Kensington Labour Party

YOUR VOTES – WE’RE CONFUSED TOO!

NEC RULING ON WHO CAN VOTE

IMG_0141

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 bucks the trend with 6% swing

2015 Election swing chart9.5.15

After a devastating night for Labour nationally, the political picture in London is very different, as we have seen.

Not least is the encouraging result for Kensington, which saw an increased turnout and an impressive 6% swing to Labour.

Many people imagine that Kensington is all footballers, plutocrats and aristocrats, but Labour Councillors work in some of the poorest wards in London and know the real Kensington is very mixed.

Having selected our ‘dream candidate’??????????????????????????????? Dr Rod Abouharb in October 2013, Kensington Labour’s Action Teams set to work immediately, and including local elections 2014 knocked on 30,000 doors and had 6,000 conversations. Our local manifesto, called ‘One Kensington’, reflecting the main concerns of the electorate, was launched in November 2014. Dr Rod – as he became known – became a recognisable face on the streets, attended surgeries and public meetings, wrote a column in the local paper, and appeared regularly in the press.

K&C Labour Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad said:

‘The real Kensington is a microcosm of all that is wrong with the country after five years of Tory rule. Inequalities are frankly shocking, and Tory complacency in the face of food banks, evictions and families and communities torn apart is despicable.

‘Local Councillors dread the next five years of Tory rule, but will fight for our residents and communities. As local resident Tony Benn put it:

“There is no final victory. There is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up!”’

STOP PRESS – Kensington Labour closing the gap!

21.4.Projection, main graph15

(left, our projection based on increased Labour turnout)

This very heartening article by Mary Dejevsky in today’s Independent backs up what we’ve been saying for quite a while – the gap is smaller than you think! In 2010 Kensington under Rifkind was 142nd safest Tory seat, but this slipped to 211st by October 2014, when Electoral Calculus predicted the following for May 2015:

Conservative – 43.10%

Labour – 34.5%

LibDem – 1.1%

UKIP – 16.4%

While this has changed due to the plummeting support for UKIP, no poll can account for the tremendous amount of work carried out by Kensington Labour Action Teams and our wonderful and hard-working candidate Rod Abouharb.

Read the Indie article here:  Kensington Labour closing the gap

If you and every Labour voter uses their vote on 7 May, we could win. It’s that simple.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

NEW SCANDAL OVER ‘FLOP OPERA’ HOLLAND PARK

 THE OPERA THEY COULDN’T GIVE AWAY

Calamity Jane21.1.15

(left, it’s a stick-up)

Scandal-riddled Opera Holland Park is being ‘let off’ from making essential improvements while it is in the process of ‘potential externalisation’. The loss-making opera – the only civic-run opera in the country – is run by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who underwrite their losses. These have amounted to a staggering £6.6m since 2001, against revenue expenditure of nearly £30m in the same period, plus capital investment of over £2m. In 2009-10 alone the opera lost the Council nearly £1m, and it is only the current modest annual sponsorship deal that brings it below that figure every year.

The latest outrage has seen the organisation refusing to implement some improvements that were proposed after an Internal Audit in 2013. Auditors gave the organisation a ‘Limited Assurance Report’, demanding that various improvements be made, including: drafting clear procedures and guidance notes; delivering transparent financial accounting; having a transparent tendering process for the residential orchestra and costume suppliers; maintaining an inventory; maintaining a hospitality register stating outcomes and registering resultant donations, plus controlling the use and number of complimentary tickets; agreeing guidance for appropriate use of purchase cards, and retaining full VAT receipts; ensuring staff are eligible to work in the UK; and regularising employee contracts.

The Audit was conducted soon after the Council failed in its first attempt in 2012 to off-load responsibility for the opera by handing it over to a controlling group to run it as a mutual. The current attempt goes a step further, by offering £5m to take it away!

Labour Group Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad said: ‘It beggars belief that a non-viable organisation funded and run by the Council has such poor accounting and control systems. It is indefensible and frankly shocking that staff are refusing to implement proper standards demanded by Auditors because they are waiting for a further bail-out.  No voluntary organisation in receipt of Council funds would get away with such conduct. The Council must set aside their plan to give a dowry of £5m to off-load this financial black hole, let OPH have a dignified demise, and instead use these funds to protect frontline services that people need. This would also save the  ‘backroom costs’ that have reached £412,000/year, which is more than the sum the Council says it cannot find to continue to provide Play Services that enable low-income working families to work full-time.’

 

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.’

 

 

 

 

END OF TERM REPORT: shameful results with inevitable consequences for K&C Tories

END OF TERM REPORT

 

The ten posts highlighting different areas of inequality in K&C were posted one per day in the run-up to the Council Budget-setting meeting on 5 March 2014. The borough known as ‘The Royal Bank of Kensington and Chelsea’ has £180m in Reserves – and some of the poorest residents in London.

The statements are based on evidence, not dogma or the Daily Mail. Links to sources can be found below.

Links:

Ward profiles

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/communityandlocallife/2011censusoutcomes.aspx

Overcrowding

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/pdf/Families_housing.pdf

Neighbourhood statistics

http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/

Income inequality

http://www.londonspovertyprofile.org.uk/indicators/topics/inequality/pay-inequalities-within-london/

Minimum Income Standard

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/crsp/mis/

http://www.londonspovertyprofile.org.uk/key-facts/overview-of-london-boroughs/

Recipients of Pension Credit

http://www.data.london.gov.uk