Labour Blair Gaddafi Collusion

Shocking to read that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government colluded with the Colonel Gaddafi government.

The Guardian reports that Libyan Intelligence agents were allowed to operate in the UK. That a number of exchanges took place and close working. That rendition and torture resulted.

The people who suffered this are suing UK government departments – MI5/6, Home and Foreign Offices. An attempt to have the case thrown out failed on Thursday.

Truly shocking that a UK government could stoop so low.


Dulwich Council Housing Forum Chairs Annual Report

At the AGM of the Dulwich Area Housing Forum – the forum for council tenants and leaseholders – Bill Newman gave his chairs annual report where he thanked delegates and council officers and then spoke about council housing…

When major works are carried out to our homes we have endured a project that should be making our homes “Warm, Dry and Safe” but it’s not. We still have homes without insulated walls which are cold and damp resulting in the growth of mould. Condensation arising from badly fitted double glazing. Residents are being told that in a lot of cases that this is due “life style issues”.

We keep being told the repair service will be improved. We find it’s not. Mears now have has the contract to carry out their repairs to our homes for over two year’s Again we hearing they are having another “restructure” to improve their service to us, many residents are finding that they have to re-book appointments. Reasons being given of that the contractors were unable to get access, or that they are delayed, or they do not have the right materials or the job. 

We have been promised an improved service to the communal repairs, the council employing new staff to manage these repairs. “Estate action days” are now used to complete some of the working which should have been done on normal day to day level.

The call centre was brought back “in house” last tear with again promises of an improved services to the residents. As we see from theirs stats it has not, We hear that by bringing it back ”in house” that the council have saved over 3 million pounds. Would it not have been better to use some of the savings to improve the service we receive. The managers at the call centres say they are now receiving a larger amount of calls., which is most likely due to the fact that this is the main way many residents can contact the council. If residents are lucky to be near one the one stop shops they find they have to wait or be given as appointment to have the questions answers. Continue reading

Chaotic Southwark Highway Renewals

Southwark Labour have just confirmed what roads and pavements they will renew over the next three financial years. It’s great they plan to spend more over the next three years but to fund this they plan to drastically reduce budgets in future years. Topically this remind me of GReek government finances.

But the decision has many duplications. For example they plan to renew 10% of footways on Dovercourt Road this coming financial year (FY) but then renew 100% of the footways in FY 17_18! Similar duplications for Aysgarth Road, Beauval Road, Casino Avenue, Copleston Road, Danecroft Road, Elmwood Road, Playfield Crescent, Wyneham Road.My favourite is replacing 75% of Tell Grove footwards in FY 2016/17 & then another 75% in FY 2017/18.

Grove Vale is called Grove Lane, some streets listed as in Dulwich are in SE1.

You could not make this up.

Perhaps their is a simple explanation. Eitherway do take a look at the currently signed off plans for road and pavement renewals in Southwark and those specific to the Dulwich area: Highway renewals

Needless to say I’veasked for the decisionto be repeated – in the Dulwich area alone we’ve spotted £147,000 of duplications. So for the whole of Southwark the errors are likely to be around £1M. Ouch!

Labour Higher Energy Prices

In 2013 Labour promised to freeze energy prices for 20 months if they win the 2015 general election.

As feared when this pledge was made – energy companies would de risk Labour winning by ensuring higher prices before the election to buffer them from this proposal.

With the dramatic fall in wholesale energy prices only some has been passed onto consumers. Npower and others have stated that they would have decreased prices by more than the 5.1% they have reduced prices by IF it wasn’t for Labours pledge. Power are behaving perfectly rationally to de risk their business from the risk Labour policies are causing them.

And it’s the consumers who are now paying (roughly £140/year) for this daft Labour policy.

Whoever you are you probably can save money by shopping around – Ofcom can help.

NB. For transparency I’m with Good Energy.


Healthy Eating Tax

Southwark Council have just added 20% to the costs of fruit and veg market stalls across Southwark.

They say the costs of disposing of fruit and veg stalls have risen by 20%. The stall holders say business is down which would means less waste being generated.

Eitherway, raising the costs of health fruit and veg will mean prices go up which will mean less is bought from market stalls providing health fruit and veg. And this at a time when we have an obesity crisis.

Taxing healthy eating just does not make sense. As the stall holders ay – ‘it’s bananas!’

Unemployment plunges in DaWN

In the three months to November, the number of people out of work in the UK fell by 58,000 to 1.91m – its lowest level for more than six years. And for our bit of London – Dulwich & West Norwood it fell by from 3,706 or 5.5% and is down to 3.5% of economically active adults. But that’s still 2,428 people without work that want jobs.

