Kensington Labour Group

YOUR VOTES – WE’RE CONFUSED TOO!

NEC RULING ON WHO CAN VOTE

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Here is the link to join as a £25 registered voter and be able to vote for Leader, you have until 5pm today. It may take a few times to get through as the website keeps crashing! https://donate.labour.org.uk/leadership/1

This is the position as we understand it at 19.7.16; we will post updates as we receive them.

Please check for yourself before you take any action as advice is changing by the hour, and we’re confused too!

  • To vote in the NEC elections (see below) you need to have joined the Labour Party before 24 June.
  • To vote in the Leadership election you need to have joined before 12 January; this was decided at the NEC meeting on 12 July. There may be legal challenges to this ruling as the Labour Party has been encouraging people to join ‘to vote in the Leadership election’ with no reference to cut-off dates.
  • Existing registered members (£3 members) will need to re-register if they wish to vote in the Leadership elections, as this form of membership only lasted six months. They can only do this in the 48 hours between 18 and 20 July; we believe this is from 5pm Monday to 5pm Wednesday, but have conflicting information! This will now cost £25, which is about half the cost of full membership (but still a lot of money, we know).
  • ‘New’ people can also join as £25 registered members in this 24 hour window.
  • If you joined the party as a full members since 12 January you are able to re-join as registered members to vote in the Leadership election – there has been no ruling to date stating that you cannot.

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WHY MEMBERS MUST VOTE IN THE NEC ELECTIONS

The National Executive Committee agrees rule and policy changes for the Labour Party. Membership of the NEC is crucial to enable the party to grow and shape itself according to the needs and wishes of Labour Party members.

Kensington CLP voted overwhelming to support Jeremy Corbyn as our Leader in July 2015, and members tell us that they will continue to support him and his socialist policies.

All members will be receiving voting packs to vote by post or online. Please read this carefully. We are inviting our many Corbyn supporters to vote for these members:

NEC 1 NEC 2 NEC 3

 

Kensington Labour General Election Manifesto

One Kensington intro

I have developed a 10 Point Plan to ensure that the local, national and international interests of Kensington are heard in Westminster.  As your voice in Parliament I pledge to:

  1. MAINTAIN DIVERSITY IN KENSINGTON

We must keep our communities together.  Kensington needs housing for residents that is genuinely affordable for a range of income levels.  I support rent control and security for private tenants. Not only does it make economic sense for people to be able to live close to where they work, but there is plenty of evidence that communities from diverse backgrounds, with mixed incomes who are integrated have much greater social cohesion and stability. To keep Kensington affordable for a variety of people, I support a London Living Wage for all workers.

  1. PROTECT AND IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT

I will work to create cleaner air and safer streets by greening the Westway.  We also need safe cycle-ways and we must implement the Cycle Superhighway.  As your voice in Westminster, I will campaign to end diesel emissions from trains, taxis, vans and lorries and work to improve air quality.  For the safety of Kensington’s residents, especially children, we must implement a 20mph speed limit on borough roads.

  1. SUPPORT ROBUST USE OF PLANNING REGULATIONS

I will ensure that development enhances the borough and benefits all its residents.  This means campaigning to continue reductions in the scope and size of basement excavations, their noise, and their disruption to neighbours.  We should protect our built heritage throughout Kensington. We need truly affordable housing in Kensington; all S106 affordable housing must be built on site. We must encourage neighbourhood forums so local voices can be heard in all areas of planning. We need a transparent and locally accountable system for all planning decisions that responds to the concerns of residents.

  1. PROMOTE FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY

As your MP I vow to make sure the needs of less affluent and vulnerable residents are represented in Westminster.  I will campaign for affordable energy bills, lower childcare costs, and to save the Independent Living Fund. When governments need to raise more money we must be willing to ask those with the broadest shoulders to contribute more; this is why I support revaluation and re-banding of property for Council Tax instead of a ‘Mansion Tax’. This is a long-standing policy choice of Kensington Labour. I also support the reversal of the Bedroom tax, which is an unfair tax on many of the poorest in society.

