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3 May 2013 13:59

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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: West London Action for Children Photo news: St Columba's Church of Scotland Hands: TechBacc will give young people the skills they need to get on On the side of hardworking people National Citizen Service 2013 News from Greg Hands MP's surgery Planning Inspectorate Thames Tideway Tunnel Outreach Events The “Big Clean Up” coming to Hammersmith & Fulham Replace Hammersmith FlyOver with a Tunnel, says H&F Council Facelift for Holbein House in Chelsea Have Your Say on the Future of London’s Fire Stations Hands in the papers: Fierce competition in Kensington and Chelsea leaves 1 in 10 children without a school place How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 369 – Friday 3rd May 2013

Since the last edition, Greg:
Was interviewed on the BBC Sunday Politics Show about welfare reform, Council Tax and Tube strikes. Was quiz master at the Town Ward Conservatives’ Quiz, kindly hosted by the Durrell Arms, Fulham Road, SW6. Attended a parliamentary reception in honour of St Columba’s Church of Scotland church in Chelsea. For more, see photo below. Welcomed pupils from Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Chelsea, to the House of Commons, answering questions from a Year 5 class. Visited the Royal Mail’s Chelsea Delivery Office to see at first hand the Royal Mail’s operation in SW3. Was put on the spot by teachers and pupils of the Chelsea Academy on Government education policy in a round table when visiting the school in Lots Road. Attended the 90th anniversary reception for the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee. Welcomed a visiting delegation of MPs from Senegal to the House of Commons for discussion on security policy. Met in the House of Commons a local entrepreneur keen for the UK to do more to build on the engineering heritage of the Concorde aircraft. Welcomed another Fulham entrepreneur to the Commons to hear his views on how red tape, the lack of skills and other issues are holding up business expansion in Britain. Held a weekly surgery for Chelsea and Fulham residents at the 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 mail@greghands.com or call 020 7219 5448. Had a full schedule of activity as a Government’s Treasury Whip in and around the chamber of the House of Commons, including the Budget itself, ministerial meetings and organising votes and standing committees, including the 2013 Finance Bill.

Website of the Week:

www.wlac.org.uk

The website of West London Action for Children. Greg assisted in a charity fundraiser for WLAC last week, hosted by the Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham, Cllr Belinda Donovan. West London Action for Children offers a range of counselling and therapy services for children in need, and their families, in the London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea. Why not get involved?

Photo news:

St Columba's Church of Scotland

Greg Hands M.P. at a reception welcoming new vicar Rev Angus Macleod to St Columba's Church of Scotland church in Chelsea, together with Rt Hon Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland and Rt Hon Lord Steel, former Leader of the Liberal Party.

Hands: TechBacc will give young people the skills they need to get on
Greg Hands M.P. has welcomed the new Technical Baccalaureate designed to help young people get the high-quality vocational education they deserve. The TechBacc, announced by the Government this week, will combine three key elements: A high-quality Level 3 vocational qualification — only the best courses, recognised by employers, will continue to count in league tables. A Level 3 ‘core maths’ qualification — this will include AS level maths. An extended project — developing and testing students' skills in extended writing, communication, research, and selfdiscipline and self-motivation.

 

This new measure will finally give vocational education the high status it deserves, putting it on a par with A-level study and recognising excellence. It will give young people a first-class vocational alternative to academic routes, ensuring they have the technical ability employers want, while giving Britain the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global race. Commenting, Greg Hands M.P. said: “This announcement is fantastic news for young people in Chelsea and Fulham who want to work hard towards a technically skilled job or apprenticeship. “For too long, too many students haven’t had the chance to study for high-quality vocational qualifications that are recognised by employers. This measure will ensure that young people receive a rigorous education in the skills that employers value. It will help them get the jobs they deserve.” Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock said: “The TechBacc will be a mark of achievement for young people who successfully study three key elements – a rigorous high-quality vocational course, maths and literacy. We are being clear to our young people about the skills they need to succeed and get good jobs. We want an education system in which everyone can reach their potential. “Our reforms to post-16 qualifications, including the introduction of the new TechBacc will do that. They will incentivise the development of high-quality courses and incentivise schools and colleges to offer the courses that get young people on in life.”

