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The Borough Organiser will be responsible for all aspects of Labour Party organisation within Brent. The post holder will be responsible for building and maintaining activity; establishing an effective election and campaign organisation ahead of the 2018 local elections.

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April News - Cllr Michael Pavey

Deputy Leader of Brent Council & Labour Councillor for Barnhill

The last month has been difficult. One of my best friends in the whole world, Cllr Tayo Oladapo, passed away following a long and courageous battle against serious illness. Grief is never easy. But grieving for a young man in his early 30s just feels wrong. Tayo was unique. He took his work astonishingly seriously. But he didn't take himself seriously at all. In the Civic

Tayo was unique. He took his work astonishingly seriously. But he didn't take himself seriously at all. In the Civic Centre he was known for his humbleness, his decency and the earnest sincerity with which he delivered his speeches. But away from politics he had a wonderfully irreverent sense of humour and loved to laugh at himself. His greatest passion in life wasn't politics, it was Michael Jackson.

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We became friends almost a decade ago, pounding the streets of Kilburn together as young activists. Often it was just the two of us, climbing block after block in South Kilburn. We had to climb them because Tayo was scared of lifts! The doorstep was where he was happiest and he had a rare gift for instantly connecting with people. He had no front, no pretences - people could immediately sense his sincerity. 

Politics is a dirty business and desperately needs good guys.

Tayo was one of the good guys. I miss him dearly. Equally sad was the passing of Barnhill resident and Labour stalwart Tony Burleton. At 90 years, Tony was in a very different place from Tayo. But the sadness is the same. 

 

I first met Tony when I was pitching to be Labour candidate in the 2012 Barnhill by-election. My knocking on his door woke him up and he told me in no uncertain terms that this wasn't a good time! In some ways this set the tone for our friendship. We disagreed on Europe. We disagreed on gay marriage. We disagreed on the monarchy. In fact, I can't immediately recall anything we actually agreed on! But I respected him immensely and secretly had great affection for him. There was something Churchillian about him: gruff, uncompromising, stubborn - but principled, determined and deeply loyal. He will be missed.

 

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Life is a cycle and after these bereavements it was a real pleasure to visit Alperton School sixth form to see the next generation in action. I was invited by Leesha Varsani, the brilliant Chair of Brent Youth Parliament, to take part in their EPQ presentations. Listening to these young people articulately debate topics such as feminism, euthanasia and obesity was truly inspiring. The media like portray young people in a negative light - absolute nonsense. Young people today work far harder under far greater pressure than in my day. The future is in good hands.

 

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Some great news this month. Following an external review, Brent has become one of the only Councils in the country to be rated "excellent" for our work on equalities.

In 2014 Brent lost an ugly Employment Tribunal on grounds of racial discrimination and I was asked to lead a fundamental review of our equalities practices. My review made some very challenging recommendations to tackle unconscious bias and to diversify senior management at the Council. I'm delighted that these interventions were singled out for praise in the external review. There is still a long way to go and we must never take our eye off the ball in pushing for true equality, but this "excellent" rating is a big step forward. 

More good news this month saw the Brent Cabinet agree a groundbreaking new Investment Strategy. This marks a radically new approach to the Council's reserves and borrowing. It is also a major statement of intent. 

 The strategy transforms the Council's approach to investment from safety-first conservatism to proactively seeking out "game-changing" investments. Investments which could genuinely transform Brent, such as securing a university campus or a Crossrail station in the Borough. And to prove that this isn't just rhetoric, the new strategy releases £12m from the Councils reserves to pump-prime these new investments. It's a huge change of ethos from Brent and genuinely exciting. 

Labour Councillor for Barnhill 

It's great to see a lot of investment going into Brent Housing Partnership homes across Barnhill. The blocks on King's Drive have received a major overhaul including new windows, new roofs and redecorated balconies. Meanwhile the homes off The Mall are receiving external cladding to improve their insulation and reduce energy bills. Several residents have contacted me concerned that this cladding will reduce air circulation and create condensation. I've discussed this with BHP and have been assured that no existing vents will be blocked, and that by warming the external walls, the cladding will actually make condensation less likely. Please let me know your experiences and get in touch if you'd like more details.

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It's great to see a lot of investment going into Brent Housing Partnership homes across Barnhill. The blocks on King's Drive have received a major overhaul including new windows, new roofs and redecorated balconies. Meanwhile the homes off The Mall are receiving external cladding to improve their insulation and reduce energy bills. Several residents have contacted me concerned that this cladding will reduce air circulation and create condensation. I've discussed this with BHP and have been assured that no existing vents will be

Several residents have contacted me concerned that this cladding will reduce air circulation and create condensation. I've discussed this with BHP and have been assured that no existing vents will be blocked, and that by warming the external walls, the cladding will actually make condensation less likely. Please let me know your experiences and get in touch if you'd like more details.

It's great to see a lot of investment going into Brent Housing Partnership homes across Barnhill. The blocks on King's Drive have received a major overhaul including new windows, new roofs and redecorated balconies. Meanwhile the homes off The Mall are receiving external cladding to improve their insulation and reduce energy bills. Several residents have contacted me concerned that this cladding will reduce air circulation and create condensation. I've discussed this with BHP and have been assured that no existing vents will be blocked, and that by warming the external walls, the cladding will actually make condensation less likely. Please let me know your experiences and get in touch if you'd like more details.

