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15 September 2012 18:38
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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives Greg Hands M.P. urges Chelsea & Fulham residents to respond to the NHS’s Hospitals Consultation One million new privatesector jobs since 2010 Red tape blitz to boost local business Hospitals downgrade plan ‘fatally flawed’ Outline Planning Permission for Earl's Court granted by H&F Council Boris Bikes coming to Fulham Hands in the media: The new Tory enforcers How to contact Greg Hands M.P.
Issue 344 – Friday 14th September 2012
Since the last edition, Greg:
Visited Chelsea & Westminster Hospital to meet senior management to discuss the NHS’s plans to end A&E services at various North West London hospitals. For more on the issues and the visit, see below. Welcomed to the House of Commons a delegation of German parliamentarians and voluntary sector activists from the state of Bavaria to learn more about the Government’s “Big Society” policies. The delegation spent a day in H&F also, with the H&F Volunteer Centre. Met the Chairman of the North West London Patient Participation Action Group for talks about the proposal to close A&E services in North West London. Welcomed a Fulham businessman to Parliament to discuss his proposals to reform current compensation procedures to cut litigation costs. Attended the annual Carlton Political Dinner, with guest speaker the Prime Minister. Had a full schedule of activity as a Government Whip in and around the chamber of the House of Commons, including ministerial meetings and organising votes and standing committees. Held a surgery for Chelsea and Fulham residents at Fulham Methodist Church, Fulham Broadway. Greg’s surgeries are held generally every Monday at Fulham Methodist Church, or at Peter Jones, Sloane Square. To make an appointment, email email@example.com or call 020 7219 5448.
Website of the Week:
The website of the Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives, with details of the forthcoming annual dinner with guest speaker Julian Fellowes.
Greg Hands M.P. urges Chelsea & Fulham residents to respond to the NHS’s Hospitals Consultation
Residents of Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea now have less than a month to add their voices to the campaign against plans to close accident and emergency services in both boroughs. So far only 1,300 submissions have been made to the NHS consultation which considers the future of the Accident & Emergency departments at both Charing Cross and Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals. However, several thousand residents have signed petitions against the proposals, showing a clear concern amongst residents of the damaging effects on local healthcare these changes could have. The plans, put forward by bureaucrats in the soon to be abolished North West London NHS Trust, suggest the closure of four A&E departments across London from Uxbridge to Westminster, at a time when population growth is already putting London hospitals under strain and could mean more ambulance journeys along already busy arterial routes to reach the A&E units which remain. Chelsea and Fulham M.P. Greg Hands said “I will fight this very hard. It is clear to me that A&E services at both Charing Cross and Chelsea & Westminster can, and must, survive. It is vitally important that residents respond to this consultation and show members of the NHS Trust hierarchy the strength of local opposition and concern towards these plans. Time is running out, and the time to respond is now’’ Greg added: “I met with the top management of Chelsea & Westminster this week, and made clear to them my view that none of the three preferred options would be optimal for Chelsea & Westminster. Even a decision to remove A&E services from Charing Cross would likely have an adverse impact on Chelsea & Westminster, which would, in my view, struggle to cope with the big increase in A&E admissions there which would result. The best option for my constituents is for the whole, flawed process to be ended and thought through afresh. The NHS needs to make a much stronger argument for change.” Public consultation: Click here to take part in the NHS consultation - closes October 8, 2012.
One million new private-sector jobs since 2010
Unemployment has fallen again in Chelsea and Fulham. The latest figures show that the claimant count fell by 41 last month and is now 294 lower than this time last year, an encouraging picture that was matched in most parts of the country. August saw the largest national fall in unemployment for two years, with surveys indicating that firms are likely to continue to increase staff numbers in coming months. The figures represent a 4 year high in employment, despite a steady reduction in public sector jobs over much of the same period. Over 1 million new jobs have now been created in the private sector since the last election. Greg Hands M.P. said: "There is very good news on jobs, both locally and nationally. There is still much to do in getting the economy moving after Labour's economic bust, but these figures are pointing in the right direction."