On the side of hardworking people
The Chancellor of the Exchequer writes: This month, we're doing three big things to back working families: we’re making welfare fairer, helping to create jobs, and making sure you can keep more of what you earn. Our reforms have one simple principle at their heart – making sure people are better off in work than on benefits. Nine out of ten working households will be better off as a result of the changes we are making. The average working household will be better off by over £300 a year – that’s the equivalent of a typical monthly shop. Fixing the welfare system Introducing the Benefit Cap. This will mean no family that’s out of work should receive more in total benefits than the average family gets in work. It starts this April. Uprating benefits by 1% Its not fair that out-of-work benefits should rise faster than the incomes of those in work. So we’re increasing discretionary working-age benefits by 1%. This will save more than £2   billion pounds a year. And to ensure that we use our social housing more fairly and effectively, we are ending the spare-room subsidy from this week. Making work pay. Universal Credit will replace the current complex myriad of means-tested benefits. No longer will it be possible to be better off on benefits than in work. The first pathfinder starts this month. Helping to create jobs Cutting corporation tax. When we entered office corporation tax was 28%. On Monday corporation tax was cut to 23%, on the way to 20% which will make our system the most competitive in the G20. It's a tax cut for growth and jobs. We’re introducing new research and development tax breaks so companies can invest in the high technology that is the future of the British economy. We’ll be abolishing the jobs tax altogether for many hundreds of thousands of our small businesses in the coming year. The 50p rate of tax is going, because it wasn’t working. Revenues fell, as the wealthy paid less. So we got the worst of both worlds: a tax rate that discouraged enterprise and didn't raise more money from the rich. We're introducing Help to Buy, a dramatic intervention to get our housing market moving. It will help people who can afford to buy but who cannot begin to afford the kind of deposits being demanded today. We’re delivering results. Over one million private sector jobs have been created in our economy over the last three years. The rate of employment has risen faster here than in the US and three times as fast as in Germany. And last year, more businesses started in this country than in any other year before. Helping you keep more of what you earn The biggest tax cut in a generation. From this Saturday, the personal allowance will rise from £8,105 to £9,440. And next year we're going to increase it to £10,000. 24 million people will pay over £700 less in income tax than when this government came to office. Predictably, Labour oppose everything we’re doing to clear up their mess - but they offer no constructive alternative. Bringing Labour’s soaring benefits bill under control means we have been able to protect spending on the NHS and pensioners, cut the deficit by a third and help working families. That's the way to protect our future, and make the country fairer too. Yours sincerely,

George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer

National Citizen Service 2013
The National Citizen Service (NCS) has returned for another year, and this time is offering 50,000 16 and 17 year olds the chance to make a positive impact in their local community and improve their attitudes and behaviours, while developing vital skills for work and study. The NCS programme will take place over several weeks out of school time, during the spring, summer and autumn. Young people will learn team-building and personal development through a range of experiences involving both outdoor activities and community based residential trips. They will also design and deliver a social action project to benefit an important cause in the local community by working closely with businesses and community organisations. Tens of thousands of young people have already taken part in NCS and an independent evaluation has found that NCS: Greatly increases awareness of and aspirations for education and employment Significantly increasing confidence and leadership, teamwork and communication skills Improves wellbeing Decreases anti-social and challenging behaviour Develops positive attitudes towards people from different backgrounds NCS is open to young people of all backgrounds and 93 percent of participants would recommend the programme to others. To hear some inspirational stories from young people who have completed the programme or to sign up, visit www.NCSyes.co.uk. Greg Hands M.P. commented: “I have met with the national organisers of the National Citizens Service quite a few times, and I strongly support this initiative. I hope more young people in Chelsea and Fulham will get involved.”

News from Greg Hands MP's surgery
Last Monday, Greg Hands held his Chelsea surgery at Peter Jones, Sloane Square. He met with nine constituents to discuss their concerns which included maintenance issues with social housing and anti-social behaviour. This week a number of residents in Fulham have contacted Greg about changes to the Council’s Housing Register. The reforms which came into force earlier this month have seen the Council focus its resources on those with most need and strong local connections. With these changes Hammersmith and Fulham now provide additional assistance to those wishing to rent privately. Residents can now take advantage of rent deposit guarantees and advice on how to go about sourcing accommodation. Those concerned by the new changes should speak to their Housing Officer first and the H&F Advice Centre at 145-155 King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9XY or call on 0845 313 3935. If constituents believe their Member of Parliament can assist with their problem Greg is keen to hear from them. Greg said: “I hold my surgeries almost every week of the year and I aim to solve the problem, or at least get my constituents an answer. To make an appointment contact me on mail@greghands.com or call 0207 219 5448.”

