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.

 

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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

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

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?

Britain’s first ‘state funded public school’

Holland Park SchoolFollowing its star performance in Tatler magazine, the governors of Holland Park Academy, assisted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, are promoting a change to its admissions policy that will ensure that the school’s catchment area serves only the most affluent residential area in London. Campaigners expect this change to exclude most if not all of the children living deprived North Kensington, and to tempt many residents around Holland park to stop using fee-paying private schooling in favour of a free education at their local Academy.

A local benefactor has paid for a sculpture by Anthony Gormley to grace the new Academy, which is reputed to have cost the Council £100m to build. The rebuild was funded by selling part of the old school’s site to a property developer and a massive development of luxury homes is currently under construction. This follows a Council decision not to require any social rented or affordable homes to be built on site, making the luxury homes particularly attractive to foreign investors.

Kensington and Chelsea Labour Group Leader Cllr Judith Blakeman said: ‘We have opposed this change. The Academy benefits just as much as the pupils do from the current diverse intake of children. This in turn promotes social cohesion across the borough and indeed some of its star pupils destined for Oxbridge have come from North Kensington. It is a discriminatory and short-sighted policy which I hope that local resident and Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove will deplore. Even his own children will be disadvantaged by this proposed change.’

Labour’s education spokesperson Cllr Robert Atkinson added: ‘It beggars belief that Holland Park Academy initiated this consultation without informing Council members, but more importantly not even telling the head teachers of the local primary schools. This smacks of a conspiracy between the Academy and the Council leadership deliberately to exclude deprived and under-privileged children from the high quality education and facilities offered by Holland Park. It is quite disgraceful that the Tory Council expects the taxpayer to fund such an exclusive school.’

Labour supports OCS picket

27 August 2013
GMB OCS strikers with Labour Cllrs and supporters 2 27.8.13Labour councillors and activists today joined the picket line with strikers from the OCS contractors who provide cleaning services to all the Council’s housing estates. Unlike other contract staff, these cleaners not only earn much less than the London Living Wage (£7.18 per hour rather than £8.55 per hour) but have had their pay frozen for the coming year, while other contract staff will get an increase of 3%.
Such low pay makes it impossible for workers to live in London and bring up their families without recourse to welfare top-ups, such as Housing Benefit. OCS shareholders have long enjoyed healthy dividends from the efforts of these dedicated low paid workers and the company can well afford to pay a decent living wage. Instead, shareholders enjoy a subsidy from every income tax payer (including OCS cleaners) whose hard earned money provides the welfare benefits that top up low pay and deliver huge company profits.
Labour Group Leader Cllr. Judith Blakeman said “It is disgraceful that the Council and the TMO, unlike even the Mayor of London, do not require all their contractors to pay the London Living Wage to their workers, many of whom have served them loyally for a very long time”. Cllr. Pat Mason, Labour’s trade union liaison officer, added: “it is not a matter of residents having to pay higher service charges for cleaning. OCS shareholders should take their fair share of cuts in these times of austerity and top managers should stop expecting the tax payer to subsidise their bonuses”.
Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors in Kensington and Chelsea have consistently refused Labour demands that all the Council’s contract staff be paid the London Living Wage. While most of the Council’s contractors do pay it, Labour councillors expect a fair and consistent approach to all workers delivering services to Borough residents and urge OCS to get back to the negotiating table.

150% COUNCIL TAX ON EMPTY AND SECOND HOMES, demands Kensington Labour


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14.12.12

Kensington and Chelsea Labour councillors are urging the Conservative ruling group to withdraw the current 10% discount and raise the Council Tax payable on all second homes by 150% in the Borough from next April.

Labour Leader Cllr. Judith Blakeman said: “it is a disgrace that so many homes in this Borough are bought up as second, third or fourth homes by wealthy buyers and then left empty for most or all of the year. Since the Tory-led government won’t introduce a mansion tax or raise the number of Council Tax bands, this is the best option for us to achieve greater fairness”. Councils as disparate as the London Borough of Camden and Cornwall County Council, both blighted by excessive second homes, have already agreed to increase the tax on those properties. Kensington and Chelsea Labour councillors are urging the Conservative ruling group to raise the Council Tax payable on all second homes in the Borough from next April.

Labour draws attention to developments such as Chelsea Harbour, where the lights burn at night in only a very few of the hundreds of flats there. New developments, such as in Kensington High Street/Warwick Road, are actively marketed to foreign buyers seeking a safe haven, a trophy London home to add to their investment portfolio. They purchase homes in London but rarely, if ever, occupy them, they make no contribution to local community life and some areas of the Borough are now empty shells in the evenings and at weekends.

Labour Finance Spokeswoman Cllr. Emma Dent Coad said: “the coalition government keeps talking about ‘fairness’. Well, we think it is unfair that people like Mrs. Braithwaite, who lives in Golborne Ward and works tirelessly on behalf of her neighbours and her community, pays just £35 less Council Tax each month than the Sultan of Brunei, who has a rarely used mansion near Kensington Palace.”

Labour are preparing their alternative budget for the forthcoming 2013/14 Council Tax year. They will be focusing on children, young people, a local Olympic legacy and the need to protect vulnerable residents in the face of continuing Conservative cuts to services. Although the Tories claim that the Tri-borough initiative with Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham will prevent cuts to front line services, in reality cuts are being made. One of the most savage is the massive cut in child care for working families, forcing parents, mainly mothers, into unemployment and out of the education and training that would prepare them for the jobs market. Other cuts, to street cleaning for example, have made even the very best streets in the borough dirty and shabby.

The 2011 Census reveals that there are at least 9,303 second homes in the borough. The figure for those owning more than one “second home” in the borough are not available but is also significant. The additional money that raising the Council Tax on these properties would bring will enable some of the most damaging front line service cuts to be reversed.