Red tape blitz to boost local business
Greg Hands M.P. has welcomed the news that many local businesses will be exempted from unnecessary health and safety rules. The Government is removing the need for most businesses to be inspected and will scrap or overhaul more than 3,000 other regulations. The new Business Minister, Michael Fallon, has marked his first week in the job by announcing that shops, offices and pubs will no longer face burdensome health and safety inspections. From April 2013, binding new rules on both the Health & Safety Executive and local authorities will exempt hundreds of thousands of businesses. In future, only those operating in high-risk areas, or those with a poor record, will be inspected. Furthermore, from next month, companies will only be liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they are proven to be negligent. At present, businesses can find themselves automatically liable for damages after a workplace accident, even if it’s not clear that they were to blame. Conservatives in Government are also taking radical action on other kinds of red tape to boost economic growth. Some 6,500 substantive regulations are being systematically examined through the Red Tape Challenge, with a firm Government commitment to abolishing or substantially reducing at least 3,000 of them. This process will be completed by December 2013. Commenting, Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Cutting red tape shows the Government is serious about helping business to flourish. We’re getting out of the way by bringing common sense back to health and safety.” Greg Hands M.P. said: “We have listened to concerns expressed by businesses and are determined to put common sense first. Our fantastic local firms need to focus on creating jobs and growth without being tied up in unnecessary red tape.”
Hospitals downgrade plan ‘fatally flawed’
NHS plans to downgrade west London hospitals are fatally flawed and will compromise local health services, according to a damning independent report released this week. Former NHS chief executive, Timothy Rideout, says there are fundamental flaws in NHS North West London’s controversial plans to scrap the A&E departments at Hammersmith and at either Chelsea & Westminster or Charing Cross Hospitals, as well as the hyper acute stroke unit at Charing Cross. In a scathing report, Mr Rideout - who is a specialist in change management, financial strategy and organisational turnaround within the health service, spells out a series of major concerns in the NHS business case. These include: A failure to explore genuine alternatives to A&E closures. Evidence that the “over-provision” of A&E departments, that NHS North West London claims to justify the closure of four units in the area, is not as marked as claimed. Nationally an average A&E department caters for 259,425 people. In North West London around 247,150 people are currently served per A&E (just 5% less than the national average). But, if the current NHS proposals go ahead, the remaining A&E’s would each need to cater for 395,440 people - meaning the area would have 52% less capacity than the national average. Using location as the main factor to decide downgrade options, rather than more relevant issues such as: the needs of local people or the current performance of local hospitals. For example, Charing Cross has the lowest mortality rate in North West London and the highest satisfaction score from patients, but this was not one of the criteria considered. Failure to independently verify the financial modelling used to determine the level of savings that the NHS needs to make. The ‘funnel effect’ of the chosen methodology in knocking out viable alternatives before they had a chance to be fairly compared. Lack of regard for the 40 per cent of inpatient admissions and 23 per cent of A&E admissions - people who will be dramatically affected by downgrading local hospitals. Mr Rideout says the process that NHS North West London chose to decide that the borough’s two hospitals should be downgraded is ‘unsafe’ - and that, therefore, so are the proposals. “There are fundamental problems with the whole business case used by NHS North West London,” says Mr Rideout. “There is a complete failure to take account of current clinical outcomes and a lack of regard for the scale of impact these radical changes will have on Hammersmith & Fulham residents.” The excellence of current services will be put at risk as residents will be faced with increased travel times and delayed access to emergency care, according to the report. All this is combined with an inadequate public consultation earlier this year while the proposals were being drawn up - with just one in every 5,000 residents consulted. Despite receiving MORE funding from central government, NHS North West London is ploughing ahead with budget savings of 4 per cent per year. Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council Leader, says: “The Rideout Report is a devastating critique of the failure of NHS bureaucrats to spend the extra cash that they are getting from Government to improve and protect front line health services. “Instead, this detailed review shows how the unaccountable NHS bureaucrats have attempted to justify the downgrading of two local hospitals in the face of massive opposition from patients with no firm evidence that nurses or GPs agree with their wild conclusions." The report also warns that the removal of 1,000 adult beds should not go ahead before new NHS structures come in to effect in April 2013, as it would be ‘highly inappropriate for formal decisions to be taken by Primary Care Trust on the eve of their abolition’. The report goes on to argue that major changes should not even be considered until the capacity of primary and community care, under the 'Out of Hospitals' strategy, has been significantly beefed up. Cllr Botterill continues: “NHS North West London has failed to adequately consult the council, GPs or patients. They have basically rigged the consultation to favour predetermined outcomes with little or no evidence to back up their assertions. As a result, their so call preferred option of downgrading Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals is fatally flawed. “To add insult to injury, under the current timetable, a dying organisation in the form of the current PCT is scheduled to make a major decision on the future health and wellbeing of thousands of residents as its last act before being dismantled. If this is allowed to continue there will be no accountability and no one to blame when lives are lost. “We will now re-double our efforts to persuade the NHS North West London to think again.” Timothy Rideout was brought in to help scrutinise NHS plans to downgrade local hospitals by H&F Council. Mr Rideout has more than 20 years experience in senior roles within the health service and was formally appointed to assist by the council’s Housing Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee in July. To read the full report click here or come to the public meeting and have your say!