Planning Inspectorate Thames Tideway Tunnel Outreach Events
The Planning Inspectorate (the government agency responsible for examining applications for major infrastructure projects) has now received the application from Thames Water for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. They will be holding a series of events across the constituency and other areas of London effected to help people understand how the planning process works and how they can make a representation, as well as the deadline for registration. The events will take the form of drop-in sessions for the public with presentations, and a Question and Answer session. The events will take place: Hammersmith and Fulham Wednesday 15th May at Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street Public drop-in session 2pm – 5pm Kensington and Chelsea Friday 17th May at Kensington Town Hall, Horton Street Public drop-in session 1pm – 7pm Q&A session 7pm – 8pm. These events will be a really good opportunity for residents to learn how the planning process will proceed and how to make their objections heard. Details of the other events taking place across London are available here.  

The “Big Clean Up” coming to Hammersmith & Fulham
A new initiative to give the borough a big spring clean is coming to your neighbourhood soon and H&F Council is urging residents and local groups to get involved. The Big Clean Up will put the spotlight on the extensive work the council carries out to keep our borough clean - and how the community can play a part. The two-month campaign across streets, parks and public spaces is part of the council’s drive to make H&F’s streets the cleanest in London. Deputy leader and cabinet member for residents’ services, Councillor Greg Smith, explains: “Every year we spend millions of pounds keeping our streets clean but we can’t do everything on our own. We need the community’s support to put out rubbish on the right day in the right way and to recycle. Now we are saying let’s have a united effort to really keep our neighbourhoods tidy. If we work together we can make H&F London’s cleanest borough.” The council is encouraging residents, schools, residents’ and tenants’ associations, community organisations, sports clubs to pull together and proactively help make our borough even cleaner and greener than it currently is. This could be organising litter picks, joining in with local activities and regular events, like the Thames 21 riverbank cleanups, or using the H&F Report it app to tell the council about problem areas. Anyone wanting to get involved in the Big Clean Up project - by organising their own events or volunteering to help out at arranged events - can get in touch with the council by contacting Cleaner.Greener@lbhf.gov.uk, with the subject line BIG CLEAN UP. Serco, the council’s waste contractor, has offered to help out by agreeing to provide local groups with high-visibility clothing, protective gloves, litter pickers and bags, and to dispose of collected rubbish at community led ‘litter pick’ events. Keeping the borough clean is a round-the-clock job, with teams of street sweepers, bin men, mechanical sweepers, graffiti removers and enforcement officers working across the borough in parks, streets and open spaces, while staff at the town hall work with businesses to organise trade waste collections and direct frontline workers to problem sites to pick up reported fly-tips and clean graffiti. A recent residents’ survey showed that 83 per cent of people who responded agreed that the council is working to make the borough cleaner and greener. This is an increase of four per cent on last year and an increase of 14.5% on figures from 2007. The poll also revealed that 75% of respondents are content with doorstep recycling, up one per cent from the previous year. Eighty one per cent of residents are satisfied with their rubbish collection although this is down by one per cent from last year - while satisfaction with local tips or household waste centres has fallen by three percentage points from 58% to 55%. Seventy-four per cent of residents are satisfied that the council is keeping public land clear of litter and refuse, up from 69% in 2011 - a figure that the council hopes will rise as more and more residents download the free mobile phone H&F Report it app. Recently the borough’s fleet of vehicles were given a makeover with new campaign panels reminding residents how they can report fly-tips using the free H&F Report it mobile phone app, sort out their recycling from their rubbish properly and help the council keep the borough’s streets clean - all of which save taxpayers money. Every year the council spends around £21.5million keeping the borough’s streets clean, taking away and disposing of rubbish and collecting recycling. H&F is also charged twice the usual amount to dispose of any Smartsack that contains ‘contaminated’ materials that cannot be recycled like food, clothes and shredded paper. Latest figures from the Western Riverside Waste Authority (WRWA), which processes rubbish and recycling from H&F, Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea, and Lambeth, show that one million orange sacks a year - or 20% - are contaminated. All of the rubbish placed in these sacks is then thrown away and incinerated, rather than being recycled, costing the council 50% extra in disposal costs. In H&F, the recycling contamination rate varies from 13% at its lowest to 23% at its highest. Initial research has shown that the majority of these sacks are full of obvious rubbish and waste that cannot be recycled, like food, old toys and computers, and clothes. Meanwhile, WRWA found that 10% of black bag waste was recyclable. There is also a set of easy tips - the magnificent seven - that could help save tens of thousands of pounds each year; savings that can then be passed back to residents. To see the magnificent seven tips click here. For more information on recycling and refuse collections, and to find out what you can and cannot recycle, visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/recycle. To download the H&F Report it mobile phone application visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/reportitapp.