  1. DEFEND OUR NHS

We must defend our NHS from the threat of privatisation.  Britain has one of the best and most affordable healthcare systems in the world.  I pledge to consider ways of making it more efficient while maintaining the quality of care that makes our system great. We must improve local NHS and mental health services, and provide affordable social care.

I promise to fight against any attempts at privatisation.  I will listen to the suggestions of doctors and nurses, not lawyers and politicians.

  1. ECONOMY

My academic expertise convinces me that we need to think differently from the coalition government about how to grow our economy and generate well-paid, secure employment.  Austerity fails to encourage sustainable economic growth. We need to focus on investing in high quality apprenticeships.  We must ensure an equality of esteem and good pay for those who want to take up vocational training and careers. These decisions will help people realise their potential and encourage a diversified economy. We also need to use the power of government to encourage economic growth in times of recession and then make sure government saves money during periods of growth to protect the public in times of economic difficulty. We must also make sure that the backbone of our economy like mass transit is affordable and run in the public interest. This is why I support the nationalisation of the railway system to ensure  investment and bring ticket prices down.

  1. INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT

International trade agreements can generate jobs and encourage economic growth for partner countries. However, how they are negotiated and the protections that are included in them are critical to whether these agreements are beneficial for working families in the U.K. The ongoing TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US need much greater scrutiny and prior agreement that we will not reduce environmental or labour protections as part of the deal.

We need fundamental reform of policies used to encourage development and economic growth throughout the world, including our stance on the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is investment not austerity that guides countries back to growth and productivity.

  1. EUROPEAN UNION

The EU was originally designed to forge economic and social links between European nations. The EU is important for the UK economy; over 50% of our exports are to the EU. Millions of jobs rely upon our membership. Our economy is also much stronger because of the skilled workers that come to the UK. Though we need to ensure that workers in the UK are not undercut and workers from abroad are not exploited by unscrupulous employers, we must remain in the EU to maintain a vibrant economy in the United Kingdom.

  1. DEFENCE AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

I disagree with the renewal of Trident. These weapons do not make us any safer, in fact most evidence points to increased likelihood of major nuclear accidents and inadvertent nuclear war.

Kensington’s diverse population is especially concerned with international issues. An equitable and just solution for Palestine is a lynchpin of broader peace in the Middle East.  A Palestinian state based on the 1967 ceasefire lines would be an important first step.

  1. REPRESENTATION: MY PLEDGE

Kensington residents need a locally based, visible, responsive and representative Member of Parliament. As your MP I promise not to take any paid directorships. Being a responsive Member of Parliament is a full time job.  Kensington’s residents deserve an MP who will be fully engaged as their representative.

I will publicise and hold regular surgeries in the north, centre and south of Kensington. For those residents who have difficulty travelling; I am your representative and I will come to you.

 

 

 

 

IT’S OFFICIAL: WESTWAY SPORTS PITCH BREACHES EU AIR POLLUTION SAFETY LEVELS

Cllr E Dent Coad at Sports Pitches, Clean Air in London Award 2014High levels of NO² discovered at sports pitch after Council denials 

13.10.14

A planning application that involved moving a sports pitch from green space to a site beside the Western Cross Route and Westway, was agreed in September 2012 only on the proviso that air pollution levels would be monitored.

Despite this commitment, made in front of concerned members of the public, the pledge was later deemed to be ‘non-binding’ and the monitoring never took place. Kensington Labour Councillors and community groups tried to get the pollution levels tested, but it is a specialist task and it proved complex and expensive to undertake.

Finally, a Citizen Science project, ‘Clean Up London Air’, led by a concerned local resident undertook the work, under the guidance of ‘Mapping for Change’ an academic project at University College London.

The month-long project, which involved a ‘guerilla monitoring exercise’ using diffusion tubes to record nitrogen dioxide levels, took place during July, and the recordings were then sent off for analysis; the results are now back.

Here are their findings for the new Westway sports pitch, for nitrogen dioxide levels.

The European legal standard

for the annual mean NO2 is                               40µg/m3

The average in July

at the Latimer Road pitch was                       52.46µg/m3

Marco Picardi from Green Westway, a local environmental campaign, undertook the monitoring project, and said:

“It’s alarming that this level of pollution is tolerated to the point whereby playing sport separated from one of Europe’s busiest roads only by a fence has become a normal activity.

