Can I come to Mr Daniel’s party?
I SEE on his intranet blog that Gareth Daniel is planning to have a party to celebrate the conclusion of HIS 14 years’ service as Brent Council’s chief executive. Can I come? After all, as a local tax payer, I and many others would like to celebrate with him. We love a party, especially when we’re paying for it.
Perhaps he may also consider inviting some of the local school kids from Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton who have recently lost their libraries. These are the children from local schools who could walk as a class to read and be inspired or find a place away from distractions where they could do their homework or use the internet.
Or maybe he may wish to invite some of the local shopkeepers from Harlesden, Kingsbury, East Lane or, more recently, Bridge Road and Preston Road where their customers now have to suffer pay and display parking charges of £2.40 per hour.
Some of these shopkeepers are currently reporting a 20 to 30 per cent drop in turnover. Some, like Mr Daniel, are thinking of leaving the borough.
I am sorry he will not be around at the opening of the new civic centre. This project was conceived under his watch. The fact that this building is now too small to accommodate the council’s ever-expanding office staff, with additional office space now proposed at a redeveloped Willesden Green Library Centre, and that the project is over-budget by around £20million is nothing for him to now worry about.
Hopefully, event days permitting, we’ll all be there next year at the opening, reflecting on the 20 years of interest charges the council will have to pay to service the loan.
So, at Mr Daniels’ party, let’s drink a toast to the health and prosperity to the good citizens of Brent. We’ll need it. After all, we are the ones who will be picking up the tab.
n A Brent Council spokesman said: “The council’s plans remain the same – we have always said we would have two main centres, one in the north and one in the south of the borough. The project is on time and on budget and the building will accommodate 2,300 staff and partners.”
So departure will have no impact...
I SEE from page 40 of the agenda for Brent Council’s audit committee for Thursday, September 27, that the departure of Brent Council’s chief executive, Gareth Daniel, ‘is not expected to have any material impact on the operations of the council or its ability to conduct its affairs’.
If this is true, then what on earth was Brent Council paying him £200,000 each year to do?
New services will improve NHS
Regarding the letter, People are afraid of losing A&E, in the Observer Letters of September 13, Sarah Cox raises a number of understandable concerns around the planned closure of Central Middlesex’s A&E. However, it is important to note the work we are doing in North West London is about more than just A&Es – it’s a wide-reaching improvement to the way people access healthcare.
In Brent, we will spend between £10million and £12m more per year on health services in the community, which will provide around 100 additional health workers including GPs and nurses.
Northwick Park Hospital has already applied for funding to improve its capacity to deal with the demand.
In our consultation about the future, we are proposing that we have fewer A&Es – but with increased investment. These bigger A&Es will be able to deal with additional patients and will have more senior doctors available on site for more hours of the day than is currently possible.
It is not true to say we have only recently begun discussions with London Ambulance Service. It has been engaged since this programme began last year. Funding for additional ambulance services will be agreed.
Together, these changes will mean patients will get to A&E quickly, be seen quickly – by a senior doctor – and be safer.
The majority of people needing hospital treatment will continue go to an urgent care centre (UCC) such as the one already at Central Middlesex. Those requiring A&E treatment are likely to have a condition which requires an ambulance which will take them immediately to the correct type of facility.
The London Ambulance Service report into our proposals shows that no one will have more than six minutes extra travel time to an A&E.
The UCC at Central Middlesex will be able to do tests including X-rays and blood tests, minor surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation to deal with the majority of injuries such as strains, sprains, cuts and broken arms; scalds and burns; stomach pains; and infections.
Health commissioners do want to reduce the amount of money spent in hospitals but this is so they can spend more of the budget on providing services closer to people’s homes, helping people stay healthy, managing conditions and thus preventing unnecessary hospital admission.
These new services, along with a better A&E, are what an area with high levels of poverty and deprivation desperately needs.
We urge Brent residents to find out more about the Shaping a Healthier Future plans and visit www.healthiernorthwestlondon.nhs.uk.
DR MARK SPENCER
GP and medical director, Shaping a Healthier Future
NHS NW London
MP has trodden on her principles
RECENTLY we heard Sarah Teather say she was returning to Brent to spend more time in her constituency after being banished to the government back benches during last week’s reshuffle kerfuffle.
Ever since her sensational election victories in Brent East and Brent Central, Sarah Teather has always modelled herself as the perfect MP. She was always on your side and always taking-up issues that mattered to you. However, since entering government, Sarah Teather has all but neglected the people of Brent and shamefully trodden all over her Lib Dem principles.
