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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Open letter to the Leader of Ealing Council

Dear Leader of the Council,

At the Council meeting [16th October] I asked you a question relating to the fact that Southfield's share of grade A streets is ten percent below the average. It is not the only ward in Ealing where this is happening. Truly shocking.

I have given you and Ealing Council’s management staff over a week to come up with details of what they will do for Southfield - extra staff, forcing staff who are not up to scratch to be dismissed or re-trained, or something else. So far not a response from anyone. Head in the sand? You know the issues that continue in Southfield. Whether it was the non-collection of household waste or recyclables in April and May, things are the same now.

Being somewhat cynically I can only assume that there is a political bias as to some wards being treated worse than others. Southfield was the ward that suffered the most from April’s non collection problems and again the streets are the dirtiest of ALL twenty-tree wards in Ealing.

This leaves both Ealing Council and Enterprise with a less than poor reputation - which is getting worse. I expect residents to be treated fairly and correctly. The longer their [Enterprise’s] sad performance continues, the greater the chance there is of their organisation folding. Because Ealing is not paying out for their poor service is irrelevant.

I expect some clear action plan which is communicated to ward councillors and residents, as to how things can be improved in a number of wards like Southfield which are the most badly hit.

Councillor Gary Malcolm,
Leader of Ealing Liberal Democrat Group

Thursday, 18 October 2012

See where Ealing Council wasted £40,000 of OUR money

At Ealing Council's most important meeting for discussing issues there were a number of topics that were discussed:

  • Official - the streets in Southfield are the worst
  • Ealing Council wastes £40,000 on a magazine that was not needed
  • The legacy of the Olympics and the Paralympics
  • Why the Lib Dems are the only party truly against Heathrow expansion

Southfield: 23rd out of 23 wards!
Myself, Councillors Andrew Steed and Harvey Rose and many hundreds of residents have wondered why their streets have been left dirty, litter filled and in need of some TLC. The answer is that the combination of Ealing Council's management of, and their contractor, Enterprise, has been an utter disaster.

Labour: dirty streets
When official figures showed that for September that the streets of Southfield are the dirtiest in the WHOLE borough, then I jumped at the chance to ask what the Leader of the Council will do to ensure Southfield is looked at with more importance. His answer was that he would speak to me afterwards. Hardly an answer. I am still awaiting a full reply. This contractor has been allowed to get away with extremely poor service since April. They should be fined. Perhaps money is all they understand.

Labour's waste of £40,000
Liberal Democrat Councillors Jon Ball and Andrew Steed spoke up against the spending of £40,000 on a magazine (called "Altogether Better") which told residents what they already knew. It did not add anything from Around Ealing which it produces about ten times a year. Labour's top finance spokeswomen said in the debate: "Silly little things like £40,000". I think £40,000 is a lot of money. That could fund the salary of two people to help clean our streets, a teacher or many other things that Ealing would get some benefit from. Instead we saw Labour deny that there is a problem. One one hand it says "We don't have any money" and then it spends £40,000 on a magazine that is not needed.

An Olympic Legacy in Ealing?
Next I raised an item which the chamber agreed with, stating that the Olympics and the Paralympics were a massive success for London and could bring a positive improvement to West London. I did state that Ealing Council has many fine sporting facilities and parks but they need to promote them through the website and other methods so that more kids can get into the habit of playing competitive or non-competitive sports.

This would be great for people's health but also might lead us to more medals in future Olympic Games. I also went to talk about facilities for those who are disabled. We need as a borough, to do more to not just provide access to transport, but to other community facilities as well.

Liberal Democrats against Heathrow expansion
 Liberal Democrats the only party against Heathrow Expansion
With the Conservatives almost likely to change their current official position, and so will be for expanding Heathrow after the next general election in 2015. So no one can trust that promise.

The Liberal Democrats have been consistently against Heathrow expansion. And remember that the Labour party changed their position after the last general election. But their leader Ed Miliband has not said much to make me think he is actively against it. Action not words please.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Ealing Liberal Democrats submit response to hospital consultation

Ealing Liberal Democrats have submitted their formal response to NHS North West as part of their hospital consultation to downgrade a number of local hospitals.

The Liberal Democrats have been very active and took part in the march on Ealing Common two weeks ago, where I spoke to the thousands of people who had gathered to share their opposition to the proposed closure of many local Accident and Emergency wards.

Councillor Nigel Bakhai on Ealing Common at the rally
Councillor Nigel Bakhai sent in the Liberal Democrat's submission and said this to me about the issue: "There is a case for improving healthcare and hospitals across the area.

However, the case is not made for the specific proposals and how closing A&Es and other hospital services will deliver better health outcomes. We are concerned about the extra distances that patients and ambulances will have to travel in an emergency if you reduce the number of A&Es. There are poor transport links between Ealing and Northwick Park or West Middlesex, and more patients in the West of the borough are likely to go to Hillingdon than the consultation expects."

There is also result in more pressure on already over stretched GP practices and on the remaining hospitals which are left after the reconfiguration. The population of Ealing is growing as well as aging and we should be improving hospital services not reducing them.

Finally, much of the area around Southall is deprived, and as a result its population tends to have greater health needs and it therefore does not make sense that Ealing should be downgraded to be a “local hospital” which will effectively be little more than a polyclinic when there is so much local demand on existing health services.

This is only the start of the fight to protect these local heath facilities.