I received lots of positive feedback in response to my comments about fly-tipping last month. We've decided to hold a series of community clean-up days to tackle this horrible blight on our area. The first will be in Chalkhill on 23rd April, with sessions elsewhere in Barnhill to follow. Please get in touch if you'd like to help out! Finally, you might remember a few months ago I mentioned the brilliant Denise Brown who is training local young people about the fashion industry. She's holding a showcase of the young people's work in Chalkhill on 25th April - full details here. Please come along, I know it's going to be great!

Further afield My great political passion is Sure Start Children's Centres. It is a tragedy that these wonderful hubs for young families are being comprehensively dismantled by the Tory Government. This week I'm launching a pamphlet with Yvette Cooper MP highlighting the vital role of Councils in protecting these vital services. Brent exemplifies this, protecting every one of our Centres. Why not take a look at my summary of the pamphlet here.

 

And to end on a really positive note, the wonderful Wembley Primary School, where I am a proud governor, has secured another "good" rating from Ofsted. Every year the Government raises the bar on inspections and it took an immense amount of work from staff and parents to preserve this status.  The Government want to force all our primary schools to become soulless franchises of private sponsors. But Wembley Primary's long journey to become an inclusive, ambitious and successful school is

The Government want to force all our primary schools to become soulless franchises of private sponsors. But Wembley Primary's long journey to become an inclusive, ambitious and successful school is testament to what a community can achieve when it works together. We don't need the backdoor privatisation of academisation, we need shared values and a shared determination to improve the lives of our young people.


Have a great month! 


Council Budget - Cllr Michael Pavey

In last month's newsletter I wrote about Brent Council's budget. Shortly after I sent the email the Government announced £300 million of new funding in recognition of the immense pressure Councils are under. Excellent news! Perhaps even a sign that the Minister had listened when we met with him?

Unfortunately not.

It soon became clear that there wouldn't be a penny extra for Brent. The Government awarded the new money to Tory Surrey, Tory Hampshire and Tory Oxfordshire. In London it was Tory Barnet and Tory Richmond who benefited. 

But not a penny extra for Brent. This truly was a nakedly political bribe to Tory Councils.

In the face of such cynicism we passed an open and honest budget.

The Council will do everything it possibly can to control costs and to operate efficiently. A new procurement strategy to squeeze every drop of value out of contracts. A new civic enterprise strategy to generate income from creative sources. And a long term investment strategy to lay lasting foundations for the future.

And we will use these strong foundations to protect our most priceless services. The services most of us never see, but which we all depend upon at the most vulnerable moments of our lives. Our fantastic Children's Centres. The social workers who keep our young people safe. Home care visits which treat our elders with dignity and respect.

The Government has brutally cut our budget in half, so we can no longer do all this alone. So we openly and honestly asked residents to help share the load by paying on average an extra £2 per month in Council Tax.

You can read my speech on the budget here. I hope you agree with me that £2 extra per month is a price worth paying. But even if not, I hope you respect the honesty with which we have presented our position.

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The crackdown on flytipping is working

Brent Labour’s crackdown on flytipping is working. The Lib Dems have called it ‘a gimmick’. Yet under Labour we have 668 prosecutions for flytipping this year alone. But under the Lib Dems in 2009 it was just 6.


New mobile app to report flytipping

cleaner_brent_iphone_screen.jpgLabour run Brent Council has launched a new mobile phone app that allows residents to report flytipping, litter, graffiti and more while out and about. 

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Cllr Muhammed Butt on how Brent's new flexible childminding service will help hard-working parents to get on in tough times

Muhammed_Butt_Rounded_Edges.jpgPresenting his bingo budget to parliament last week, George Osborne congratulated himself on a plan to build a ‘resilient economy’ and to reward the ‘doers’ as well as the savers.

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Brent Labour rejects Lib Dem Scheme to charge residents for bin collection

As featured in the Brent & Kilburn Times, available online here.

Brent Council have pledged not to charge residents to collect their bins despite a government minister giving them the green light to do so today.

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Osborne's budget is "out of touch" says Brent Labour Leader

Reproduced from an article featured on the Brent & Kilburn Times website, click here to view.

The leader of Brent Council has labelled George Osborne’s Budget for the year as “out of touch” with the most vulnerable members of society.

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Leader's Budget Speech

Leader’s Budget Speech 03/03/2014

Good evening Mr. Mayor,

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We all know that these are tough times for Brent.

Over the last four years, our borough and communities across the country have weathered the biggest cuts in public spending since before the Second World War.

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Boris refuses to take action on Private Rented Housing

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At last Friday’s Greater London Authority final Budget meeting the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, refused to take action to drive up standards and tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector. The Mayor was presented with a costed plan to deliver more homes and take action to help private rented tenants – but he refused to adopt the plans and all nine Conservative members of the London Assembly used their blocking minority vote to stop the proposals.

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