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13 May 2013 13:50
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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Photo news: Government Whips meet with Prime Minister A tax cut for 24 million hardworking people Councillor Nick PagetBrown set to be K&C Council's New Leader Queen's Speech welcomed by H&F Council Dates set for Planning Inspectorate's Thames Tunnel drop in session H&F and K&C combine to provide "Tri-Borough" graduate workplace scheme How to contact Greg Hands M.P.
Issue 370 – Monday 13th May 2013
Since the last edition, Greg:
Joined Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s visit of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, where he spent half a day, including a round-table discussion with Greg and doctors, nurses and other hospital professionals. Attended the opening of the debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons. Welcomed German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to the House of Commons. Greg joined a small group of Conservaitve MPs for a discussion with the veteran CDU politician. Attended, together with Government and Opposition Whips, a showing of the play “This House” at the National Theatre. The theatre was an appropriate venue for the excellent new play all about the Parliamentary Whips offices during the fraught and difficult 1974 – 1979 Parliament. Had a full schedule of activity as a Government’s Treasury Whip in and around the chamber of the House of Commons, ministerial meetings and organising votes and standing committees, including the 2013 Finance Bill.
Website of the Week:
The website of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, now under new leadership of Councillor Nick Paget-Brown. Greg this week welcomed Nick’s election to succeed Sir Merrick Cockell.
Government Whips meet with Prime Minister
The Prime Minister together with the Government Whips, including Greg Hands M.P.
A tax cut for 24 million hardworking people
Throughout April, Conservatives in Government introduced tax cuts and benefit reforms. Even though times are tough and Britain has a large deficit to pay down, we want to support hardworking people. That's why we are introducing tax cuts so you will keep more of the money you earn. And why we're changing the benefits system so it continues to support those who need it but is also fairer for taxpayers. Cutting income tax From 6 April, 24 million people started paying up to £600 less income tax than they were in 2010. This is because Conservatives in Government have increased the personal income tax allowance for three consecutive years. The personal income tax allowance is the amount of money you can earn tax-free. As of 6 April, you will not pay any income tax on the first £9,440 you earn. Because of this, 24 million people are paying up to £600 less tax than they were in 2010 . In addition, 2.2 million of Britain's lowest-paid workers will not pay income tax at all. This means more money stays in the pockets of those who need it most. Next year, you will be able to keep even more of the money you work for. From April 2014, you won't have to pay income tax on the first £10,000 you earn. This means even more lower-paid workers will keep what they earn and 24 million people will pay £700 less income tax than in 2010. Reducing the deficit
The deficit is the difference between what the government gains through taxes and what it spends. We inherited the biggest deficit in the developed world. Conservatives believe that reducing the deficit is the biggest priority for our country so that we can pay our way in the world. Our credible plan for the economy has kept interest rates for homeowners and businesses at record lows. It is important to deal with the deficit now so that we don't leave it to our children. We owe it to them to cut the deficit and live within our means. The difficult decisions the Conservatives have taken have reduced Britain's deficit by a third. Capping benefits so they are in line with earnings
We are also making major changes to Britain's benefits system to ensure that it continues to support those who need it but is also fairer to taxpayers. Benefits will be capped at £26k per year. In the past some people have been able to claim unlimited benefits - more than the average household earns from work. The benefits cap, being rolled out from mid April, will change this. With benefits capped, people will no longer be able to claim more than the average family earns in work. Certain groups will be exempt from the cap, including those who qualify for working tax credit or who are on Disability Living Allowance. We will start to roll out the Universal Credit, which will replace the main out-of-work benefits with one simple payment. This will simplify the benefits system and make sure that it always pays to work. Benefit rises will be capped at 1%. We have taken the difficult decision to cap public sector pay rises at 1% for the next three years. At the same time, we are limiting the increase in most benefits to 1%. This means benefits will not increase by more than 1% each year. For the last few years, benefits have increased at double the rate of wages. As it is hardworking people's taxes that pay for benefits, this is not fair.
