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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Do you want to be a part of the Neigbourhood Watch (NHW) scheme?

In Southfield there are lots of Neighbourhood Watch schemes covering a lot of streets. However not every street is covered and it would be great to have more volunteers.

Neighbourhood Watch coordinators tend to inform neighbours of any recent crimes to residents in their street. Some hold meetings with the police and ward Councillors to pass on tips about reducing crimes such as theft from motor cars and burglary.

Smart Water!
Quite simply they are the eyes and ears of the street which can help the police gain information of when potential criminals might be planning a crime (such as viewing inside cars to see if they should break into a car). Or reporting broken glass - a sign that cars have been broken into (but are often not reported due to insurance excesses.

Some look after a number of streets, but most often a coordinator will look after a section of a road.

Many people become a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator when the have suffered a crime, want their local area to feel or actually be safer.

As part of the NHW scheme large numbers of smart water kits have been distributed. Smart Water allows you to uniquely mark your property so if it does get stolen it can be more easily brought back to you. It can also deter criminals as they know that if they enter a property marked with Smart Water they can be marked with the unique substance which would link them to entering a property illegally.

The Southfield Park Triangle Residents Association (SPTRA) have done a magnificent job in promoting Smart Water to residents in their area.

If you would like to hear more about becoming a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator in Southfield please let me know via southfield@ealinglibdems.org.uk

Gary Malcolm with the local police team in Southfield
Especially if you are new to the area, you might wish to contact the local police team? The local team (which has additional officers who also patrol the area) is made up of Inspector Graham Durn, Acting Sergeant Carl Massey, PC Simon Cole and PCSO Stuart Honey.

Their main phone number is 020 8721 2946.

If you see a crime happening please call 999. If you are not sure how important something is which you spotted, please either call 999 so they can prioritise, or 101 which will mean your observations will be passed to the local Southfield team. They may then contact you if they require more information.

Some top tips to reduce crime include:

  • Even in Summer try not to leave the windows open as burglars may use these (even small ones) to get access your home.
  • Do not leave loose change in your car as it will attract people who may think other items are stored.
  • Leave the glove department open and empty so they can see that nothing is in the glove department.


Haw you any crime tips...if you please tweet @cllrgarymalcolm

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ealing is better if we stay in the European Union

Liberal Democrats are proud of the European Union and are fighting for us to stay IN Europe when the referendum takes place on 23rd June.

I come from a position where it is better to discuss differences with others, rather than isolate ourselves. Reforms are certainly needed within the European Union but we NEED to be at the table to influence any reforms.

Councillor Gary Malcolm
Groups like the EU, NATO and the United Nations – can deal with shared issues better. Only the EU with others can make changes to significantly reduce the effects of Global warming.

And through agreed EU standards, our rivers and beaches are cleaner. Good for Britain and as a tourist destination.

In a previous job, I was a workplace union representative. There are key sets of Health and Safety legislation which protect staff and make the workplace safer.

Over 3 million British jobs are directly linked to British membership of the European Union’s single market. That’s 1 in 10 British jobs. You also get the additional jobs, indirectly through supply chains.

Exports & investment - The EU buys over 50 per cent of UK exports (54 per cent of goods, 40 per cent of services). Over 300,000 British companies and 74 per cent of British exporters operate in other EU markets. American and Asian EU firms build factories in Britain because we are in the single market.

International mobile phone charges were reduced because of the European Union and Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder.

The European Arrest Warrant replaced long extradition procedures and enables the UK to extradite criminals wanted in other EU countries.

Research funding - The UK is the second largest beneficiary of EU medical research funds.

Freedom to work, study and travel abroad – 1.4 million British people live abroad in the EU. More than 14,500 UK students took part in the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange scheme in 2012-13. Driving licences issued in the UK are valid throughout the EU.

I prefer the CERTAINTY of staying in the EU vs the UNCERTAINTY of leaving the EU.

The EU benefits the UK, London and Ealing – directly and indirectly.

