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Monday, 29 August 2016

Since Sadiq Khan has been elected...

It is only recently since the London Mayoral and Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections but one u-turn, one untruth and one borrowed policy have taken place!

We saw Sadiq Khan elected, but within days we saw him announce that it was going to be difficult to deliver the number of new affordable homes he promised. Being the Mayor of London is a privilege and was never to be easy, but to give up on possibly the most important policy area so soon is very sad for many residents who live in Ealing.

Sadiq Khan then reneged on his fares promise. He said: “Londoners won’t pay a penny more for their travel in 2020 than they do today.” But the truth of his policy has been uncovered recently when it appeared that he will only freeze part of the transport fares, excluding many commuters using travelcards. In the election Liberal Democrats said it was not possible to freeze the fares and so it is obvious that many Londoners have been fobbed off with a policy helping only some of those who were given the impression everyone would benefit.

Policy borrowed: Liberal Democrats welcome the announcement from Transport for London, that a one-hour bus ticket will come into effect in September. Though Sadiq Khan is happy lapping up the glory for the one-hour ticket, it was not his idea. Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon campaigned on the policy since 2009.

Liberal Democrats want to see transport policies that make it easier for people to travel and cheaper for those who work on lower than average wages such as cleaners who have early starts before many of us have woken up.

It was great to see Caroline Pidgeon taking over as Chair of the Transport Committee. She is the most experienced GLA member and she has taken a great interest and solved many local issues in Ealing borough.

London Liberal Democrats will be pushing for more openness in City Hall, where the Mayor works. We have seen that the previous Mayor chose to hide a report which demonstrated that over 400 schools in London are located in areas that exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide. The Mayor and the Greater London Assemby need to make sure that they and Ealing Council take action to improve our air quality. Anything else and we are harming our children and the lives of 7 million residents.

Ealing Council needs to listen to residents

In recent times Ealing Council has a reputation for closing vital services like day centres for the mentally ill, elderly residents and those who are severely disabled.

On top of this, Labour-run Ealing Council, has a record of allowing large developments to be built when the borough is left with not enough social or affordable housing to be built. Many have said that converting the Town Hall into a hotel is selling off the family silver like reducing the size of the main library in Ealing.

Liberal Democrats believe that to improve an area you need to consult, inform and listen to residents.

Ealing Council has a poor record of enabling residents to give their views and ensure that they actually can change a plan for the better. Liberal Democrats know that unless you actively involve residents the outcome will not be as good.

In a scheme in Acton and Chiswick listening to suggestion from residents meant that a large park is more accessible, safer and used by a greater range of residents to keep fit.

When Labour-run Ealing Council decided to force wheelie bins on us, the possibility of the dirtier streets became a reality.

Whilst on a Council committee that discussed planning matters we heard stories of where people’s views were not listened to, were ignored and information was not available when it should have been. The Council takes too long to answer the phones or emails and often people say that when issues are reported nothing happens. People are left with no faith in Ealing Council and so do not always report problems.

As vice chair of a committee on the Council’s digital approach and its website, I am looking to hear Ealing residents’ views on what they think of the Council’s website. What works and what does not? What services should the Council and its website offer? How should Ealing Council serve residents who are not experienced with using IT?

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