Latest news

St Mary’s is safe but the NHS remains at risk

Posted: 16/09/11

Reports that St Mary's Hospital is pencilled in for closure in order to realise the development potential of the prime central London site have been swiftly denied.

I am encouraged by the emphatic rebuttal on the part of the Imperial Hospital Trust. The trouble is that the Trust has a massive financial shortfall to deal with, at a time of unprecedented instability in the NHS, and all choices are going to be difficult ones. Worse still, the Conservatives are pushing through a reckless, wasteful and bureaucratic reorganisation of the NHS, which will get in the way of patient care.

Forcing… » Read more


Crunch time for the NHS

Posted: 02/09/11

With MPs meeting to vote on the final report stage of the Health and Social Care Bill next week this is crunch-time for the NHS.

Having only allowed two weeks to vote on the new bill earlier this summer there is a genuine concern that ministers are looking to railroad this legislation through the Commons. MPs will get only two days to debate these amendments next week, as the prime minister and his deputy hope to square everything off before their party conferences.

Individuals and organisations concerned about the changes only have limited time to force the government to… » Read more


London riots

Posted: 09/08/11

The riots sweeping through our cities - the worst since the early 1980s - are tragic, inexcusable and unjustifiable.

Our hearts go out to the victims, and our grateful thanks go out to the emergency services, who have worked exceptionally hard and with real courage. This is especially the case as the level of policing does not seem to have been sufficient over the weekend, leaving them at a disadvantage in some areas.

The absolute priority must be to restore order to the streets, to make sure there are sufficient police for the task, and then to review the level… » Read more


Safer Neighbourhood Team Sergeants to be cut

Posted: 11/07/11

Westminster is set to lose six Sergeants from the Safer Neighbourhhod Teams across the borough. In four residential areas, eight wards will have to share four Sergeants insted of having their own Sergeant. In addition, it has been suggested that existing Sergeants will have to reapply for their jobs and even if they are successful they may be allocated to a new, unfamiliar Ward.

The loss of the six Sergeant posts includes:

Harrow Road & Maida Vale Wards Safer Neighbourhood Team - supervised by 1 Sergeant post

Westbourne & Little Venice Wards Safer Neighbourhood Team  - supervised by 1… » Read more


Westminster City Council can save Paddington Law Centre

Posted: 11/07/11

Westminster Labour Councillors have called on Westminster City Council to save Paddington Law Centre from closure by making a £50,000 grant out of the £850,000 in the Paddington Community and Social Fund. The Paddington Social and Community Social Fund was established through contributions from the developers of the Paddington Goods Yard in order to improve facilities for local residents in the area. The £850,000 in the Fund, which is administered by Westminster City Council, has been unspent for over a year despite huge cuts in local community services.

Paddington Law Centre has been operating in premises in Harrow Road in… » Read more


Local authorities ill-prepared to protect the health and safety of vulnerable tenants

Posted: 14/06/11

A report released yesterday highlights how many housing authorities are not well prepared to protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable tenants at a time when residents need that protect more than ever.

At a time of massive change in the housing sector it is critical that safeguards are in place to protect tenants. The Housing Act 2004 gives local authority provisions to enable them to do this but many do not seem to be making full use of them. Of concern is the apparent lack of a strategic approach to unhealthy housing and the absence of information… » Read more


Residents collect petition to oppose cuts to local nurseries

Posted: 14/06/11

Westminster Pre-school Learning Alliance is a grouping made up of nine community nurseries. In past years the Alliance has received grant funds from Westminster City Council to aid with affordable nursery provision in the area.

However, Westminster has recently cut this grant. This means the loss of approximately £45,000 from each nursery. The nine nurseries affected are: Parkview Lodge Pre-School (Westbourne Area), Moorhouse Pre-School (Westbourne Area), The Vestry (Abbey Rd/Maida Vale Area), St. James Community Pre-School (Bayswater Area), Ashmore Pre-School (Queen's Park Area), Fisherton Street Pre-School (Church Street Area), Independent Mother's Pre-school, (Church Street Area), Barrow Hill (St. John's Wood… » Read more


Making sense of the Arab Spring

Posted: 23/05/11

A great many homes and cafes in Central London have been buzzing with political excitement this spring, but this buzz has owed less to a clamour for debate about the merits of reform to our own electoral system than to the close interest London's Arab diasporas have taken in the event of the ‘Arab spring'. It is not only the internet and Twitter which have globalised even the smallest stirrings of protests in universities, refugee camps and city squares across the Middle East- it is also this extended community of exiles, drinking coffee in the shisha cafes on the Edgware… » Read more


Westminster Conservatives hatch plans to increase council rents

Posted: 05/05/11

Westminster Conservatives want to raise the rents of people for council tenants who they consider to be earning too much and has asked the Government to give the Council the power to set its own rent levels.

Speaking at a Council meeting last week, the Council's Cabinet member for Housing, Philippa Roe, claimed that there are more than 2,200 Council tenants earning more than £50,000 a year and that the Council should have the power to increase their rents in order to raise more revenue to pay for Council services.

Quite where she got this information is unclear but it… » Read more


An ‘unsure’ start: Conservative cuts hit children

Posted: 05/05/11

Although there is a cross-party agreement in principle about the importance of early intervention measures - support for Labour's Sure Start programme, Children's Centres, and childcare is high - it is now clear that that agreement is more rhetorical than substantial.

In a Parliamentary vote last week, both Conservative and Liberal MPs opposed a motion seeking to protect Children's centres from central Government cuts. Sure Start services across the country are being taken away from communities who rely on them.

A year ago, David Cameron said he would protect and improve Sure Start Children's Centres, yet despite this promise to… » Read more


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