I recently received this excellent letter from a resident concerned about proposed cuts to the London Fire Brigade. This Saturday (April 20), I will join dozens of volunteers in taking its message to people in the affected neighbourhoods of Battersea.
I read today a letter in the Wandsworth Guardian by
Richard Tracey AM, the letter implied that Wandsworth was would not be
affected by the planned cuts to London Fire Brigade. The area of North
Wandsworth where I live will be greatly affected by these planned
Any fires in the north of the borough are regularly attended by
fire appliances that are due to be cut under LSP5. Battersea Fire
Station only has one firefighting appliance left since the cuts in the
early 1990s. This one fire engine depends wholly on back-up from
Chelsea, Clapham and Westminster Fire Stations. Clapham often send all
three of their appliances across into Battersea, as do Chelsea and
Westminster. Clapham and Westminster are due to close and Chelsea
downgraded to one fire engine as part of LSP5.
There have been many fires in North Wandsworth, some recently where
these fire engines have been totally relied on for quintessential back-
up, sometimes meaning the difference between life and death at certain
incidents. So I hardly think any scaremongering is baseless.
A recent fire in my street in the heart of Battersea had to have five fire
appliances attend, to deal with it speedily and safely, of those five
appliances, four are due to be cut. This type of incident in this area
is not a rare occurrence, but happens with frightening regularity.
My recent blog post Analysis: ‘Wandsworth fixes rents by elections not economics’ led to quite a lot of interest from the press. Not all of the coverage was balanced, but it has helped to draw attention to an important issue:
Private Eye, March 22 Continue reading
New research shows Wandsworth sets rents at less than half the government guideline in the year before local elections and more than double the guideline in the first year after local elections.
This shocking finding came from analysis I commissioned of rent data from the past 20 years – and follows the council’s decision to increase rents by 2.7% in 2013/14. Wandsworth council already charges the highest rents in Britain and by the end of this year benefit cuts will seriously affect many families in social housing.
Data reveals that year before an election Wandsworth charges 44% of the government’s suggested guideline rent, on average; but the year after each election rents leap by 246% of the guideline.
The figures can be revealed after a political row in the most recent Town Hall Housing Committee. At the January 23 meeting, Labour councillor Tony Belton produced a list of rent increases for the past 20 years and stated that rents were clearly set to match political priorities, not financial ones. Continue reading
This week I visited Israel and Palestine on a trip organised by Labour2Palestine. The tweets I sent give a useful flavour of this fascinating journey and are grouped below.
Homeless in Anata: Salim shows recently received demolition orders
“Get out of your house, you have 15 minutes.” Salim is describing the process of home demolition in the occupied West Bank.
He is something of an expert: his house in Anata has been demolished six times since 1998. Each time, he rebuilds it as a “political act of resistance”.
Anata is home to 25,000 Palestinians (and is the biblical home of the prophet Jeremiah); it is less than four kilometres from the Old City of Jerusalem.
As we walk around Fidhdat Square, part of a small neighbourhood separated from the rest of Anata by the Separation Barrier, Salim points out empty houses, one without a roof. Continue reading
Simon outside one of the less fortunate shops in Beeston
It would have escaped your notice at the time, but you’ve probably been to Beeston, writes Matt Beestonia. If you’ve ever taken a train up North from St Pancras you would have – albeit briefly – stopped in Beeston before chugging down the track onto Nottingham a couple of miles away.
It’s doubtful that you noticed anything special – and from the train window, you’d be right. But if you were to alight and make your way north into the centre of town, you’d see that we were rather different than your usual suburban town. Continue reading
Latchmere’s Labour councillors are proud of their achievements since 2010 and are determined to build on this work.
Tony, Wendy and Simon are putting themselves forward to take on the Tories at the 2014 elections and continue their service on Wandsworth council.
The final decision will rest with local Labour members and with the voters of Wandsworth – and Latchmere’s Labour councillors are keen to finish the job of saving York Gardens Library, helping to guide the £100m estate regeneration and growing the number of local community gardens. Continue reading