Replace Hammersmith Fly-Over with a Tunnel, says H&F Council
The ‘terrible act of vandalism’ that is the Hammersmith Flyover should never be repeated, according to Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council and a group of respected local architects. Since its emergency closure in 2011, which caused traffic gridlock across west London, serious questions have been asked about the long-term viability of the 50 year old structure given the escalating costs of maintenance and increased risk of failure. Yesterday evening, West London Link – a group of renowned west London architects – presented their ideas of how Transport for London (TfL) could replace the crumbling flyover with a tunnel. Declaring H&F Council’s support for a tunnel, or ‘flyunder’, at a packed meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall last night (April 30) Cllr Nicholas Botterill said: “The Hammersmith Flyover is a hangover from another era that should never be repeated. The age of the ugly concrete viaduct in the sky is over and the age of the tunnel is coming.” The architects, who are backed by Halcrow Group – an internationally respected firm of consulting engineers, showed how the land above a tunnel could be transformed by building new homes, creating more green space and reconnecting Hammersmith town centre with the river. Tom Ryland, director of Chartered Practice Architects Ltd, in Askew Road, and member of West London Link, said: “The flyover was a terrible act of vandalism. It has been patched up at huge expense and that will only last around 20 years and then it will have to be taken down. You could say we have tunnel vision as you could dig a tunnel without major disruption unlike rebuilding the flyover and diverting all the traffic for two years. “We wanted to show TfL what could be possible and it has to be done properly and in a timely way, which means looking at it now.” Visitors to the exhibition heard that, as well as reclaiming land along the A4 – potentially from as far as the Chiswick roundabout to the new Earls Court development at West Kensington – a tunnel would significantly improve the air quality in Hammersmith, which is one of the most polluted areas in London. The tunnel plan has been backed by H&F Council which has vowed to start detailed work to explain the benefits to TfL and show how it could work in practice. Cllr Botterill continues: "This elevated concrete monster has divided our town centre for decades – magnifying traffic noise and polluting our air in the process. Residents need to be at the heart of the debate about the long-term replacement of this ugly and out-dated structure and there is clearly a desire to think boldly. We have the will locally to make a tunnel happen and we have the latest technology to make it happen. “The next stage will require us to convince TfL that a tunnel is the best way forward to continue the regeneration of Hammersmith and reconnect local people with the river once again.” Greg Hands M.P. added: “I also support these moves to replace the Flyover with a tunnel, if it can be done at an affordable cost.”