‘With air pollution linked to 8.3% of all deaths in Kensington and Chelsea, we need accurate information to understand what risks we are exposed to in order to demand the changes that will improve our urban environment and make it safer.

‘It’s clear that the Westway Development Trust, Transport for London, and the Council need to act swiftly to rectify this situation and make this a safe environment for the people that use the Westway’s facilities and live in its shadow”

RBKC Labour Group Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad, who won a Clean Air in London Award this year for her work on the subject, said:

‘This research confirms all our worst fears; air pollution near the sports pitch beside the Western Cross Route breaches EU safety levels by a wide margin. We cannot and dare not ignore this. We will be demanding immediate mitigation with green walls, as well as restating our commitment to a range of measures to improve air quality long-term, including the establishment of an Ultra Low Emission Zone in the borough. The Council cannot ignore such a serious health hazard, we need action now, and a plan for the future.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links:

http://www.phoutcomes.info/public-health-outcomes-framework#gid/1000043/pat/6/ati/102/page/3/par/E12000007/are/E09000020

 

http://www.mappingforchange.org.uk/clean-air-citizen-science/

 

http://cleanairinlondon.org/

‘SHUT UP’ – senior Tory responds to desperate parents

‘SHUT UP, YOU’RE NOT ELECTED’

Tory Whip shouts at shocked parents of SEN children as ‘predictable and disastrous’ outcome of Triborough project affects transport for vulnerable

 11.6.14 036 - Copy25.7.14

Parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs were shocked last night to be told to ‘SHUT UP’ by the Kensington and Chelsea Tory Whip at a public meeting.

K&C Opposition Labour Group (left) had called an Extraordinary Council Meeting to debate the continuation of a contract that delivers a transport service for children with special educational needs. The service has been a huge concern to parents, carers and teachers of affected children since it began in April this year.

Children who are picked up from home and taken to school or daycare, then returned back later in the day, have been suffering from poorly trained escorts, drivers with no knowledge of the area, disfunctioning vehicles, and overlong journeys that are causing huge distress to the children affected, especially in the current hot weather.

Labour Group Whip and Disabilities Champion Cllr Judith Blakeman stated: ‘This is child abuse’.

Responding to dozens of complaints, the Council reported to committee on 9 July that full instructions on the various needs of the children had been handed over, that drivers had undertaken practice runs of the routes they needed to take, and that all risks had been considered and dealt with. The report stated that the shortcomings of the initial stages of the contract had been addressed, and that they were confident matters had improved.

However, parents and carers report that the problems continue, and are demanding that the Council breaks the contract without delay, and engages the previous contractor while starting the process from scratch.

One child, who has had a particularly poor experience, had a severe fit on returning home two weeks ago, and could have died without immediate hospital treatment. Three families have stated that they will report the Council to the Ombudsman if the Council refuses to withdraw the contract.

Cllr Judith Blakeman stated: ‘This is the worst scandal I’ve seen in 32 years on the Council’.

Labour Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad said: ‘This is precisely the kind of situation that concerned us with the 2010 announcement of Triborough working across Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. The lack of democratic accountability could not be more pronounced; there was no mandate for Triborough and assurances on sovereignty and accountabilty given at the time have vaporised. It was a cost-cutting measure from the outset, and NOT a way to pursue any kind of ‘value for money’. The current situation was entirely predictable and is disastrous to our most vulnerable residents.’

‘RBKC Council has £267m in usable Reserves, accepts a loss of cc£1m/year for the running of Opera Holland Park, and is set to agree improvements to Leighton House Museum costing £2.6m, a loan to the National Army Museum of £2.5m, artwork for Kensington Academy costing £150,000, and a sculpture for Holland Park Academy costing £120,000. Yet they tell us they cannot afford £500k for transporting vulnerable children. This tells us everything we need to know about their priorities.’

The Motion to break the contract was outvoted by the Tories, though it was noted that those who have SEN children themselves were absent from the meeting; one Tory abstained.