Outline Planning Permission for Earl's Court granted by H&F Council
One of the biggest regeneration projects in London for decades is set to inject billions of pounds worth of private investment into West Kensington and Earls Court. Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s planning applications committee approved the proposal for outline planning permission on Wednesday 12th September 2012, subject to conditions and a legal agreement for the redevelopment of 57 acres of land at West Kensington and Earls Court. Thousands of new homes and jobs will now be created as part of the £8billion regeneration scheme - which is the biggest new project in the capital since Stratford was transformed by the Olympics. The planning application, based on Sir Terry Farrell’s masterplan, proposes the redevelopment of the Earls Court Exhibition Centres, Lillie Bridge London Underground Depot and the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates. Along with the recently approved Seagrave Road planning application and an application submitted to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the remainder of the redevelopment proposals, it would create up to 7,583 new homes, of which 760 will be replacement estate homes and 740 will be additional intermediate affordable homes. It will also include new shops, offices, leisure facilities, public open space, a new school, new transport links, healthcare centre and community centre. It will create up to 9,500 new permanent jobs and 1,500-2,000 jobs per year in construction, based on an approximate total of 36,000 construction jobs over an estimated development period of 20 years. H&F Council Leader, Cllr Nicholas Botterill, said: "Britain needs more homes and more jobs and this is just the kind of privately-funded construction, on a brownfield site, that can lift the UK out of recession. Growth is the engine of economic opportunity and this country needs many more visionary projects like this. "This is a once in a lifetime chance for the residents of West Kensington and Earls Court to benefit from a massive investment in their own area. All our residents can now look forward to a new era of prosperity and opportunity, with new homes and jobs on offer, and the council will be there to help every step of the way." Benefits include: New replacement homes for the tenants of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates. A new primary school and two new nursery schools. Training and skills programmes to make sure local people take advantage of the thousands of new jobs that will be created in the area. A new health hub with a GP and dentist surgery. A new community centre, with the potential to include a library, job shop, multi-faith space, youth space, children’s centre, training and meeting space, community police space, adult learning and training space and halls for hire. An affordable leisure centre with full fitness facilities. The ‘Lost River Park’, a 2 hectare public green open space, along with 3 publicly accessible garden squares A new High Street with shops and restaurants. A massive investment in improving local transport infrastructure. West Kensington tube station will get a brand new entrance and a lift will be built at West Brompton Overground station. Pavements, pedestrian crossings and streets including North End Road will be upgraded and new streets will cross the site from north to south and from east to west. New bike and car hire schemes and cycle routes. Gary Yardley, Investment Director at EC Properties, said: “The decision to approve outline planning permission offers a once-in-alifetime opportunity to transform Earls Court and West Kensington. Our investment will create thousands of new homes and new jobs in the area. We will also provide new facilities for the community including a new school, new health facilities, a new leisure centre, a new High Street and the new Lost River Park. By building upon the area’s rich character and identity, we will create a remarkable new district which benefits London and the local community alike.” Earlier this month, H&F Council’s Cabinet agreed to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the planned redevelopment. A detailed planning application to 808 build homes at the nearby Seagrave Road has already been approved by H&F Council. When the CLSA is signed, up to 200 of these homes could be used in the first phase of redevelopment of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates. Residents living on the estates have created their own steering group, chaired by Maureen Way, and have drawn up their own legally binding contracts with the council should the CLSA be signed. The council believes that the deal negotiated by residents is the best deal offered in any regeneration scheme in London and includes brand new homes for tenants and leaseholders, a very generous compensation package and brand new white goods. The terms of the CLSA state: All homes on the estate would be replaced within the redevelopment area. People would only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied. People who are currently overcrowded on the estate would be offered a home with more bedrooms. People who are underoccupying would be offered a new home with one additional bedroom above their need. Secure council tenants would remain secure tenants, with rents remaining in line with the rest of the council’s housing stock, and receive £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way. Resident leaseholders and freeholders would receive the market value of their home, to be independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation up to a cap of £47,000. They would also be offered a 10% early purchase discount on the value of a new home, should they wish to buyback into the redevelopment. They would not be expected to increase their mortgage costs to do this. Leaseholder service charges would be capped for five years and then controlled by the Council after that point. Tenant service charges will remain under the control of the council and only cover the services actually received. Once the CLSA is signed the council will eventually receive a total of £105million, an estimated £54million of which, after compensation and costs, would be available to be reinvested back in the Borough. H&F will refer the planning application to the Mayor of London, while the Secretary of State also has the discretion to call it in. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will also need to approve outline planning permission and will consider it before the end of the year. E C Properties is a subsidiary of Capital and Counties Properties Plc.
