Before the election David Cameron and Boris Johnson made promises to protect the NHS. Now the Tories’ reckless top down re-organisation threatens the NHS in London and across the country.”

“The NHS is a top priority for Labour and we will campaign across the capital to protect vital health services from the damaging policies of this Tory-led government.”

Ken Livingstone said,

“Wherever I go in London I hear real concern about the future of health services in London, from King Georges Hospital in Redbridge to St Georges Hospital in Tooting.

'Over the coming weeks and months I will be supporting local campaigns against threats to health services across the capital and speaking up for the incredible contribution that the NHS makes to the lives of millions of Londoners.”

Friday, 18 March 2011

Will proposed National Health Service changes force Cameron to "moonwalk" again?

Can we expect our Prime Minister, David Cameron, to once again deliver his more and more rampant signature move over cringeworthy NHS proposals? And maybe round it off with a spin this time. Not that I will be holding my breath for the spin considering his last choreographer was barked out of office.

Cameron's strategy seems to be to tie a half-thought through idea to his ministers' tail bones, drive them to the market square and watch the bedlam that ensues from afar. As can be expected in a society of free and educated thinkers, such ideas are vehemently torn down prompting the premier to step in and withdraw them. It was seen with the proposal to sell off Britain's forests, again with the intended scrappage of the School Sport Patnerships, plans to cut housing benefit for those unemployed for over 12 months, and looks to be in the making for the poisoned chalice Andrew Lansley dangles before us under the guise of "NHS reform".

Decried by most who know Lansley's great gamble will lead to large chunks of the NHS being privatised with negative results, it is reminiscent of what happened when John Major's government sold off hospital cleaning to the lowest bidder, and hygiene standards in some hospitals descended into medieval grime. Fast forward to the present and we are still licking open wounds inflicted on us by the coalition's severe cuts, now local councils will again be forced to bear the brunt if the changes are passed. Social care bills will surge as hospitals offload patients into care homes, also putting GPs in control of local health budgets is serious cause for concern, let a doctor be a doctor I say.

Shunned like a plague from all angles of reason, how long till Cameron again does his "moonwalk"? New NHS whitepaper in hand.

Monday, 14 March 2011

South Kilburn Studios

With a warm welcome from the local community, South Kilburn Studios are now open and offering free office spaces and training to mostly Brent residents. Part of the South Kilburn regeneration drive, applications are now being taken from people prepared to train young people from the local area in return for free rent.

Sandwiched between affluent areas like Queen's Park and Westminster it is thought-provoking to know that South Kilburn has long lingered in the shadows of deprivation, but alas! Help is at hand in the form of Brent Council's drive to improve the area.

Please visit http://www.southkilburnstudios.org/ for more information.

Japan in crisis

My thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people who at this moment are still coming to terms with the aftermath of the second largest tsunami on record, condolences to the bereaved families.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Pickles' Shameful Pickle With Labour Councils

Yes you guessed it, Eric Pickles has again bullied his way into the headlines by making yet another attack on Labour-run councils, referring to their cuts as a "bleeding stump" strategy.  The communities secretary really does believe that in spite of massive cuts imposed by his government, frontline services can be saved if Labour councils share a few more paper clips with other boroughs and cut a few more senior staff.

It never fails to amaze the ease with which the words roll off his tongue, utmost impunity. Begging the question whether the man knows what is going on around him. Perhaps a town crier is needed to convey the message. For a start, advocating the termination of people's jobs should not be the easiest thing in the world to do and secondly, roughly 50,000 jobs have already been shed by councils nationwide, many of them management roles. Maybe Pickles was comfortably tucked away under his plush bed sheets when even his partners in crime, Liberal Democrat councillors, rose up in protest against the speed at which the central government levied its draconian cuts on us all.

His super-brilliantly infallible idea of boroughs sharing resources will only unleash more harm on frontline services, services Labour has protected and improved over the years. It requires not a ritual to Einstein to realise that if a police officer is made to stretch his legs further afield to cover a wider area without extra support, local bands of merry men are bound to toast such developments. Or if the workload of administrative staff goes up then chances are frontline workers will have to pick up the backlog.

Pickles needs to stand up to his bosses instead of being too quick to present their platter of ideological cuts and then accuse Labour councils of publicising them, that stopped washing long ago.