Facelift for Holbein House in Chelsea
A £3.3m project by housing association Guinness South to refurbish Holbein House in Chelsea is now complete. Specialist housing construction company United House have been working on the two high-rise mansion blocks since February 2012, replacing windows, undertaking works to the roof as well as the smoke ventilation system. The building's 600 replacement sash windows had to be specially made and fitted to meet planning requirements and replicate the originals. Each new window had to be carefully carried up the stairs by three or four workers, up to six flights high. All brickwork was repaired and cleaned in keeping with nearby buildings, thanks to a £50,000 grant from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Chris Wait, Head of Programme and Planning at Guinness South, said: "The contractors were faced with many challenges on this site, one of which was that no large lorries were able to access the enclosed estate. All the scaffolding had to be carried on to the site so it took a long time to prepare the building for the works. Repairing the brickwork was not a simple job either; 23 different shapes and sizes of bricks were used and some had to be specially made. Residents and shopkeepers have been very patient whilst all the work was going on. Wind, rain and freezing conditions hindered us for a few weeks but now Holbein House almost looks like it did when it was first built in the late nineteenth century." Councillor Timothy Coleridge, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "I am very pleased to see Holbein House looking so good after these important works and want to thank all those who have worked so hard to complete the project. I am sure that the residents, who have been so patient while the work was being carried out will be very pleased with the new look Holbein House." One Holbein House resident who has lived in the building for several years said: "The workmen have been so well-mannered. They have shown me respect and kindness all the way through this enormous project. Now the building is so much brighter and clearer; I am amazed at all the colours in the brickwork, I didn't know there were red bricks under there. I think the contractors have done a tremendous job!"

Have Your Say on the Future of London’s Fire Stations
Residents and businesses are being reminded to have their say on the future of the London Fire Brigade. The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority is consulting on its Draft Fifth London Safety Plan until Monday 17th June 2013and it is important that residents and businesses take the chance to study the proposals and let decision makers know what they think. A public meeting about the plans will be held in the Small Hall at Kensington Town Hall, W8 on Monday 10 June between 7pm and 9pm. The plan sets out how the fire and rescue service could be delivered over the next few years. Amongst other things, it includes plans for target times for getting to incidents and details of how savings of nearly £30m could be made. These proposals involve the closure of 12 fire stations in London, including Knightsbridge and Westminster, and the removal of 18 fire engines across the capital, with one of Chelsea Fire Station's two engines going. The proposals also include the reduction of 520 fire fighter posts. These fire stations cover one of the busiest areas in London with more visitors, tourist attractions and governmental and diplomatic premises than anywhere else in the country. For full details of the plan proposals and to take part in an online consultation go to www.London-fire.gov.uk/LSP5. If you would like a copy of the plan and consultation document call 0800 9888 569.

Hands in the papers:

Fierce competition in Kensington and Chelsea leaves 1 in 10 children without a school place
Kensington and Chelsea Today Thursday 18th April 2013 A report published 15th March by the National Audit Office say there is still a considerable strain on school places, with only 60% of children living in the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea getting their first preference. The overall average of children gaining their first choice is 86.7% but statistics published by the Department of Education suggests there are significant regional differences with 11% of children in Kensington and Chelsea missing out on all their school choices. Despite the efforts of the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, successfully creating 80,000 extra school places between 2010 and 2012 the report by the National Audit Office warns an estimated 256,000 primary and secondary school places will need to be created by September 2014 in order to deal with the demand. In a recent new bulletin from Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, applications for primary schools in the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham had reached an all-time high, with the most oversubscribed school, the New West London Free School, receiving 394 applications for just 60 places. The local M.P. added “One of my top priorities in both Chelsea and Fulham is to work with our government and with our local councils to deliver more school places. In both boroughs, we have some of the very best schools in the country, and we need to make sure there are places available for all local children”. One initiative employed by the Coalition Government are the new ‘free schools’ and academies, which seek to ease competitiveness in acquiring school places by allowing head teachers to expand as well as giving more power to parents. Minister of Schools David Laws believes ‘The Academies Bill’ will benefit the current school place dilemma, “That is why we have made it easier for the best schools to expand and take on more pupils” he added “We are opening hundreds of academies and free schools every year, giving parents the option of high quality education for their children”. A criticism for the new ‘free schools’ and academies is the possibility they could create a talent vacuum by soaking up the best teachers and money. This in turn would create a hierarchy of schools leaving those left under local government authority less desirable thereby perpetuating the gap between the privileged and those less so. Greg Hands M.P. believes this new strategy will be beneficial to the local borough; “Kensington and Chelsea are at the heart of the free schools and academies revolution, and I strongly support these moves”.

5 ways to contact Greg Hands M.P.:
By Phone: By email: By post: In person: 020 7219 5448 mail@greghands.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

www.greghands.com

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Greg Hands M.P. – a strong voice for Chelsea & Fulham
Published & Promoted by Jonathan Fraser-Howells on behalf of Greg Hands M.P., both of 1a Chelsea Manor Street, London SW3 5RP

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