Government budget cuts plan would take £6m from Putney schools

jeremy-and-pater-at-school-gatesRoehampton councillors Jeremy Ambache (left) and Peter Carpenter

The Government is proposing a major change to the funding of schools. The changes mean that schools in Putney will lose £5,994,867, or roughly 13% of their current budgets over the next 4 years.

Jeremy Ambache, Labour’s Education spokesperson and councillor for Roehampton has attacked the Tory plans, which would mean cuts equivalent to £740 per Putney pupil.

Councillor Ambache said: “The Government plans to cut almost £6m from schools in Putney by 2020. This is equivalent to losing 162 full time teacher posts and will have serious consequences for the education of local children. I appeal to Justine Greening – the Education Secretary – to stand up for her Putney constituents and to protect schools in her constituency by opposing these cuts”.

The Putney schools likely to be worst hit include:

Ashcroft Technical Academy which stands to lose £984,927 or 14% of its current budget, equivalent to £995 per pupil or 26 full time teachers.

Heathmere Primary School in Roehampton, which stands to lose £231,656, or 15% of its current budget, equivalent to £864 per pupil or 6 full time teachers;

Brandlehow Primary School which stands to lose £205,249, or 15% of its current budget, equivalent to £693 per pupil or 5 full time teachers and;

According to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) who compiled the figures, “We estimate that 92% of schools [in the UK] could face cuts in their funding per pupil in real terms over the next four years, with no local authority – and no MP – set to gain overall, even after the redistributive impact of the Government’s ‘fair funding’ proposals have been taken into account”.

Jeremy Ambache concluded: “Schools budgets have already been cut to the bone and schools in Putney simply cannot afford to lose yet more money. We need to invest in education and our Secretary of State for Education should be showing leadership. Failure to do so will mean seriously letting down a generation of children.”

To see how by much your school’s budget will be cut, visit the schoolcuts.org.uk website

Cornered council finally comes clean about rubbish-strewn streets

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Wandsworth Council recently voted to introduce litter wardens able to issue on the spot fines in an effort to stem the current rubbish crisis in the borough’s town centres.

The initiative follows a long and successful campaign by Wandsworth Labour councillors to push the council to recognise that it must do more to tackle flytipping and litter across the borough.

Labour’s new campaign started 18 months ago when Tooting councillor Candida Jones, together with local residents, launched the Clean Up Furzedown campaign to push the council to do more to deal with flytipping in her ward.

Following the success of this campaign, Graveney’s Labour councillors launched a similar initiative.

Tooting MP, Rosena Khan, has launched a high-profile Tidy up Tooting campaign.

Historically, the council has not done enough to tackle the problem of littering and flytipping. In Putney, residents have complained that a lack of bins at bus stops along Putney Heath means the litter is blowing into the Heath causing problems for wildlife.

Bins have been removed across the borough, prompting residents to use the hashtag #bingate.

Cllr Candida Jones said: “I am glad that litter wardens will now be patrolling. It goes to show that if you bang on about an issue long enough – and I have sent literally hundreds of photos of flytipping to the Council over the past 18 months – you can get the council to listen”.

She added: “As we suggested, the Council has launched an app, making it easier for residents to report flytipping and, now, litter wardens. Finally, the issue is being taken seriously”.

Wandsworth welcomes its first Syrian refugee family

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Almost a year to the day after Labour councillors first called on Wandsworth Council to assist refugee families from Syria, the Council has finally welcomed its first Syrian refugee family to the borough.

The family is being resettled under the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) Programme. The scheme, which houses refugees in private rental accommodation, is paid for by the Home Office.

Councillor Fleur Anderson, Wandsworth Labour’s Deputy Leader and a member of Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees, said: “For a year we have been pushing the Council to do more to help people fleeing the war in Syria so I am delighted and proud that the Council is finally stepping up to the plate”.

She added: “The last time this was debated, we extracted a promise that the Council would take in a minimum of 10 families by next Summer and we will hold them to this”.

The VPR Programme targets the refugees “at greatest risk” where “evacuation from the region is the only option”, according to the Government. It says that particular attention is paid to survivors of torture and violence, or women and children who need medical care.

The government has pledged to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees and 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children by 2020.

Vote Aydin on November 10

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My name’s Aydin Dikerdem. I’m standing to be your councillor in the election on Thursday, November 10.

As someone born and bred in Battersea, I’m excited about the chance to serve my community. I’ve been out listening to local people every day. Find out how you can volunteer to join me.

My top priority is to focus on the housing crisis. I know how hard it is to get a place of your own in Battersea so I want more genuinely affordable homes for local people.

I was delighted to be endorsed by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, whose priority is better housing for Londoners.

I love Battersea and I want to protect its culture and heritage. Battersea Park should not have been used as a motor-racing track and we must make sure the park is fully restored to how it was before Formula E.

Sally-Ann Ephson was elected a Labour councillor here by just 75 votes in 2014. This election is going to be very close and your vote will be crucial.

Action on the local housing crisis

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I grew up in Battersea – me and my friends know just how hard it is to get a place of your own.