 

TOP TEN TORY FAILS #9 – from ‘the most unequal borough in Britain’

 

Every day between 20 Feb and 5 March, when they will announce their alternative Budget, Kensington Labour Group will announce an area of extreme inequality in Kensington and Chelsea ‘the most unequal borough in Britain’.

The borough known as ‘The Royal Bank of Kensington and Chelsea’ has £180m in Reserves – and some of the poorest residents in London.

#9, 4.3.14,sportsandactivitiesTues 4 March

9. SPORTS/ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

RBKC is blessed with parks and green space, tennis courts and other sporting facilities. However, over the years these have been ‘monetised’, with former kickabout spaces developed or transformed to ‘booking only’.

Funding for primary school sports activities has been decimated, and free swimming for children (and over 60s) stopped.

Physical activity for children 2009/11 reduced from 7939 to 6947

In the same period, obesity in Year 6 students has nearly doubled

Number of homeless children 0-18 in B&B/temporary accommodation estimated to be 1,800; two-thirds are housed out of the borough, far from school and other sporting activities.

LABOUR COUNCILLORS CHALLENGE CODE OF CONDUCT DECISION

‘Absolution’ of conduct by Leader and Deputy Leader is indefensible

Labour councillors Judith Blakeman and Emma Dent Coad are seeking a review of the Borough Standards Committee’s decision to exonerate Council Leader Sir Merrick Cockell and his Deputy Cllr. Nick Paget-Brown over their handling of the resignation of former councillor Andrew Lamont. Lamont, who is to be tried in March for allegedly possessing child pornography, was permitted to remain as a non-functioning councillor for eleven months before standing down from the Council.
Councillors Blakeman and Dent Coad, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Labour Group, had asked the Standards Committee to investigate concerns that the Council had been brought into disrepute by not immediately requesting Lamont’s resignation when the police investigation was first reported in October 2010. They argued that Councillors Cockell and Paget-Brown did not act in compliance with the Member’s Code of Conduct nor with the Council’s Constitution and that this had damaged the public’s perception of the Council.
The Standards Sub-Committee met in November and decided that there was nothing the Council’s leadership could have done to require Mr. Lamont to resign and that their behaviour was entirely consistent with both the Member’s Code of Conduct and the Council’s Constitution. However, the two Labour councillors claim that this decision is riddled with faulty reasoning and inconsistencies.
Cllr. Blakeman disputes the Standards view that agreeing that former councillor Lamont could forgo his allowance and not attend meetings during the police investigation was purely a matter for the Council’s leadership. She said: “This was pre-eminently a matter for the residents of Norland ward, whom Cllr. Lamont was elected to represent. During the by-election to replace him we met a number of people who had asked him for assistance and got no reply. Leaving vulnerable residents in limbo like this is unacceptable. At the very least the Council should have put a message on Cllr. Lamont’s e-mail referring residents to the other two ward councillors.”
The fact that the matter took eleven months to resolve without any intervention by the Council’s leadership was also unacceptable.
Cllr. Dent Coad was baffled by the Standard’s Committee view that how a councillor chooses to represent his constituents is “up to him” and legally only requires that he attend one meeting every six months. She said: “all political parties have clear policies governing the way they expect their councillors to carry out their duties; the Member’s Code of Conduct similarly expects a high commitment from all councillors. Without surgeries, casework, support on planning or housing or schooling or police issues, whatever are councillors for? Former Cllr. Lamont clearly fell far short of these expectations, yet his Chief Whip appeared content to allow this to continue over a very long period of time.”
Both Labour councillors are particularly concerned at a statement in the Standards decision that their complaints could have “given rise to what some might construe as a politically-motivated complaint.” Both complaints were deliberately withheld until after the by-election precisely to avoid this allegation. Once the by-election was over, however, it was entirely proper for the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group formally to ask the Standards Committee to investigate objections raised by many residents about the way the Council’s Conservative Leadership had handled the matter. Cllr. Blakeman said: “sadly, if the Sub-Committee’s logic is followed, it is difficult to imagine any circumstance under which a councillor could turn to the Standards Committee when a councillor from another political party is felt to have violated the Member’s Code of Conduct”.
The Standards Committee now has three months to answer the request to review its original decision.