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Saturday, 15 October 2016

More Council spending should be done at a local level

It is wonderful when residents attend Council meetings to give their views on how their Council taxes are being spent.

What is sad though is that there are too few people attending meetings because the process seems to not want people to have their say. The Liberal Democrats are the only party in Ealing Borough to be proactive to want views and act up on them, raising these matters in Council meetings.

A great example of this is where the Labour party cut the number of local ward meetings (where local issues are discussed) from 4 to 2. The Southfield Liberal Democrats made a commitment to fund two additional meetings so we still have four meetings a year. In fact, we are the only party who have done this in our borough!

Some of the successes that we have shared and developed with residents include:

  • New lighting across over half the ward.
  • Stopped cuts to the local police team.
  • Additional play equipment in local parks to encourage more children and adults to exercise and not put on weight.
  • Working with local residents' groups and the police team to make the area safer and more attractive.
  • Many initiatives to help support cyclists.
  • Lighting across well used parks to reduce the attacks and the fear of crime particularly reported from women.
  • 20 mph traffic scheme to reduce accidents to pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers.

One of the problems we face is that Labour-run Ealing Council has made cuts so that people are not consulted in a way that is acceptable to many. This is especially true of planning matters where many residents have not been informed apart from a notice on a lamppost away from where they live.

Liberal Democrats want to see more decisions taken locally at a ward level or clusters of wards. To do this, it would not require any more money, but simply the decision making powers are taken at a more appropriate level which means more residents can be involved in the decision making process.

The areas of decision making could be some of the following:

  • Street lighting
  • Pavement repairs 
  • Road resurfacing
  • Tree planting sites
  • Improvements to parks
  • Road safety schemes

This would lead to a greater openness. Many council decisions are taken in meetings that are either not public or not publicised. It would be great to open up Council meetings having a live feed for important meetings. Advertising should be looked at to see if this is feasible. Many local companies would pay if they knew a controversial debate was taking place about a planning issue or concerning a possible new Controlled Parking Zone scheme.

Liberal Democrats are proud that we constantly want to know what is important to residents and then act to improve our local area.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Good politicians empower residents and lead the way

It is common for politicians to think only they can fix problems.

It is my belief that good politicians both empower residents by both not just solving a residents' issue when the Council has let them down - but to show how the problem was fixed. The latter can be done by keeping the resident involved in the communication throughout the whole process so the residents knows you are working to both help them but not afraid to give the details of the person who will actually solve the problem.

Also it is important to lead and show the way. This might be when a difficult matter takes place such as the riots in Ealing. Leaders will get out there to say what was done was wrong and helped as part of the clean up.

As the Liberal Democrat leader in Ealing I think it is important to show that despite not all of us being either in work or paid much, there are people elsewhere in the world who are in great need. This could be Syria or countries where earthquakes or famines have taken place.

I love trekking and have set upon a sixteen day trek to the Mount Everest Base camp in Nepal to raise money for DEC (Disaster Emergency Committee) who help around the world when earthquakes, famines and tsunamis arrive.

Many parts of Nepal are still suffering after the earthquakes hit in 2015 and I knew one of the mountaineers who was on Mount Everest when the earthquakes struck. He survived but many villages and thousands of people lost their lives. Even more people lost their homes and shelter.

If you are able to contribute that would be wonderful and the link to use is:

When I come back from Nepal I hope that I will be able to share stories of how charitable monies have helped the people of Nepal.

I finish by saying we all should look to help others. This could be a neighbour who is vulnerable or a friend who has been burgled. Both may need your help. Any one day you may need their help.