So many young people are stuck renting. Anna, a teacher, pays £720 a month to share with 5 others in Battersea. She says: “I pay more than half my salary on rent. I just don’t have a chance to save any money.”

Some flats are in terrible condition. I recently called on a house in Queenstown Road that was divided up into 12 flats. Electrical wires trailed over a children’s buggy in the hallway. We can give renters a fair deal by ending letting fees and getting tough on rogue landlords.

This Tory council can’t solve the crisis. It refuses to build new council flats and it puts the interests of property developers ahead of local people.

Expensive flats are built for foreign investors. I don’t know a single local family who thinks they will get to live in the new Battersea Power Station flats. Labour will do better.

Save our local pub

There are plans to demolish Flanagan’s Pub on Battersea Park Road and replace it with flats.

Flanagan’s is an authentic Battersea pub that serves the surrounding areas superbly. The pub is welcoming, not too expensive and Gerry, the governor, is a great host.

It’s lovely that Chelsea pensioners travel down from Fulham Broadway for their weekly pint. Flanagan’s should be protected for the future, not turned into flats. Sign our petition here.

Sadiq Khan backs Aydin

mp_sadiq_khan“Aydin will be a great councillor. He’s Battersea born and bred and he’ll work his socks off to deliver results for local people.”

“Aydin follows in the footsteps of my friend Councillor Sally-Ann Ephson, who sadly died recently. Sally-Ann was a ray of sunshine, much-loved by all who knew her.

“I will remember Sally-Ann fondly as a dear friend, determined campaigner and, above all, as someone who never stopped smiling.”

Labour urges Council to do more to protect ‘deteriorating’ NHS services in Wandsworth

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Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP speaks in the debate

A deterioration in the standards, safety, waiting times and financial health at St George’s hospital were last week highlighted by the Wandsworth Labour Group in a debate at the Town Hall.

Speaking in the debate, Labour councillor Mark Thomas said the findings of a recent inspection of St George’s by the Care Quality Commission, were “frankly very concerning”.

Specifically, Cllr Thomas said he was concerned about overcrowding, electrical safety issues, a failure to meet the 4 hour A&E waiting time target, a year end forecast deficit of £55.5 million, a staff survey which reported unacceptable levels of bullying and harassment and the Trust’s “extreme” overall level of exposure to core operational risk.

He also noted that “the challenges faced by the Trust have been compounded by the industrial action caused by the Government’s mishandling of the junior doctor’s dispute”.

Speaking in the debate, Tooting MP, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, a former A and E doctor at St George’s hospital, made a passionate speech in defence of junior doctors, their commitment and hard work.

Continue reading “Labour urges Council to do more to protect ‘deteriorating’ NHS services in Wandsworth”

Tooting’s diversity is inspiring and liberating

image-11Councillor Paul White’s maiden speech to Wandsworth Council, October 2016

Thank you Mayor for allowing me to make my maiden speech during this debate around aspiration.

It is a topic I can speak on and it is with regret that I do so without my inspiration and the man who made me what I am today, as my father passed away 13 years ago.

He would be over joyed and not a little surprised, to see me as an elected Labour councillor, as he was an active trade unionist and Labour Party member in Merton and helped Siobhain McDonagh finally get elected, but it only took her 3 attempts and not four, like me!

My parents, were Irish immigrants to this country and were eager for their sons to do well and make our mark, a typical immigrant’s aspirational attitude to the opportunities offered here, but maybe not available at home.

I was brought up in social housing in Brixton and I have indeed been lucky enough to remain in social housing areas for all of my life.

It provided the platform for me and now one of my sons who is in university in America, having been inspired by the mixed area he grew up in and it’s this REALLY affordable environment that is important to maintain and continue to build, with every opportunity we have, including the Nine Elms development of which we now speak. Continue reading “Tooting’s diversity is inspiring and liberating”

Why Wandsworth Council must step up to the mental health challenge

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Speech to Wandsworth Council by councillor Rachael Stokes in recognition of World Mental Health Day 

Many of you will be familiar with the statistic that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in our lives. In this chamber, it means 15 of us.

Within Wandsworth, this equates to nearly 80,000 residents – with nearly 50,000 residents thought to have a mental disorder at this current time. If we have not personally experienced mental illness at some stage in our lives, then we almost certainly know friends or family that have.

The issue has a clear youth dimension: around half of those with mental health conditions will have experienced their first symptoms before the age of 14. In Wandsworth, the latest report on health and wellbeing of children and young people found that the proportion of year 7-10 pupils reporting ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ emotional health is in decline (from 74% to 72%).

The estimated prevalence of children aged 5-16 years in the Borough with mental health conditions is more than 3,400, with a much higher prevalence among males than females.

The imperative to act on mental health is ultimately one focused on ensuring everyone can fulfil their potential and live a healthy life. However, it is also clear that failure to address mental ill-health has broader social and economic consequences.

In England alone these are estimated to cost up to £105 billion a year – both from the inevitable impact on health and social care services through to lost economic output.

Continue reading “Why Wandsworth Council must step up to the mental health challenge”