Tory Government Cuts Close Police Stations

The Hillingdon Labour Group is completely and utterly dismayed at the prospect of the closure and sale of all but one of the Police stations in Hillingdon.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been warning of the consequences of the continual cuts in Police funding from the Government / Home Office, who provide 75.2% of the funding for the Metropolitan Police Service.

The cut in central government funding has now led to proposals for each of London’s 32 boroughs to only have one Police station open, with any other Police stations closed and then sold off.  This means that within the whole of Greater London there will only be 32 Police stations.  There is also a plan to reduce the number of police officers and to move their operational control from being borough based to a tri-borough command.  Hillingdon is set to be part of a three-borough command with Hounslow and Ealing.

The Conservative administration in Hillingdon are being somewhat economical with the truth by accusing the Labour Mayor for this situation.  However, the whole issue has been created by the swathing cuts by the Conservative government.

After taking account of specific Government grants the planned MOPAC (Mayors Office for Police & Crime) spend in 2017/18 is £2,503.6 million. Of this the Mayor has allocated £29.6m of retained business rates and the allocation of the council tax precept in the sum of £592m, which for a Band D property in London is on average £206.13 p.a. Home Office general grant funding was £1,882.1m. The Mayor funds 24.8% of the net cost of the Met, with Home Office/Government funding 75.2%

On 19th July 2017 the Mayor of London gave a stark warning on the consequences of further government funding cuts, an extract from the Mayors press release states: –

“Sustained real-terms Government cuts have left the Mayor and the Met no choice. Since 2010, more than £600m of savings have already been made. Front counters have closed, buildings have been sold, and 2,800 PCSOs and police staff posts have been lost. A further £400m of savings are needed by 2021 because the flat budget settlement provided by the Government fails to take any account of the increasing demand or inflationary pressure on policing.”

The full Press release from the Mayor can be found at the following link: –

https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-calls-for-urgent-government-action

Cllr Peter Curling, The Leader of Hillingdon Labour group, said: –

“We urge the government to shake their magic money tree to find the money needed to keep our Police stations open and keep our residents safe.  We also urge the Hillingdon Conservatives to join us in supporting the Mayor’s call for the government to see sense and abandon their funding formula that is leading to even more cuts, closures and sell offs.”

Cllr Curling added: –

“It is particularly disappointing to see the local Conservatives trying to use this issue for petty party-political point scoring, rather than working together to ensure our residents are kept safe.”

Hillingdon Labour Group Statement on Heathrow Expansion

no 3rd runwayHillingdon Labour Group is completely and utterly opposed to a third runway at Heathrow airport.

At the full council meeting on 8 th September 2016, the Leader of the council moved a motion reaffirming the council’s opposition to a 3 rd runway, but the motion also advocated that a new runway should be built at Gatwick.

The Hillingdon Labour group do not believe that the London Borough of Hillingdon has any right to make such a decision on Gatwick, or, have the right to advocate that another community has a runway imposed on them. The various anti-expansion campaigning groups over the last decade and more, have always respected each other’s campaigns and that mutual respect remains to be the approach that the Hillingdon Labour group would like to see taken.

The Hillingdon Labour Group could therefore not vote in favour of such a motion, but we did move an amendment, that deleted all references to Gatwick and replaced them with a paragraph relating to the environmental impact that a 3 rd runway would have to Hillingdon residents. We moved this amendment to strengthen the motion and to ensure that the focus of the London Borough of Hillingdon was on the protection of its residents and its communities.

The Labour group amendment was rejected by the controlling Conservative group, so the Labour group could not vote on a motion that advocated an expansion of Gatwick airport, we therefore abstained on the vote.

The latest news in the saga of the 3 rd runway has uncovered further significant questions concerning the environmental impact that a 3 rd runway would have. This would seem to confirm that the Hillingdon Labour group was right to try and amend the Council’s motion to include the environmental impact, rather than advocate that another area should suffer such negative impacts.

The Hillingdon Labour group will continue its unequivocal support for the campaign against Heathrow expansion and we will continue to support the Conservative administration in the fight against Heathrow expansion, but we cannot support Hillingdon’s Conservative administration in their decision to advocate the expansion of Gatwick Airport.

………… END ………..

Notes to editors:-

Conservative Group Motion:-

“That this Council notes that the Prime Minister will be chairing the Cabinet Committee on Heathrow and calls upon her and the Government to bring a swift end to the blight of Hillingdon residents living with the constant threat of losing their homes and communities by making a decision on the Airport Commission report as soon as Parliament returns after the summer recess.

Council reaffirms its long standing opposition to Heathrow Airport expansion and its commitment to use all the resources at its disposal to put our residents first and resist any proposal that brings harm to our community.