Boris Bikes coming to Fulham
Boris bikes could become a common sight in west London, after Hammersmith & Fulham Council agreed it would help bring them to the borough. The council decided last week that a £2 million contribution towards the popular Barclays Hire Scheme will be paid but that developers will foot the bill – not the council taxpayer. Also, the first potential docking station sites have been announced, with the council and Transport for London (TfL) currently narrowing down an original list of 200 potential spots across the borough to around 70. Greg Hands M.P. said, "My Chelsea constituents have had access to Boris Bikes for some months now, and it will be great to see the scheme extended to Fulham." Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, H&F Council cabinet member for transport and technical services, said: "We are very keen to see the Boris Bike revolution expand westwards quickly. The council has suggested scores of possible docking station sites to TfL – many originally put forward by residents – and we have been reviewing them all. “This is an excellent scheme that will encourage more people to get on their bikes and will not cost our residents a penny, as it is being paid through Section 106 money that is used for community improvements.” TfL aims to install docking stations every 300-400 yards, with each stand hosting a minimum of 25 bikes. That means a total of around 1,500 hire bikes would come to the borough, if Phase 3 of the scheme to extend westwards is approved by TfL’s board later this year. Sites that have been approved as viable by the council are Lillie Road, West Cromwell Road, North End Crescent, Blythe Road, and the Gorlesten Street entrance to Marcus Garvey Park. Over 200 people contacted the council last year as part of the ‘Get H&F Moving’ campaign to offer their views on where the bike stations could be put, with officers from the council and TfL also making suggestions for spots. Each of the places has to be reviewed against a set of strict criteria to see if the site is suitable. Each station will have to be agreed by TfL and would have to receive planning permission before anything is finalised. TfL will also hold a series of public consultation events about the scheme and locations of the stations in October. The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme has 160,000 registered users – 3,900 of whom are H&F residents – with 8,333 bicycles at 587 docking stations across London. There is already one at Olympia train station, on the Kensington and Chelsea side of the border, and in spring this year four stations were installed at Westfield shopping mall in Shepherds Bush as part of Phase 2 of the scheme. TfL is currently working on Phase 3 proposals to expand westwards to H&F, Wandsworth, Lambeth and Kensington & Chelsea. Click here to see a map of the potential bike docking stations. The consultation days will be held on: Thursday 4 October, 12pm-2pm: Hammersmith Lyric Theatre, King Street, W6 0QL Thursday 4 October, 5.30pm-7.30pm: Fulham Library, 598 Fulham Road, SW6 5NX Saturday 6 October, 10am-2pm: Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 8LJ
Hands in the media:
The new Tory enforcers
Sebastian Payne, The Spectator ‘Coffee House’ blog Tuesday 11th September 2012 Last week’s reshuffle not only brought in some interesting new junior ministers, but also some fresh faces to the Conservative Whips’ Office. Rebellions on the backbenches have become a headache for David Cameron in the last few months, leading him to adopt two new strategies to try to bring his party back under control. The first strategy has been to recall some more experienced tougher guns, who have prior experience in dealing with a split party. Many of these new whips are not necessarily allies of the Prime Minister but this may prove useful in reaching out to MPs beyond his immediate grasp. Here are some of the key players: Andrew Mitchell (Chief Whip) Previously International Development Secretary, Mitchell is the man chosen by Cameron to lead a return to order in his party. A junior minister in the Major government, he lost his seat in 1997 but returned swiftly with a vengeance at the next election. Mitchell was instrumental in the demise of Iain Duncan Smith as leader and backed David Davis’ leadership campaign. He joined Michael Howard’s Shadow Cabinet in 2005, where he followed the DfID brief for four years. He is an ex-Army officer, known at school as ‘Thrasher’ for his aggressive management style. He faces a tough job bringing the Tories back in check but he is the best candidate Cameron could have chosen. David Evennett Evennett is a