In her maiden speech, she lambasted the Higher Education Bill in 2004 which introduced top-up fees, declaring: “This Bill must be defeated. The government is trying to make access to higher education dependent on the ability to pay, when it should be on the ability to learn.”
Shockingly, six years later she forgot all about her constituents during the winter of 2010 and voted to increase tuition fees to £9,000.
Young people from Brent going to university are now to be straddled with debts of up to £60,000, thanks to their local MP.
Then there was the airport passenger duty tax. It was widely criticised for taxing travellers more to fly to the Caribbean than to the west coast of America, despite being 700 miles closer.
Brent has the highest number of people of Caribbean heritage in the UK, prompting Sarah Teather to lead a high profile campaign against the tax. She labelled it unfair and unacceptable. But, six months after she entered government, the tax was increased by 25 per cent.
She can come back to Brent to ply her usual Lib-Dem tactic of pavement politics. But it’s her government that broke the pavement in the first place with its cuts to local government.
CLLR ZAFFAR VAN KALWALA
Brent Town Hall
Petrol price probe is most welcome
THE news that the government is to investigate the oil market regarding petrol prices – thanks to the efforts of Robert Halfron MP and others – is most welcome.
In this financial climate, it is so important that people have the ability and freedom to get around, and seemingly ever-increasing fuel costs make that so difficult for many.
In addition, with the number of petrol stations and forecourts decreasing every year – with only 8,500 now in the UK compared with quadruple that number 40 years ago – opportunities to refuel are both in decline and spread more sparsely.
I know this from personal experience with forecourt closures in Headstone Lane and Brockhurst Corner in recent years. This means that people have to travel specifically to refuel more than ever before, so ensuring the price is as low as possible is increasingly important.
CLLR SUSAN HALL
Leader of Harrow Council Conservative Group
We are trying to help SMEs
SMALL and medium size companies are the lifeblood of London and the British economy.
That’s why I am proud to report back that myself and Conservative colleagues in the European Parliament have proposed measures to prevent regulations that come from Brussels from harming small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
By forcing the European Commission to seriously consider the impact a proposal might have on small businesses and whether it is actually necessary, it is hoped that burdensome regulation will be reduced.
By limiting as far as possible unnecessary costs for small businesses, we can help London’s full entrepreneurial potential to be fulfilled.
Conservative MEP for London
Budget restricts our road repairs
I AM writing in response to a letter written about Southdown Crescent (Why improve just half of crescent? Observer, September 13).
The resident referred to the repaving of one side of Southdown crescent and asked when the other side would also be repaved.
We know that the presentation of our streets and communities is very important to our residents and the council, and an independent team of engineers assesses the quality of every road in the borough every two years.
However, because of budget restraints, we can only focus on those pavements which are most in need of repair.
Sometimes, this means that one side of the pavement is in more need of repair than the other side, which is what has happened in this case.
COUNCILLOR PHILLIP O’DELL
Portfolio holder for environment and community safety
Couples wanted for TV interviews
ARE you in a relationship? Would you like to take part in a new series about couples?
Sky is making a warm and charming new interview-based TV series about young couples, aged 18 or over and the experiences they share while living with each other, and is looking for people from Harrow or Brent to take part.
But don’t worry – we’re not going to follow you around with a camera for days and days. We are offering couples the chance to take part in a one-off interview together, filmed in your own home.
If you can reveal what makes your partner special and offer an insight into your relationship, or if you can think of a couple you know, get in touch with the team now.
Call 020 7428 5755 or email email@example.com.
Teens need to be aware of cancer
TEENAGE Cancer Awareness Week will be running from October 1 to 7, and we are encouraging secondary school teachers to get involved and speak to young people about cancer. We’d also love to see parents encouraging their son or daughter’s secondary schools to take part.
Six young people are diagnosed with cancer every day – that’s around 2,500 a year. The symptoms can be easily missed, while young people often put off going to the doctors because they are scared, embarrassed or lack confidence.
We owe it to the young people diagnosed every day to arm pupils with basic information about cancer. This includes the most common signs of cancer in 13 to 24-year-olds, which are persistent and unexplained: pain, a lump, bump or swelling, extreme tiredness, significant weight loss, or changes in a mole.
Please get involved and encourage your local secondary school to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer in young people. Free Teenage Cancer Awareness Week leaflets, posters and teaching packs can be downloaded from www.teenagecancertrust.org.
Teenage Cancer Trust