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!”’

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‘CYNICAL AND HYPOCRITICAL COUNCIL’ refuses to pay LLW for fifth time

Cllr Robert Thompson26.1.15

(left, Cllr Robert Thompson)

Self-professed ‘richest borough in the universe’ Kensington and Chelsea has refused Labour’s demands to implement the London Living Wage for the fifth time of asking.

Despite massive reserves of £283m, accumulated in part from revenue ‘savings’ across the Council, a meeting of Full Council on 21 January refused once again to adopt what the Mayor of London calls ‘what you need to live on and feed your family’.

Angry scenes between Labour and Conservative Cabinet members included an arrogant statement from Cabinet Members that the Council paid all its direct staff the LLW – ignoring the fact that all low-paid Council staff have now been ‘outsourced’ to private providers in a penny-pinching exercise that has seen some employees barely scratch a living at £6.13/hr minimum wage, while some work long shifts to make up their wages. One worker told us he couldn’t afford the fares to and from work, so walked an hour at the beginning and end of a gruelling eight-hour shift of manual work so he could put food on the family table.

In bizarre scenes reminiscent of feudal times, one senior Conservative stated: ‘Well I haven’t looked this up but I bet some get paid time off to go back to their countries’ – a statement both ignorant of statutory holiday pay, and bordering on racism.

A previous demand in 2012 for a decent wage for a decent day’s work prompted the following tortured statement from the Cabinet Member for Finance: ‘It is the role of the national government, through the social security system, to top up earnings in relation to family circumstances.’

Labour Leader Cllr Emma Dent Coad, seconding the Motion, said: ‘So the Council expects the government to subsidise their contractors offering low pay, while stigmatising those who apply for welfare. A responsible Council would not allow their contractors to reap billions paying poverty wages to our people. The Council’s hypocrisy is breath-taking.’

Cllr Robert Thompson, proposing the Motion, said: ‘More than being good for business, good for families and good for society, the payment of a living wage is fundamentally a moral issue.’

OUTRAGE AS COUNCIL ‘OVERCHARGES MARKETS BY £1.2m’ – AGAIN

Portobello and Golborne Market Traders Overcharged for Waste Collection AGAIN!


Cllr Pat Mason in Portobello Market 2Labour Councillors Call for an Urgent Council investigation

It’s only five years since the Council had to repay £750,000 for overcharged market waste collections. Now, the Portobello & Golborne Management Committee are claiming that market traders have been overcharged by a whopping £1.2 million for the collection of market traders waste over several years.

North Kensington Labour Councillors have today demanded that the Council carries out an urgent investigation into why the charging regime for Portobello and Golborne Road Market has gone so disastrously wrong for a second time, and into the conduct of the Council officers who the market committee claim have failed to act on their legitimate claims over a long period of time.

The Labour Group’s market spokesperson, Cllr Pat Mason said, “It’s utterly staggering that the Council could have robbed our market traders for a second time in five years, and especially now when they need every penny to survive. I have called for an urgent Council investigationto find out what has happened, who is responsible, and then heads should definitely roll”.

For more information: contact Cllr Pat Mason: 07805 922 239

TOP TEN TORY FAILURES #2 – 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.

toryfail2lifeexpectancyFriday 21 Feb

2. LIFE EXPECTANCY

Average life expectancy for men in London is 77 (for women cc 5 years longer); in the borough it’s an amazing 82yrs. This is an average, including:

Golborne Ward – 72yrs

Hans Town, Knightsbridge – 92 yrs

This is a quite extraordinary difference in life expectancy of 20 years within just three miles. Don’t cross the road to Josiah’s to buy your newspaper; you could lose ten years of your life. Where is this?

TOP TEN TORY FAILURES #1- 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.

toryfail1childpovertyThursday 20 Feb

1. CHILD POVERTY

The London average for child poverty is 28%. Kensington and Chelsea, the richest borough in Europe, nonetheless comes in with 27%. This is an average, including:

Queen’s Gate – just 2.8%

Henry Dickens Court, Norland – a disgraceful 57.6% (worse than the Gorbals in Glasgow, at 49.7%)

The Child Poverty Action Group states that the 4,467 children living in poverty in the borough cost the economy £49m/year, that’s £10,000/child/year.

Child poverty, ‘Made in Chelsea’

In one part of Chelsea, if you cross the road the incidence of child poverty increases ten times. Where is it? You’ll be very surprised!

KENSINGTON LABOUR PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE CHOSEN

Abouharb Banner Shot

6.12.13

Kensington Labour is delighted to announce the selection of their parliamentary candidate, Dr Rodwan Abouharb.

Dr Abouharb was born in Cardiff to an English mother and a Syrian father, and spent his first five years in Syria before returning to the UK. He comes from a modest but hardworking background and achieved scholarships to take him to university and post-graduate research; he is currently senior lecturer in International Relations at University College London.

Rod has pledged to work hard with Labour activists to get out the vote in the local and European elections next year, and to overturn Tory rule in Kensington in 2015, saying:

‘I will campaign to change how we make decisions in this country. We must make choices based on evidence, not ideology, that improve the lives of hard working residents in our communities.

I will campaign to end tuition fees.

I will seek to make the living wage a reality.

I will campaign to improve access to affordable housing.

I will campaign to prevent the backdoor privatisation of the NHS.

If elected, I will be a visible and accessible MP.

If elected, I will have a full-time staffed office in the constituency.’

‘SMOG’ WARNING FOR NORTH KENSINGTON

This week, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) warned residents in North Kensington that ground level Ozone breached safety levels as permitted under UK and European Union air pollution laws.

Ozone, a major component in the formation of air pollution smogs, destroys lung tissue, cases asthma and respiratory attacks, affects the eyes and is especially harmful to babies, young children and the elderly. The current alert has been caused by excessive traffic emissions and increased traffic due to the Olympics, the hot weather, and the inability of the government, the Mayor of London or the Council to take effective action to reduce air pollution levels.

Defra says that Ozone levels in North Kensington are High and advise that “Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoor, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion”.

Councillor Pat Mason said, “The health of 2 million Londoners and thousands of people in the Borough with asthma and respiratory problems are being put at risk because the government, the Mayor and the Council have no meaningful plans in place to reduce traffic levels and the harmful pollutants they spew out”

“A whole generation of babies and young people are being put at risk of living as asthma sufferers, and having their lungs permanently damaged while the government does nothing except issue pollution alerts and tells residents to hide inside their homes until it is over”