Eurosceptic from the right of the party. Evennett was previously a member of the Whips’ Office in opposition from 20052009. He has also been a PPS twice – once under John Redwood during the Major years and under Michael Gove since 2010. He lost his Bexleyheath and Crayford seat in the 1997 Labour landslide with a 15 per cent swing. Evennett then fought the seat twice until he regained it in 2005. Since then, he has also been a Shadow Minister in Innovation Universities and Skills. Before entering Parliament, he was an insurance broker and councillor in Redbridge. Greg Knight Another Eurosceptic and supporter of David Davis, Knight has been described by Paul Goodman as ‘Maastricht Revisited’. As well as serving as PPS to David Mellor, Knight was Deputy Chief Whip during John Major’s rein and faced the onerous task of handling the Maastricht Rebels. During this period, he once offered Iain Duncan Smith a PPS job in an attempt to unsuccessfully buy off his opposition to the treaty. After losing and regaining his seat as a result of Labour’s landslide, Knight was made Shadow Culture and Transport minister under Michael Howard. Knight is a keen music fan, holding the position of drummer in MP4 — which holds the rather niche accolade of being the only parliamentary rock band in the world. Anne Milton Milton won her Guildford seat for the first time in 2005 and became an early supporter of David Cameron. She was the Shadow Minister for Tourism and Health before taking up Junior Minister of Public Health in government. In this role, she caused controversy for her comments on free milk for school children and obesity. Milton was an NHS nurse for 25 years, a Reigate councillor and former trade union shop steward. She is a self-proclaimed Eurosceptic but also admitted to having a ‘green tinge’. Desmond Swayne Having served as PPS to both Michael Howard and David Cameron, Swayne has experienced a varied parliamentary career. Under Iain Duncan Smith and Howard, he was a spokesman for Health, Defence, Northern Ireland and an opposition whip. A major in the Territorial Army, Swayne is a right-wing Eurosceptic who was once a colourful speaker in the Commons, who used to frequently rile Tony Blair. In recent times, he has become a powerful backroom figure for the Prime Minister. The second strategy Cameron is undertaking is using the Whips’ Office as a training ground for bright young things once again. Many stars of the 2010 intake that didn’t make ministerial rank have instead been promoted to assistant government whips under the new regime: Jo Johnson The younger brother of the Mayor of London, Jo entered Parliament in 2010 as the member for Orpington thanks to a 12 per cent swing. Once a merchant banker, Johnson also worked for the Financial Times following in the footsteps of Nigel Lawson as editor of the Lex column. He has been a member of the influential Public Accounts Committee since the election. Although it is often joked that Johnson is keeping the seat warm for Boris’ return to the Commons, Jo is said to be ‘very much his own man’. His move to the Whips’ Office confirms his political allegiance to Cameron. Nicky Morgan PPS to David Willets since entering the Commons, Morgan was previously a corporate lawyer. She contested three seats before taking Loughborough from Labour at the 2010 election, becoming the first female to hold the seat. Morgan is a member of numerous allparty groups and frequently pops up in the Commons. At the backbench 1922 committee, she has criticised Baroness Warsi over the handling of Roger Helmer MEP’s resignation Karen Bradley Selected as one of Cameron’s A-list candidates for the 2010 election, Bradley won her seat after boundary changes pushed Staffordshire Moorlands in her favour. Previously an accountant at KMPG, she worked at the Conservative Research Department. She ousted the rebellious Christopher Chope as co-secretary of the 1922 committee earlier this year and has served on the Work and Pensions, and Procedure select committees. Bradley’s promotion will result in an election on the ’22 in the near future. Greg Hands Although not appointed in the reshuffle, Hands was the first young gun to join the Whips’ training ground just under a year ago. Hands took up the role after the mini-reshuffle following Liam Fox’s resignation. He previously served as PPS to George Osborne, having also held the position of a Shadow Treasury Minister. He entered parliament as the member for Hammersmith and Fulham in 2005, having previously been a City broker and led the Conservatives on Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
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