If you would like to know more please visit the Stronger In website!

Let us vote to stay IN Europe.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Ealing’s Wheelie bin madness

In early June, Ealing will see most of borough covered with wheelie bins. Many rural boroughs make use of wheelie bins. Many urban places do not, and for a number of good reasons.

The main reason is the lack of space. When questioned, Labour-run Ealing Council, stated that only 2% of people would be exempt from having wheelie bins but in many wards, including Southfield, the figure is over 10%

Wheelie bins: eyesores
The Council is wrong in its basic assumptions.

When Councils want to make controversial changes, they should consult. Sutton Council did this and people accepted the result as the Council was up-front and honest – even if the decision is not what some residents wanted.

Previously, Ealing Council did consult, and most wards did not want wheelie bins. People were happy because the ones who wanted bins got them, and those that didn’t, did not.

Liberal Democrats say residents should have been consulted, but the Labour party arrogantly think they know best!

In 2014 all the political parties in Ealing were against them. But as soon as the election took place they moved to change their policy. It gives a very poor view of Labour who keep making u-turn after u-turn.

No wonder people distrust politicians.

We now know more about the details of what people will be forced to accept:

  • The cost of the wheelie bin will be over £3 million!
  • Too many homes have too small a front garden or area to house the two wheelie bins. Many people will not be able to store their garden waste bag and kitchen waste bin.
  • Many residents have told me to they will have to pavement over their garden as those collecting the bins will stamp on their flower bed.
  • One resident said he will need to sell his child’s bike and get rid of a small shed!
  • The smaller bin is the same height as the larger one which means they will still cause an eyesore.
  • Some people want a smaller recyclables bin but the Council will not allow this.
  • Your old bins will not be taken away by the Council.
  • When people challenge the decision they arrogantly get an auto reply email essentially saying ‘tough luck’!

In summary Labour-run Ealing Council is not listening to its residents. They are arrogant and our borough will be worse off.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Easter rubbish and recycling collection changes

Ealing Council is reminding residents that rubbish and recycling collections will be carried out a day later than usual from Monday 28th March until Saturday 2nd April.

Councillor Gary Malcolm recycling
Collections will take place as normal on Good Friday (25 March).

Usual collection day          Revised collection day
Mon 28th March                  Tues 29th March
Wed 30th March                 Thurs 31st March
Fri 1st April                         Tues 29th March
Wed 30th March                 Thurs 31st March
Fri 1st April                          Sat 2nd April

Collections will return to normal on Monday 4th April.

We have been told that rubbish and recycling should be left at the front of the property (not on the pavement) by 7am on the collection day.

The re-use and recycling centres at Stirling Road, Acton will stay open as usual throughout the bank holiday period.

Junior Doctors, Mental Health and Cannabis

Ealing has seen a reduction in the provision of healthcare locally over the past few years.

We have lost the Accident and Emergency service we had and the maternity ward. This has meant that patients, mothers and family members are having to travel much further to get vital health care.
The Liberal Democrats campaigned against these changes but Conservative Health Minister Jeremy Hunt made the decision to axe some of these important services.

Junior Doctors striking
The recent strike by junior doctors is a worrying event. Doctors rarely go on strike and the changes that the government proposed have been attacked by many. The morale of many nurses and doctors is at an all time low.

It is right that we should be looking to have an urgent healthcare system that operates seven days a week but many services do operate seven days a week. If we do, doctors and nursing staff need to be given a fair deal in terms of their working conditions.

If doctors, nurses and other staff are working over the weekend this needs to be done in a way that makes use of those who wish to work at weekends or pay more for the inconvenience that many will suffer.

So how can we settle the uncertainty that the Health Minister has caused? Firstly more money might be needed to make improvements to our health service. Some of this could come from the legalising of cannabis.

The evidence is pretty clear that legalising cannabis for personal use only, would help both ease the pain of many patients with terminal illnesses as well as generate addition tax income for the government which could be spent on health services.

