Emma Dent Coad

OUR PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE FOR KENSINGTON

01.05.17

Kensington Labour is delighted to announce that our parliamentary candidate is Cllr Emma Dent Coad

Emma Dent Coad was born in Chelsea as the youngest of six in an Anglo-Spanish family, and has lived in North Kensington since 1986. She has worked on design and architecture magazines for most of her career, and has written or contributed to a number of books. She still writes on occasion for Building Design and local papers, as well as for The Voice on local issues. For the past 11 years she has been a Councillor in Golborne Ward, one of the poorest wards in London. She has been politically active since the age of 15 and is a fearsome campaigner. As Planning spokesperson for the Labour Group she speaks out for all communities facing unwanted development where there is no community benefit.

Emma says: ‘Kensington is a microcosm of everything that is wrong in the country after seven years of incompetent government. In 2014 I proved that RBKC is ‘the most unequal borough in Britain’. It sickens me that in a very wealthy constituency we have Food Banks, worsening health and life expectancy, and the return of Victorian illnesses such as TB and even rickets. I see money squandered while residents struggle financially. The police chase super-cars in one area, and knife-wielding gangs in another.

‘I am Kensington through and through and would never stand in another constituency. As your representative in parliament I will speak out for all the communities of Kensington and work for a more equal society. My maxim is #OneKensington, and my personal knowledge of Kensington and its communities, together with my expertise in architecture and planning, will enable me to serve my constituency.

‘We are facing very difficult times with the Brexit negotiations, and like many I am torn between respecting democracy and dreading the outcome for all of us. In a constituency that voted 68% Remain, our MP voted to Leave the EU. This is a situation that I simply don’t understand.

‘I will never forget, I work for you.’

Kensington Labour ‘Mansion Tax’ comment in The Standard

Letter in Standard 25.6.1424.6.14 (letter published in The Standard, left)

Councillor Emma Dent Coad Leader of Opposition Labour Group says:

‘Kensington and Chelsea is an exceptional borough in many ways, and the way that property prices have rocketed has little to do with their intrinsic value, and more to do with a global poker game for the super-rich; at some point this game will fold and the players will move on.

‘The Council Tax system as it currently functions is anachronistic, and works as yet another effective subsidy to landlords. This is in addition to capital gains tax relief, lack of property tax, and the ease of obtaining buy to let mortgages at preferential rates based on interest only. In most other European countries the owner pays the tax, not the beleaguered rental occupier; there is a logic to this as it is the owner who profits long-term.

‘The system currently being considered by Ed Balls would have unintended consequences in Kensington and Chelsea, and we have many questions and concerns that we have already made public. We have 12,000 homes worth over £2m in the borough, and 7,000 of those have been in the same ownership since 1999; some of these are families, retired people, or others on fixed incomes. The prospect of a Mansion Tax as currently envisaged would drive out these families and long-term residents, whether owners or renters, who tell us ‘it’s my borough too’.

‘Our counter-proposal would consider a revaluation of property, and setting more Council Tax bands, so some would pay less, and others more. We are working on the detail of this, while we wait for more detail on how a proposed Mansion Tax would work.

‘It cannot be right that the Sultan of Brunei pays just £10/week more for his 16-bed mansion than our Mrs Braithwaite in North Kensington for her three-bedroom Council home.’

 

 

 

 

Kensington Labour fights to protect residents

Cuts will hit the poor and vulnerable worst and first

Plans include replacing the Mayoral Bentley with a Prius

–  brutal cuts are proposed by Kensington and Chelsea, ‘the richest borough in Europe’

A £.5m Youth Fund, £5m Housing Benefit hardship fund, £.5m for the voluntary sector to support employment opportunities, and free swimming are some of the highlights of the K&C Labour Opposition Group’s alternative revenue Budget. The alternative capital Budget funds the renovation of Grenfell Tower, creates new social rented homes, researches the feasibility of a Heath and Well-Being Centre in Golborne,  and of attracting the Dyson School of Design Innovation, and sets up a shop for the new credit union. All expenditure is fully funded from existing resources.

In advance of the Budget meeting at full Council on 7 March, the borough’s Labour Opposition has attacked many of the cuts this year as ‘unnecessary and vindictive’, stating that the poorest and most vulnerable residents will be hit ‘worst and first’. This year for the first time, Golborne in North Kensington has been declared the poorest ward in London for multi-deprivation, jointly with an area of Haringey.

Deputy Labour Group Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad said: ‘There is no excuse for such depths of poverty in the borough. This Council is so rich that its Reserves have Reserves; this is no exaggeration. Added to that, every year they bump up the running costs and put ‘underspends’ into a Capital Reserve. That may be acceptable in times of plenty, but when government funding is being reduced and our poorest are getting poorer, these practices are indefensible.’

