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Council administration enriched!

CllrsAt the annual council meeting on 24 May 2018, the Labour group running the council has announced the cabinet, cutting down one portfolio but retaining most of the previous portfolio holders.
bigpicParticularly good to see former mayor Councillor Krishna Suresh joining the cabinet to lead Community Cohesion & Crime.
Krishna Suresh under his stage name of “London Baba”, is an internationally known Tamil film actor and is well known for his passion for the community.
At the committee level a social justice practitioner Councillor Jeff Anderson got the chairmanship of very important Overview and Scrutiny Committee, internal watchdog for the council work.
jeff_400x400Jeff Anderson is committed to social justice and challenges unjust situations.
One of his famous tweet said:
“Anyone who has read the Tories pledges in Harrow will recognise the arrogance and the pretence that Harrow is somehow immune from the effects of austerity”.
Regarding the opposition, it would be interesting to find out their shadow team but it looks that they don’t take their council role seriously – for example, yet again they have bypassed their planning expert (Cllr Ashton) and have given two planning committee positions to the councillors with no known sense of planning.
Considering the Harrow characteristic and the housing situation, planning in Harrow is a matter of great importance to the residents, requiring both the administration and opposition to share planning knowledge and experience where available for best outcome.

 

Blackman plays the divisive ‘caste’ card!

bb4Despite the minister for women and equalities Penny Mordaunt previously agreeing to meet Harrow East MP Bob Blackman regarding the caste discrimination legislation, he still asked her to meet about the same at the Commons debate (Protected Characteristics: Caste – 17 May 2018) to propagate his divisive marker.
The parliamentary debate has led to a statutory requirement to include caste in the Equality Act itself as a separate aspect of race – Labour supported in 2013 for laws to outlaw caste discrimination – in 2013 a clause against caste discrimination was inserted into the Equality Act 2010.
The Tory government, seemingly under pressure from its UK financial supporters likely to be caught exercising ‘caste’ discrimination in employment, announced in 2016 that it would consult on the pending enactment of the clause on caste discrimination in the Equality Act 2010.
Mr Blackman (photo), well known and condemned for his divisive politics, has ‘championed’ caste being removed as a protected characteristic from the legislation, dismissing the caste system in the UK that gives rise to discriminatory practices in socio-religious and employment situations, as indicated by some court cases (i.e. upper class employers treating lower class ‘jatis’ less favourably).
[According to the Explanatory note to Equality Act 2010, the Caste in the Indian context can encompass the four classes (varnas) of Hindu tradition (the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra communities); the thousands of regional Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Muslim or other religious groups known as jatis – some jatis regarded as below the varna hierarchy (once termed “untouchable”) are known as “Dalits.”]
Referring to 2015 Harrow East Tory campaign, fortnightly columnist at Hindustan Times Sunny Hundal‏ tweeted, “This is astonishing. Tory MP in London playing Hindu divide-and-rule caste politics with leaflets for Hindus. Nasty”.
Commenting on the Bob Blackman’s divisive campaign, London assembly member and 2017  parliamentary candidate for Harrow East Navin Shah said, “The general election also saw the same old issues like Kashmiri Pundits and caste legislation dragged out for the Tory propaganda to find cheap favours amongst Indian / Hindu voters”.
Also read Blackman not supported!

 

New Harrow council leader

Graham3Councillor Graham Henson (photo) will be confirmed the new council leader at the next council meeting.
As a member of the cabinet, Cllr Henson has held the portfolio for Environment which includes streets, parks, other green areas and waste collection.
In the Labour group leadership contest last night, Mr Henson, Roxbourne ward councillor since 2006, won by 9 votes (22/13), defeating Cllr Sachin Shah, the group leader for the past two years.
Labour in Harrow have done very well at the council election 2018 and have increased their majority.
Cllr Henson is well known for working closely with the officers and supporting them. It is eminent that the acting chief executive post would be substantial soon.
Cllr Henson’s ex-councillor colleague Bill Phillips describes him as:
Graham4Note: Bill Phillips is not HAD chair now as they rotate their Chair.

TfL can’t afford much needed bus shelter in Wealdstone!

Hearing public concerns, the Harrow Monitoring Group sought London Mayor’s help in having a bus shelter at the South Harrow bound Baptist Church bus stop in High Street Wealdstone.
Bus shelterThe bus stop is widely used by elderly, more so by those who go to the nearby church or the Mosque, but it has no shelter nor there is any other shelters like a shop canopy in the vicinity of the bus stop.
Exposure to rain, while waiting for a bus, is a particular health risk for the elderly and much more serious in winter/snow.
Valerie Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, has acknowledged that “TfL’s assessment shows that this is indeed a good example of a bus stop where a shelter could be installed”.
But she said “TfL does not currently have budget to accommodate requests for additional bus shelters. TfL has also spoken to London Borough of Harrow, who have advised that unfortunately they too do not have the budget to install a shelter at this time”.
Ms Shawcross informs that Transport for London (TfL) is operating in a very challenging financial environment at present. London’s population has grown considerably faster than that of the rest of the UK, while Government grant funding for the cost of operating London’s transport network has reduced significantly, with TfL losing an average of £700m of Government funding each year.
London assembly member for Brent and Harrow Navin Shah has been interested in the shelter – we wonder if the Harrow East MP Bob Blackman would also be interested in this issue in Wealdstone, the ward that he does not target for votes!