Council further notes that a second runway at Gatwick Airport will deliver the UK the same number of passengers, the same number of long haul routes, better UK and regional connections and the economic boost the UK needs, all at a dramatically lower environmental impact, at less than half the cost of Heathrow and with no public subsidy.

Council, therefore, believes that Gatwick is the most logical airport for increased runway capacity, supports the ‘Gatwick Obviously’ campaign and urges the Government to choose Gatwick as the best option for South East Airport expansion in the long term interests of London and the UK as a whole.”

Labour Group Amendment:-

Delete last two paragraphs of the motion and replace with

“Hillingdon is experiencing increasing pollution harmful to health, particularly around Heathrow, which is affecting thousands of Hillingdon residents with consequent health and financial costs. Instead of adding to this already unacceptable damage to the environment, communities and human health the Council calls on the Prime Minister and Cabinet Committee on Heathrow to support Hillingdon in trying to combat these problems and resist proposals for Heathrow expansion.”

 

Hillingdon Labour Group Statement on Airport Commission Report

The Hillinno 3rd runwaygdon Labour group are extremely disappointed with the Airport Commission’s recommendation that a 3rd runway should be built at Heathrow.

There are so many reasons why further expansion of Heathrow is totally unacceptable, including the severe environmental impact that a 3rd runway would have.  The Heathrow area is already one of the biggest air quality black spots in Europe, with air pollution in Hillingdon being double the European legal limit.  The rate of Asthma and other respiratory conditions is rising in the areas surrounding the airport, especially amongst children.  The noise impact on areas, as of yet, unaffected by noise pollution will also be devastating, as will the loss of nearly a thousand homes.

Hillingdon Labour group recognises the important part that Heathrow airport plays in terms of both the national and local economy, but we feel that the airport is big enough and the sky over West London is full enough.  That is why we believe that the answer is to have a Better Heathrow, not a Bigger Heathrow, and as there are already seven runways serving London & the South East, we feel better use of all seven London runways and improved transport links between them is the answer.

We believe that the Six London airports (Heathrow, Luton, Stanstead, Southend, Gatwick and London City) should work in co-operation, so that the seven runways could be utilised in the national interest, rather than in their own vested commercial interests. Both Luton and Stanstead currently run at around 50% capacity, meaning that in capacity terms there is the equivalent of at least one completely unused runway, so why does London need an 8th runway?

Hillingdon Labour group therefore continues its commitment to oppose the 3rd runway and fight for our residents to have an improved environment with cleaner air to breath.  The campaign for a Better Heathrow, Not a Bigger Heathrow continues.

Disabled Access Campaign

access-for-all-artworkI am really pleased to say that my motion to full council, in support of the campaign by Natasha Baker and Conrad Tokarcyzk to make Hillingdon’s Tube and railway stations accessible to disabled people within five years was givien unanimous support.

The motion, and now the resolution of the full council is:-

This council notes the tremendous work of Freeman Natasha Baker and local resident Conrad Tokarczyk in highlighting the problem of disabled access to the borough’s stations through their campaign to make all Hillingdon stations step free within 5 years.

Council further notes that the campaign to set up a public fund to which companies, councils and individuals can contribute, and which would then be spent on installing step free access at stations across London, has recently gained the support of all three of the borough’s MPs.

Council therefore requests that the Cabinet look into how the London Borough of Hillingdon can support this campaign

Read more about this campaign and add your name to the petition Here

Sign The Petition

Time For Change

Tories Havent you had enoughThe local elections are now only three weeks away and after 16 years of Tory control, you may well feel that its time for change.

Under the Tory Administration your council has become a mini dictatorship.  Although the Council consists of 65 elected councillors, all decisions are taken by the 7 cabinet members. They are all Conservative.  The only scrutiny of this small cabal is by the Conservative dominated Executive Scrutiny Committee, which serves to rubber stamp rather than scrutinise Cabinet decisions.

The Tories would have you believe that Hillingdon is one of the best run councils in the country; however their record demonstrates the opposite.  Many of their policies have contributed to the increasing divide between the north and the south of our borough.

These policies Include; outsourcing various council service to private companies, spending millions of pounds on consultants, closing day care centres for the disabled, abolishing the band D housing waiting list, increasing the number of families in bed & breakfast accommodation, reducing the security of council house tenancies, amending planning policies to reduce the protection of green belt land, selling off various community assets & land to property developers, building on green belt land at Botwell Common / Lake Farm Country Park, and cutting housing maintenance resulting in a huge backlog of empty properties.