Every year the Labour Opposition Group writes an alternative Budget that focuses on their top priorities, presenting a fully balanced budget from  savings made elsewhere and judicious use of Reserves. Rather than the Council’s proposals which cut nursery and early years provision, play services and homework clubs, youth services, adult social care, home care, mental health and learning disability provision – as well as sports for schools – the Labour Group has reversed many of these cuts and bolstered others sorely needed in time of continuing economic uncertainty and unemployment.

The counter these cuts, the Labour Opposition Group is proposing to:

–      Pay a one-off efficiency dividend of £50 to Band A to Band D Council Tax payers

–      Set up a £500,000 Youth Fund to replace EMA

–      Set up hardship funds for: those unable to afford community alarm and telecare services; those facing Housing Benefit cuts; and a voluntary sector regeneration fund to help residents into work

–       Reinstate free swimming for children and the over 60s

–      offer financial help to the poorest families for early years services

–      enhance some mental health services

–      renovate Grenfell Tower next to the new Kensington Academy

–      build new homes for social rent

–      research possibilities for the William Rogers Health and Well-Being Centre in Golborne ward

–      and work with the Dyson Foundation to find a possible site for the proposed Dyson School of Design Innovation

Labour Group Leader Cllr Judith Blakeman asks: ‘Why are we still planning to subsidise Opera Holland Park to the tune of £1m a year, paying £800 a day to clean Exhibition Road, and running two polluting and extravagant Mayoral cars, while residents in private sector housing are being evicted daily and our young people are economising on food to get to school or college?

‘There was room in our Budget to fund a cut in Council Tax, but we decided against as it would have had to be re-instated in future years. Our alternative Budget establishes hardship funds for those most damaged by Coalition government policies that disproportionately attack the poorest people, and reduces cuts to front line services.’

The Council’s most unwelcome cuts over the past two years can be seen on this googlemap:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=205639043824952439521.0004987e92215751ebe89

 

 

LABOUR’S RESPONSE TO ‘EXTRAVAGANT’ £25m EXHIBITION ROAD REVAMP

As the £25 million Exhibition Road streetscape scheme opens in South Kensington, North Kensington Labour Councillors criticised the Council’s extravagant spending on a scheme aimed at tourists.

A short bus ride away are four of the poorest areas in the country. In Golborne Ward, 51% of the children live in poverty, residents endure high levels of disability and ill health and life expectancy for men is 71 years, compared with 89 in the richer parts of the borough. Exhibition Road is sited next to Queens Gate, the most affluent ward in the country. Labour is incensed that the North Kensington residents they represent consistently fail to get a fair share of funding from Kensington and Chelsea Council to provide services and support.

Labour Leader Cllr Judith Blakeman said: ‘we are facing a brutal package of cuts. One pensioners’ health and social care centre has already shut down; mental health day centres are closing, a Children’s Centre is to go and nursery provision will be “rationalised”. The Council is ruthlessly cutting sports for schools, homework clubs, youth centres and the vital voluntary organisations that help vulnerable residents to live independently. Despite holding reserves of over £170 million, Kensington and Chelsea Council, chooses to spend its money on Exhibition Road rather than the poor and vulnerable of the Borough. That says it all’.

Labour planning spokesperson Cllr Emma Dent Coad said: ‘Spending £25 million on a paving scheme and £175,000 every year just to keep it clean would be obscene at any time. To do so when savage cuts are being made to essential services in the north of the borough is indefensible. The spectacle we have seen today is a slap in the face for our poorer residents, many of whom can’t even afford the bus fare to the Museums. The performers alone must have cost more than the after-school clubs that have been cut; how appropriate that a white elephant is on parade today. There can be no justification for this level of frivolous spending in these difficult times.’

Listen to this audioboo by Rob Dyson, Guardian blogger: Comments at Exhibition Road opening event

 

CUTS AND SPENDING AT RBKC

 

SAMPLE OF PROPOSED CUTS 2012/13

Early Intervention Service                                              -£350,000

High Need Adolescents                                                   -£200,000

Play Services                                                                       -£100,000

Early Years provision                                                       -£1m

Youth Services                                                                     -£520,000

Care leavers                                                                         -£468,000

Voluntary Organisations                                                  -£40,000

Supporting People                                                            -£500,000

Adult Social Care                                                               -£601,000

Home Care Services                                                         -£950,000

Mental Health                                                                     -£260,000

Learning Disability/Short Breaks                                 -£116,000

Learning Disability/Day Services                                 -£203,000

Sports for schools                                                             -£279,000

Street cleaning                                                                   -£336,000

ADDITIONAL CLEANING EXHIBITION ROAD                      +£175,000

Unbelievable? Read it here: http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/pdf/Budget-Proposals-2012-13DRAFT.pdf