The Economist recently published a paper called “Regulating Cannabis - the right way to do drugs”. It showed that outlawing cannabis use is not a gateway to harder drugs and in some cases people reduce their drug usage.

By legalising the cultivation, the sale and the consumption of cannabis the regulations would generate a safer outcome as well as generating income for the state. You would also take out the cartels who illegally smuggle and trade drugs.

Another area that needs real improvement is that of mental health. When the Liberal Democrats were in government we ensured that more money was given to this vital area. We need to be better at identifying those who have mental health issues and help treat them. The Conservative government has gone back on some of its pledges which is a sad state of affairs.

So in Ealing and across the country we need to improve our healthcare – I have shown how this could be achieved.

Clearly in the short term the Liberal Democrats believe our doctors and nurses should be supported. The current government appears not to want to give some doctors are fair settlement.

A fairer settlement would mean a more motivated workforce.

That is what Ealing needs.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Ealing Council needs to support its most vulnerable

Over the past couple of years Ealing Council has made a number of decisions which have or will harm some of our most vulnerable residents.

Although Ealing Council has been given less money by the government in the past few years it still has control over hundreds of millions of pounds. So, Ealing Council can still make choices to protect both our front line services and those that are used by the disabled, those who are ill, the elderly and others in need.
Gary Malcolm being handed a
Council Tax Support petition 

Initially there were closures of a number of key day centres affecting many elderly users. Ealing Council tried to close the Solace Centre that helps users with mental health issues. Luckily for the users, the Council made a rare U-turn when a large borough wide campaign was set up to save the Solace Centre. The Liberal Democrats help to support the Solace Centre.

However at the same time the Carlton Road Day Centre was closed. The Day Centre was used by profoundly disabled and those users had to find alternative help which will either cost more, provide a lesser quality service or both. Shame on Labour for closing this day centre.

The latest problem that Labour-run Ealing Council is causing some residents is when they again reduced the Council Tax Support payments. Council Tax Support is a discount that helps people on low income to pay their council tax. The amount of support you get will depend on your circumstances and how much council tax you pay.

Currently there are about 26,000 claimants, and figures show that over 5000 claimants are in arrears already and over 3000 residents have summons against their name.

So Ealing Council know that these individuals are in financial difficulties but they are to not only make it worse for them, but also add many more residents who will need to pay. Not only is this mean and vicious but asking for additional money from someone who cannot pay is likely to yield little compared to what they anticipate the changes will bring.

But it gets worse than: Ealing Council will now be able to reduce the discount by another 5% in April 2017.

The Liberal Democrats in Ealing have been fighting to protect the services that the most needy in Ealing require, to have a satisfactory life. It is wrong of Labour-run Ealing Council to make these cuts which will leave the most deprived residents even deeper into poverty.

I thank the London based organisation Z2K, who supports vulnerable benefit claimants. They produced two joint reports with the Child Poverty Action Group which examined the impact of localised Council Tax Support in London. Their findings are stark and claimants in Ealing will become much more vulnerable in the future.

Hardship will become more common. This is a stain on Ealing Council’s reputation and a ‘kick in the teeth’ to some of our most vulnerable residents.

I had hoped that 2016 would have begun with better news, but sadly not.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

My Christmas and New Year message

Christmas is a time where we all reflect about our lives; that of our family, our friends and others around the world.

At this time I think of those injured or have lost a family member in the sadly frequent terrorist events. One of my friends was shot in the Paris Bacalan music venue but left hospital recently. If you spot any of your friends who are not as happy as they usually are, please make sure you speak to them as this can be a time when people's mental health suffers to check they are okay.

Looking specifically to Ealing, next year will have seen Ealing Council close days centres and they still look to introduce policies which will cause problems to our most vulnerable residents.

Our biggest danger will be threat of expanding Heathrow, given the recent decision to pause for six months, so the government will make its decision in June. I hope you will join the Liberal Democrats in the campaign to improve the levels of air pollution across London.

I hope you all have a great vacation over this time.