Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

You can't trust David Cameron on the NHS

New nursing figures out today show that there are 5890 fewer nurses now than when David Cameron came to office in May 2010. We’re facing a crisis in our A&Es, all while David Cameron hands six-figure pay-offs to managers with one hand, and P45s to nurses with the other. David Cameron cannot be trusted with the NHS. We’re committed to protecting it but need your help. Say you’re with us and let’s fight for our NHS together:

5 Numbers you need to know about Labour's Living Wage plan

Ed Miliband has announced plans to introduce Make Work Pay contracts which will help businesses raise wages for millions of low-paid workers - and help the next Labour government cut social security bills for the taxpayer. Here are five numbers you need to know about the plan: 1) 4,800,000 - number of people who work for less than the living wage. Millions of people aren't paid a living wage. Across Britain, millions of people work hard, put in a shift, and aren't paid enough to get by. In 2012 there were 4.8 million workers in the UK who were paid less than the prevailing living wage rate in their area, two-thirds of those people were women. For 39 of 40 months under David Cameron prices have risen faster than wages. Despite working hard, people are struggling to get by. 2) £3,230,000,000 - the cost of low pay to taxpayers. The government spends more on benefits for people in work than it does for unemployed people. Workers paid less than a living wage receive much needed social security support, and pay less in taxes because of their low pay - that's an annual bill of more than £3 billion. 3) 49p - the average saving to the taxpayer for every pound of pay rises for workers. If Labour wins the election in 2015, we'll launch a national campaign for firms to sign up as living wage employers. Make Work Pay contracts will mean that every company that moves to paying the living wage in the first year of a Labour government will help us cut the social security bill. For every extra pound employers pay to raise workers from the minimum wage to a living wage, the Treasury will save 49p on average in the form of lower social security payments and higher tax revenues. 4) £21,000 - the average tax rebate to employers who start paying the living wage from 2015. Firms which sign up to paying the living wage at the start of the parliament will benefit from a 12-month tax rebate of up to £1,000 –and an average of £445 – for every low paid worker who sees their pay rise to the living wage. On average, it is predicted firms who sign up will get a tax rebate of £21,000 each - and employees more motivated and productive, and less likely to leave to look for better opportunities. 5) £1,376 - the average payrise for workers struggling with the cost of living crisis. This plan is good for businesses who do the right thing, and it will help the next Labour government cut the social security bill. But it's also great news for workers. Under these new Make Work Pay contracts it is estimated that people will, on average, see a pay rise of £1,376.

Freezing your energy bill

Many have spoken to me in the last month in support of Ed Miliband's energy price promises. We have had very positive responses on the doorstep and on our local stall in East Finchley. See how much you could save with this calculator.

Diwali Message from Ed Miliband

"Diwali, the festival of light, commemorates the homecoming of Lord Rama. It reminds us how important it is not to lose hope and of how important it is to come together to build a stronger country, founded on our shared values. I would like to pay tribute to the Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities here in Britain for the great contrbition that you make to our communities, our economy and our way of life. Through these contributions we see the values which are also at the heart of the Labour Party: the value of community, the conviction that we can achieve more together than we do alone, and the belief that we must look after each other. This feeling of togetherness is expressed so well in the Sanskrit phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - the world is one family. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Labour Party to wish you and your families happy Diwali." Ed Miliband Leader of the Labour Party

Labour's Parking Pledge

Very pleased to share with you Labour's Parking pledges. Barnet’s Labour councillors are launching their package of parking pledges for their local election 2014 manifesto at 10am this Saturday 9 November on Mill Hill Broadway. The package of parking pledges that Labour will implement straight away if elected next year in May are: 1)Labour will give you 30 minutes free parking in our town centres. The Barnet Tories drove people out of the high streets with their new parking regime. We’ll help you back and support our traders with a 30 minute free parking period. 2)Labour will bring back cash parking. Labour will enable all current card only meters to take cash. 3)Labour will introduce an Oyster-style ‘Barnet Card’ to pay for parking. Pay-by-phone parking doesn’t work for everyone! We’ll develop the card service over time to offer residents discounts and widen it’s use. 4)Labour will consult residents and make parking enforcement fair. Unlike the Tories, we’ll ensure that parking arrangements work for local people. 5)Labour will give you free parking every weekend in December. Every year we have pressed the Council to give residents and shops a parking amnesty over Christmas. If elected, we’ll stop arguing about it with the Tories – we’ll just do it. 6)Labour will also scrap the free Councillors’ parking permits that the Conservatives awarded themselves. If you can’t park for free, no Councillor should be able to either.