Councillor Nick Paget-Brown set to be K&C Council's New Leader
Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown is the Leader elect of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Chosen by his Conservative colleagues on Sunday 6th May 2013, his appointment to the top job is set to be confirmed at the Council's Annual General Meeting on 22nd May. Speaking after his election Councillor Paget-Brown paid tribute to the outgoing Leader, Sir Merrick Cockell:"We've had 13 years of low tax, high quality services and huge investment in buildings, streets and schools. It's a record of which we are very proud. "Although the financial clouds are darkening, our residents continue to have the highest standards and expectations for the place they live in. They want a Council which is effective, responsive and puts their interests at the heart of all it does. "One of the Council's main ambitions should be to give everyone an opportunity to succeed. That requires a cross-departmental approach to regeneration, with an effective, integrated approach to housing, training, transport, employment and crime reduction. We must continue to work with our long-established voluntary sector to build a sense of belonging to the community. "At a time of hugely demanding financial pressure on local government, we must continue to set one of the lowest council tax levels in the country. To deliver this, we need to manage our budgets prudently, to keep costs down, make the most of our joint working with Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster; and generate more income from our assets." First elected to the Council in 1986, Councillor Paget-Brown served as Chief Whip of the Conservative Group from 2000 to 2011 and has been Deputy Leader since April 2011. He has also held a number of other senior positions. On the introduction of the Cabinet system in 2001, he served as Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Regeneration and the Voluntary Sector, overseeing the introduction of Council-funded Police Community Support Officers and the creation of a model "Safer Surer" Board consisting of the Borough Commander, Council Chief Executive and other officers. In regeneration, he was responsible for a range of capital investment projects in North Kensington, including Baseline Studios, and for maintaining strong levels of employment support and training for local residents. As Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Leisure he led the award-winning Exhibition Road streetscape refurbishment and the major renovation of Albert Bridge. He also launched the Council's first ever Arts and Culture Policy and has been responsible for the ongoing renewal of the borough's parks and gardens. In 2007 he launched the Royal Borough Environmental Project which has `greened' scores of `grot-spots' in corners of the borough and supported the creation of over 300 Community Kitchen Gardens. Away from the Council, Nicholas Paget-Brown has a background in business and worked for a small start-up company in the City which established the UK's first online research service for financial institutions. This was acquired by Reuters in 1985 and he was appointed international marketing manager for a range of Reuters' research products with global responsibility for promoting them. In 1991 he set up Knight-Ridder Information's London office. Subsequently he set up a small consultancy business which produced a corporate newsletter on energy and environmental policy and offers training and consultancy on a range of public affairs issues. Councillor Paget-Brown was Parliamentary candidate for Don Valley (a South Yorkshire Mining seat) in 1992 and chaired Kensington and Chelsea Conservative Association between 1999 and 2001, which included the period of Alan Clark's death, the selection of Michael Portillo and the subsequent by-election. Greg Hands M.P. added: "I have known Nick for 15 years, and he will be a very effective Leader of the Council. I look forward to working with him and all the Chelsea Councillors for the benefit of Chelsea in the coming years."
Queen's Speech welcomed by H&F Council
Legislation announced in today’s Queen’s Speech that will stop migrants from qualifying for social housing has been welcomed by the first council in the country to have already introduced the rule. Flagship Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s new social housing policies are already ensuring that only local people, in genuine need of somewhere to live have priority on the housing register. Today, the Queen has announced that the Government will be enshrining that policy in law, meaning that new migrants can only apply for social housing if they have lived in the UK and ‘contributed to this country’ for at least two years. In fact, the policy in Hammersmith & Fulham stipulates that social housing applicants must have a five year local connection to the borough. The Queen has also announced further changes to the Right to Buy scheme that could help hundreds of tenants in the borough to purchase their council home. The Government recently heeded H&F Council’s advice and extended the maximum Right to Buy discount in London to £100,000. Now, the council has welcomed changes announced by the Queen to the Deregulation Bill that will mean that tenants only need to live in their property for three years rather than five years before becoming eligible for the scheme. Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader said: “Changes announced in today’s Queen Speech will have a positive impact here in Hammersmith & Fulham and across the country. And by increasing the eligibility for Right to Buy, thousands of our tenants may potentially now be able to consider buying their council property – something that for so long has only been a pipe-dream.” Changes announced today to the Anti-social, Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill will also make it far easier for the council to evict tenants who commit crime or antisocial behaviour, including rioting. The council has a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of antisocial behaviour and will use these new powers to evict tenants who make their neighbours’ lives a misery. Changes recently made to tenancy agreements will also make it easier for the council to evict neighbours from hell. Cllr Smith added: “We will not sit idly by and let our tenants commit crime and antisocial behaviour. This change is another tool in our crime-fighting armoury and we will have no hesitation to use it to evict proven troublemakers.” Earlier this year, the council stopped issuing lifetime social housing tenancies for new applicants, in one of the biggest housing policy shake-up’s in living memory. The council is also now prioritising those making a significant contribution to the community, for example ex-service personnel and foster carers. At the same time, households earning above £40,200 are now prevented from accessing the housing register and instead directed towards low-cost home-ownership options.