So locally we have remarkably lower unemployment than the UK rate which now stands at 5.8 per cent of the adult working population, as per Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Today’s larger than expected fall in unemployment is showing that our jobs rich recovery remains on track. We’re fortunately bucking the European trend with strong growth and record job creation. And with earnings outstripping inflation, the benefits of the recovery are starting to flow into people’s pockets.

What is worrying is if we have a new UK government that radically changes policy – whether a lurch to the right with a single party Conservative administration focused on cuts, or a lurch to the left from a single party Labour government that would plunge Britain further into debt.

But even with a record share of the UK working age population being in work, and that we’re now seeing above inflation pay increases, more needs to be done. Youth unemployment remains too high. Even higher record number of apprenticeships are needed – if you own or run a business could you employ more apprentices to help your business grow.

NHS in 2020

NHS England CEO Simon Stevens recently produced his five year ‘Forward View’. It says that the NHS needs an extra £8 billion every year above current planned budgets by 2020.

I’m chuffed that Liberal Democrats have signed up to making this happen  if in government. The NHS is a vital national institution and remarkably effective. It isn’t perfect but considering the wild swings in its structure and how it is run with every new government it has proven remarkably resilient. What an amazing dedicated workforce.

But the budget challenges of an ageing population, huge population growth and costs of new treatments and drugs mean the NHS needs sufficient stability to become more efficient and the promise of sufficient money to make long terms plans.

So the Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb has written to his Tory and Labour counterparts asking them to also confirm they will commit to providing the £8 billion extra funding needed.

With cross party support the NHS could flourish. Without cross party support for this extra £8 billion of funding NHS managers won’t have the certainty they need to ensure the system does more than just barely survive.

New Dulwich Hospital Plans

Today Dulwich councillors were sent confirmation that new health facilities will be constructed on the Dulwich Hospital Site. The new health centre will be a new build and initially house the existing facilities provided at the Dulwich Hospital with the capacity to deliver more.

After 22 years I’m chuffed that a coalition government involving Lib Dems finally have decided what to do with this site and the re-provision of more health services. Hooray. Just the boring details of making it happen!

Dulwich HospitalWhen Cllr Rosie Shimell, Jonathan Mitchell and I were elected in 2010 we made it one of our priorities to get things moving on the Dulwich Hospital. We ran a survey of over 25,000 local residents, street stalls, knocking on local residents door to find out what people think and wanted. This built on the sterling work Jonathan had done in helping to stop the things just being closed and sold.

15-01-16 Brand new health centre to be built in Dulwich FINAL

The full details will be released 22 January to the CCG Governing Body. The announcement I’ve received makes it clear NHS Property are now looking to sell the surplus land i will do everything in my power to ensure all the spare land is used for educational purposes.

What is troubling is that any money from the sale of land will be used nationally and not ring fenced to Dulwich. The Dulwich Hospital was paid for by public subscription by former Dulwich residents. It speaks volumes that such monies donated to health causes and charities could be ultimately used outside the area the donors could reasonably ever have expected.



Voter Registration Nonsense

The last Labour government in response to flagrant voter fraud started the process to introduce individual voter registration. The new system

The old system one person in each household registered everyone in the house – I did for our family. But sometimes people added extra people. So the new system means everyone has to register themselves with their unique National Insurance number to ensure no cheating from bogus residents.

My own experience is buy to-let landlords being registered sometimes multiple times for properties they don’t live in. So the new system will stop this and ensure tenants can register to vote.

To smooth the transition to the new system the Department for Works and Pensions has assisted local councils by matching over 90% of all the previously registered voters with their National Insurance numbers and other have reregistered themselves. This has left under a million voters across the country no longer being registered to vote.

So if you’re no longer registered to vote it is quick and easy and for the first time ever via a new online system. It takes just a few minutes, your National Insurance number and date of birth

Lib Dems in government have also ensured another £10 million to smooth the introduction of this system that has been policy of all parties for a number of years.

School Admissions and Congestion

The biggest industry and businesses in the Dulwich area are in education. Not just the required schools for local children  – the 3 out of the 4 state secondary school or 11 infant and primary schools but also the private schools – 3 secondary schools and 5 infant and primary schools. (Kingsdale with it lottery admissions is no longer a genuinely local school).

These private schools and Kingsdale do attract many local children but they also have huge catchment areas. They support a private school bus network required to support such hugely expanded schools. And their expansion has been marked over the years.

I don’t blame the parents or children coming so far. We have great local schools but with so many now coming from so far it is contributing to serious local congestion.

The irony of those private schools being the core of a the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Route to School group while contributing so much to the congestion this worthy group wish to reduce won’t be lost on local residents. This group is now supporting measures to limit local junctions to try and reduce local congestion.

Southwark Council needs to find ways to reduce these attractive schools catchment areas and the congestion large catchment areas is causing.

I Southwark Council will use the planning process to impose new admissions conditions to further this aim.

This would be the route to minimising congestion and the harm and danger this causes local school pupils

Do you agree?