 

Labour hold Harrow – Tory group deputy is out

As predicted, Labour has retained Harrow council administration but Tories have failed to make any real gains despite the intriguing situations and from the collapse of UKIP which has helped Tory votes.
With 41.04 percent overall turnout, Labour (35 councillors) have overall gained two seats while Conservatives (28 councillors) have overall gained only one seat, mostly because the Independents did not contest the seats they held in the traditional Tory ward.
Harrow seems to have followed the national trend where despite divisive Tory politics, scaremongering and politicisation of anti-semitism, Labour have gained 57 and Tories have lost 28 councillors so far (18.39hrs).
Labour share of votes in the traditional Tory wards (9) is higher than Tory share of votes in Labour wards (12) in the borough – for example, in Edgware and Queensbury wards.
In Harrow on the Hill ward, Tories lost all their seats to Labour, including the deputy leader of the Tory opposition group (Barry Macleod-Cullinane) who is badly defeated by more than 500 votes.
Liberal Democrat comeback nationally has not reflected locally where in the Rayners Lane ward, Labour gained a long held Liberal Democrat seat (Chris Noyce) – Labour now holds all three seats.
Most interesting result in Kenton West which although remains as one Labour and two Tory councillors, both a Tory and a Labour candidate secured same number of votes (1967)!
In the temple battlefield Kenton East ward, Tories could win one seat from Labour and only by 3 votes – a long standing Tory councillor who gave up his Belmont seat to contest from Kenton East badly lost.
As expected, in Headstone North, Tories grabbed the two Independent held seats that they did not contest this time!

 

Election pledge reinforced

Lab pledgeIn a full page newspaper statement, promoted by Navin Shah (London assembly member), the Harrow Labour commit to keeping Harrow safe from crime and supporting businesses. This can only be good and help Harrow well.
While Harrow remains one of the safest boroughs in London, with a low crime rate, the fear of crime remains high. The Conservative government have planned to cut £1 billion from London’s police budget resulting in losing many uniformed police officers in Harrow – and more will go.
Despite these cuts, the Labour mayor is using the limited powers available to him to put an extra £110 million into funding the Met Police. He has now funded 3 neighbourhood police dedicated to a local ward, the Labour inform.
“The Labour running council will work with the police, mayor of London and other agencies to keep Harrow safe and bring crime down” Labour say.
“Our priority is to strengthen our local economy, encourage entrepreneurship and create local job” say Labour and appreciate the contribution made by the local businesses and traders from diverse backgrounds.
They say that the small businesses in particular are the backbone of our high streets, and point out that hike in business rates by Conservative government has crippled small and medium sized traders. “We have supported nearly 3000 local businesses through mentoring schemes, created business improvement districts and job fares etc” they claim.
“We will support local businesses with business rate relief and simplify licensing and planning process for sustained future or our businesses” said the Labour.

 

Harrow suffers due to government policies

The government cuts have serious implications for Harrow services, particularly those depended on by elderly and disabled people.
The shocking truth is that when vulnerable relatives are left neglected without social care, it’s because the government has cut funding for vital services, while handing out billions in tax giveaways for a few at the top.
We hear that voters are going to respond heavily to the ‘heartless and hopeless’ Tory government and its impact on the people they love on May 3!
Every cut is a cut to a meal being cooked, or a bath being run — it is a cut to a person’s independence and dignity. Yet total cuts to social care budgets are now projected to have reached a shocking £6.3 billion.
Good to hear that Labour will build a social care system that delivers for the many. They have pledged £8 billion extra for social care, an increase in the Carer’s Allowance and will establish a National Care Service to improve access to fair and affordable care.
Crime and fear of crime in Harrow is very worrying, especially as cut in funding to local councils renders them unable to provide the essential youth service support that stops many young people being drawn into violent crime.
Harrow has its share of housing crisis in London – hundreds households are in temporary accommodation or are on the waiting list for social housing. In view of this, Harrow council administration pledge to creating 5,500 new homes is quite reassuring.
Wishes are to make sure that Harrow does not follow the Tory run Barnet that has privatised almost every local service and in the process made those services worse and its workers worse off.
It is always better to keep the services in house, be accountable for their quality, invest in the delivery and treat their staff fairly and decently.
Who could blame the voters who want to see better policing, care for the elderly, and investment in housing to help people get on the ladder, and not be priced out of Harrow, and therefore vote accordingly?