Dates set for Planning Inspectorate's Thames Tunnel drop in session
Residents are being urged to attend two drop-in sessions where the Planning Inspectorate will explain how it intends to scrutinise the 50,000 page planning document for the Thames Tunnel. Despite waves of protest and a formal challenge from Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council the National Planning Inspectorate has accepted that the enormous planning document is based on an adequate consultation. That means that the Planning Inspectorate – a Government body that investigates large planning applications – will now start to look into the controversial scheme in earnest. Residents are being invited to learn more about the scrutiny process at two drop-in sessions later this month. The sessions take place at: Wednesday, May 15 Drop in: 2-5pm Hammersmith Town Hall King Street, W6 9JU Friday, May 17 Drop in: 1-7pm Q&A: 7-8pm Kensington Town Thursday, May 23 Drop in: 5-7pm Presentation and Q&A: 7-8pm Wharf Rooms, Imperial Road, SW6 2PY Residents are also being advised that they need to register with the Inspectorate to air their views later in the year. See details of how to register below. H&F Council Leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, said: “It is absolutely crucial that local people, whose lives will be blighted by this scheme for many years, continue to make their voices heard. Not only should they attend the drop-in sessions but they should also register with the Planning Inspectorate as this is the only way that individuals can be involved in the examination of the plans.” Thames Water says the £4.2billion tunnel is necessary to prevent millions of litres of sewage being pumped into the river each year. But critics, including H&F Council and thousands of riverside residents, argue the plans are over complicated, over-priced and too disruptive given the cheaper and greener alternatives to cleaning up the river. Thames Water’s planning application shows 24 building sites along the Thames including the main construction site at Carnwath Road on the Fulham riverside. South Fulham is set to bear the brunt of the disruption from major excavation work, while 14million Thames Water customers are set to pay an extra £80 a year for life on water bills, if the application is approved. Riverside land, that has been earmarked for new homes and jobs, could now be swallowed up for heavy digging work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least six years – if Thames Water’s proposals are allowed to proceed. Six primary schools and two secondary schools are all within a mile of the site with some residents living just 10 yards away from where the deep sewer drilling work could happen. There are also concerns over the fumes, noise, dust and effect on already congested roads, while some people may need to move home. Register to have your say: Anyone who would like to take part in the examination of the application needs to register with the Planning Inspectorate as an ‘interested party’ at www.planningportal.gov.uk.
H&F and K&C combine to provide "Tri-Borough" graduate workplace scheme
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has joined forces with Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster City Council to offer a Triborough Graduate Work Experience Scheme. If you have finished university or college and need real-life work experience, why not apply today? The scheme offers a wide variety of exciting placements across different council departments including legal services, housing, policy and partnerships, youth services, media and teaching. To be eligible for the eight-week placement, you must reside in one of the three boroughs, be aged between 18 and 24 and claiming Jobseekers Allowance or be entitled to claim a benefit from the Department for Work and Pensions. Jobcentre Plus will fund any childcare, travel or reasonable costs during your time on the placement and will be on hand to offer extra support or deal with any issues. For more information on the scheme, please contact Adrian Williams at Adrian.firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 ways to contact Greg Hands M.P.:
By Phone: By email: By post: In person: 020 7219 5448 email@example.com Greg Hands M.P. House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Click here for details of how to book an appointment at Greg Hands M.P.’s weekly surgery
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Greg Hands M.P. – a strong voice for Chelsea & Fulham
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