Small Business Saturday

The Barnet Labour group sent a motion to Council yesterday to agree to "small business saturday" which provides free parking on 7th December to help businesses in the run up to Christmas. Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to show our support for small businesses in Barnet in this difficult economic climate."

Andrew Dismore challenges Johnson on regeneration

Andrew Dismore has challenged London Mayor Boris Johnson on his pathetic failure to stand up for residents on Barnet's regeneration schemes. Hundreds of affordable homes have been scrapped by the Tory administration, and andrew has challenged the Mayor is his total lack of action. read about it here:

82 % of crimes go unsolved in Barnet

Andrew Dismore reveals that 82% of crimes in Barnet go unsolved, an increase since Boris Johnson became mayor. Andrew said: “It is shocking that overall reported crime is down yet the number of unsolved crimes in Barnet is up to 82 per cent – the second highest in London after Lambeth. Boris talks big about reported crime going down, but so far he has ignored that the number of crimes actually solved on his watch has plummeted. Compared to the average in England and Wales, London is trailing on the number of crimes solved where we should be setting the gold standard. “Since May 2010, in Barnet the number of PCs has been reduced by 10 per cent and PCSOs by 50 per cent. Boris talks about getting more bobbies on the beat but the figures clearly show this is not happening. “This proves Boris can’t have his cake and eat it. If you cut the police budget by as much as the Government has then there will be repercussions. Victim satisfaction in London is lower than elsewhere in the UK and this is not acceptable. The Mayor must act now.”

Make Friends with a Book

I recieved this interesting communication from a new group operating in East Finchley: "Dear Big Local People I am writing to you to tell you about the exciting new group opening this Friday at the Ann Owens Centre. This reading group is for all ages and for anybody who wants to hear a good story read aloud and to share conversation in a friendly unpressurised environment. This reading group forms part of our Barnet wide Make Friends With A Book Project . And it is totally FREE!!! Please see the attached flier for more details or find out more about us as an organisation at Ruth and Yasmin look forward to seeing you at 10.30am this Friday if you can make it or any other Friday in the near future. Just drop in. If you would like to know more about our wider project or would like to get involved as a volunteer please contact me. Kind Regards Paul Paul Higgins Project Worker, Get Into Reading London Tel: 07985 718744"

Living Wage Week

I have been Sent the following communication from the GMB union regarding Living Wage Week: "SUPPORT LIVING WAGE WEEK 2014 GMB, along with our campaign partners, will be celebrating Living Wage week 2014 on 3rd - 9th November. In the week the new living wage rate is announced, we’ll be spreading the word on the successes of the campaign so far in lifting thousands out of in-work poverty, boosting local communities and improving service delivery. The living wage is hourly rate of pay, set independently and calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Up and down the country councils have decided to become living wage employers - so far 85 in England and Wales have implemented or committed to pay the Living Wage, along with all Scottish councils. The benefits of councils paying the living wage include: - Lifting council workers out of in-work poverty; - Boosting the local economy – council workers spend more than half of their earnings in the local community; - Improving staff retention and morale, meaning better services for residents and savings to the council as an employer. Because of these benefits, the living wage campaign has received cross party support, with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Mayor of London all endorsing it. It is also the subject of a major TUC campaign. The savings in recruitment and training costs, together with the other benefits, mean that the policy makes sense even in the difficult funding climate currently afflicting local government. As we prepare for the celebrations of Living Wage Week, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about the benefits, and ask whether you will consider championing the Living Wage in your authority. If you are supportive but would like more detail on the benefits to help convince your colleagues please get in touch, and if you’d like to protest against your authorities failure to implement the Living Wage GMB can help to promote this in the media. Equally if your authority has implemented or committed to implement the Living Wage and you want to add your voice to the supporters, again please do let us know. It’s GMB’s ambition for all workers to be paid a living wage. We’ve a long way to go but the success we’ve had so far in local authorities is a huge step forward. I look forward to hearing from you and working together to make Living Wage Week 2014 the best yet."