However they have made sure that those 7 key decision makers are well rewarded with increased councillor’s allowances.  Hillingdon’s Leader and Cabinet are the highest paid local (part-time) politicians in London.  In terms of allowances they are certainly at the top of the premier league.

So are you getting premiership performance from your highly paid Tory Cabinet?

Well, independent agencies continue to highlight deficiencies with the current Tory administration.

Before it was abolished, the independent audit commission consistently judged Hillingdon’s performance as being sub-standard and only achieving 2 stars out of a maximum of 4 stars.  The Leader of the Council brushed this off by saying that he “Couldn’t Give a Monkey’s” about this poor performance.

More recently the Ofsted inspection of Hillingdon’s Children’s Services resulted in an overall judgement of “Requires Improvement”.  Again the Leader of The Council has brushed this off in his usual arrogant style.

Hillingdon Labour believes that this is simply not good enough and that the residents deserve better.  After 16 years of Tory control we think it’s Time for Change, Don’t You?

Cllr Peter Curling
Leader of The Labour Group
London Borough of Hillingdon

Its All a Load of Rubbish !

Rubbish

Rubbish and fly-tipping seems to be an ever increasing problem around the borough.  In Hayes town and the surrounding areas my ward colleagues and I (in Botwell and Townfield) seem to fight a daily battle, reporting rubbish and various piles of fly-tipping, but no sooner its cleared away its replaced with more.

I have also spoken to a number of local street champions who all express the same frustration in reporting rubbish and fly-tipping and are then faced with seeing more piles of rubbish rather than less.  We also seem to have an ever increasing number of disused mattresses being dumped on our streets.

The uncontrolled epidemic of rubbish and fly-tipping is a real and ever increasing problem across the borough and it is a very common subject that residents are raising with us.  It really brings the whole borough down and makes some of our streets look and feel dirty and unsafe.  This was especially the case over the Christmas holidays when some parts of the borough had to wait two weeks for their rubbish to be collected.

I have to say that the council officers and staff responsible for keeping our streets clean are working really hard to ensure that rubbish is cleared away as soon as possible after it has been reported, and I would like to put on record my thanks to them for doing what they can, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, but unfortunately what is lacking is some sort of coherent strategy to deal with the problem and prevent it from happening, rather than the continual fire-fighting of the problem.

A certain amount of political will and priorities need to be given to this issue to ensure that the council officers and staff have a clear direction and are provided with the appropriate resources to tackle the fly-tipping epidemic and to keep it under control.  Over the next few weeks the Conservative administration will no doubt claim to be “Putting Residents First” and keeping our streets clean, however the reality of the situation suggests the opposite.

For the avoidance of doubt, I should also mention that an incoming Labour administration, after the local elections in May, would ensure that the weekly refuse & recycling collections are maintained and improved.  We would also make sure that this is truly a weekly collection throughout the whole year.

The Tory Housing Crisis

One of the biggest prtory housing crisisoblems facing the borough is the increasing housing crisis caused by the policies of the coalition government and the draconian housing strategy of Hillingdon’s Tory controlled council. 

It is a very worrying fact that the number of rough sleepers in Hillingdon has grown substantially and at a much faster rate than any other London Borough with a rise of over 700% since 2010.

The Tory led coalition government has cut housing benefits and introduced the bedroom tax but have failed to do anything to curb the excesses of private landlords who have racked up rent levels way beyond those on low or even moderate incomes.  Private sector rents are now rising at a rate of 10% per year.

Under David Cameron’s government, home building has fallen to its lowest level since 1924 and London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has missed all of his targets and sits on large areas of land within the Greater London area which could be utilised to provide homes for the ever increasing number of homeless people.

I would also add here that despite rumours currently being spread by the leader of the council, Hillingdon Labour group have no plans to build housing on Green belt land.  Indeed we have strongly opposed his policy of building on the green belt as he has done at Botwell Common / Lake Farm.

Hillingdon’s Tory administration has also contributed to the housing crisis by implementing a new housing strategy that has effectively discharged the council’s housing duty to the private sector making it virtually impossible for anyone on a low income to access truly affordable rented accommodation.

Even though we now have an epidemic of rough sleepers in the borough and an ever increasing number of “Beds in Sheds”, not to mention the huge rise in the number of people being housed in bed and breakfast accommodation (at a huge cost to the council tax payer), the Tories are still in denial that it is their policies at a national, regional and local level that is causing it.

In the 1960’s notorious private landlord Peter Rachman was accused of driving Londoners from their rented homes for his financial benefit. Rachmanism, as it became known, was once defeated by the policies of Labour and Conservative governments of the past but this Tory government, Tory Mayor and Tory council are doing all they can to promote it.

Cllr Peter Curling
Leader of The Labour Group
London Borough of Hillingdon