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#374

23 June 2013 11:44

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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: Let Britain Decide Photo news: St Luke’s Church Summer Fair Co-sponsor the Bill on Europe Photo news: Kensington Prep School K&C's finances given AAA rating Photo news: Fulham Palace Edwardian Garden Party Benefit Cap to go live in H&F on 12th August Photo news: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Ministers praise local TriBorough integrated care partnership Crime Road Show turns up the heat on offenders in Hammersmith & Fulham How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 374 – Sunday 23rd June 2013

Since the last edition, Greg:
Signed up to “Let Britain Decide”, the campaign to give the country a referendum on the European Union after 2015. For more, see Website of the Week. Visited the world-renowned HIV services at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, Fulham Road, to see their groundbreaking HIV work and that of the St Stephen’s AIDS Trust. Was guest speaker at the annual dinner of the BritishRomanian Chamber of Commerce, kindly hosted by Lord Lamont in the House of Lords. Attended a celebration to mark progress in raising more than £500,000 for the restoration of the Bell Tower at All Saints’ Church, Fulham, held at the vicarage. Met senior management of the Royal Brompton Hospital, Chelsea, in the aftermath of the Secretary of State’s welcome reprieve of children’s heart surgery at the hospital. Visited Kensington Preparatory School, Fulham, to speak to Year 3 pupils about their project “Send a Friend to School” about enabling children to attend school in the developing world. For photo, see below. Was joined by a group of visiting Commonwealth parliamentarians for one of Greg’s surgeries and for the visit to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital’s HIV services. Attended and drew the raffle of the St Luke’s Church summer fair, Sydney Street, Chelsea. See photo below. Attended the summer reception (kindly hosted by the Czech Ambassador, H.E. Michael Zantovsky) of the English College Foundation, which supports the work of the English College, Prague, where Greg is a school governor. Attended the Edwardian Summer Party at Fulham Palace. See photo below. Attended the Summer reception of the Economic Section of the German Embassy. 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, including the 2013 Finance Bill. Conducted two surgeries for local Chelsea and Fulham residents at Fulham Methodist Church. Greg’s surgeries are generally weekly, and held weekly, at either Fulham Methodist Church, Fulham Broadway, or Peter Jones, Sloane Square. To make an appointment, email mail@greghands.com or telephone 020 7219 5448.

Website of the Week:

www.letbritaindecide.com
The website of Let Britain Decide – the campaign for an EU referendum, via the Private Member’s Bill sponsored by James Wharton MP. Why not pledge your support today?

Photo news:

St Luke’s Church Summer Fair

Greg Hands M.P. reading the raffle winners at St Luke's Church, Chelsea, this week, with Fr Brian Leathard.

 

The Red Arrows over St Luke's Church, Chelsea, this week during the summer fair attended by Greg. Photo by Assistant Vicar James Head.

Co-sponsor the Bill on Europe
On Friday 5th July, Conservatives will vote to give the British public a say on Europe. This EU Referendum Bill could give us the first vote on the EU in over 40 years, after a renegotiation for a new deal in the EU. It is historic. Unfortunately the other parties don’t trust you to have your say on Europe. So we urgently need to put public pressure on Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to unite behind a referendum. That’s why Conservatives are inviting you to be part of history by publicly co-sponsoring the EU Referendum Bill itself right here: www.facebook.com/letbritaindecide. We’ve got a real fight on our hands which you can help us win. Please remember to ask your friends and family to sign up too.

Photo news:

Kensington Prep School

Greg Hands M.P. speaking to Class 3W at Kensington Preparatory School, Fulham, this week about the UK meeting its international aid obligations and about getting children everywhere into school.

K&C's finances given AAA rating
A draft set of the Council's accounts for 2012-13 was presented to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet on Thursday 13 June. The report estimated that there would be an `underspend' of £24.3 million. Allowing for delays in spending and other matters, this represents five per cent of the Council's annual, recurrent budget. It has not been achieved through reducing the quality of the Council's services but by Bi- and Tri-borough working, cost control and preparing for reductions in the Council's grant from central Government for several years to come. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has also maintained a healthy credit rating according to its most recent assessment by the ratings agency Standard & Poor's which awarded the borough a AAA/negative rating. This latest rating reflects the borough's economic strength, substantial reserves and moderate debt levels and its intention to implement further cuts to its operating expenditure to match lower revenues from the Government. Standard & Poor's report that the borough's budgetary performance has been good with strong control over budgeted costs. It also points out that the Council's ongoing cautious fiscal stance has allowed it to build up substantial reserves which provide a cushion to accommodate current and future reductions in revenue arising from reductions in Government grants. Despite continuous cuts in its main sources of revenue over the past few years the Council has been able to avoid running a deficit owing to major efforts in reining in operating costs. The borough will continue to benefit from the Tri-borough initiative, through which it shares services with Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster and thus saving on overheads and achieving lower procurement costs. The Council's financial management is singled out as having a positive impact on the rating it received. This demonstrates a high degree of expertise and commitment to transparency as well as continuity, fiscal discipline and well defined financial policies. The capital programme foresees investment of £170 million from 2013-2014 onward. This programme will require £124 million of Council funding which will come mainly from the borough's own reserves and capital receipts. The programme is spread across a large number of diverse projects and includes the building of the Kensington Aldridge Academy and the Kensington Leisure Centre. Cllr Warwick Lightfoot, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy, said: "This year's accounts show that once again the Council has managed to use your money wisely. Front line services have been preserved, if not enhanced, and savings have been found to match the reduction in Government grant. "I am very pleased that having run the rule over the Council's finances and financial management Standard & Poor's has given us such a healthy rating. Clearly the decisions we have taken to share services with our neighbours and our careful stewardship of our reserves over many years has gone some way to protect vital front line services while still allowing us to make a substantial capital investment in new schools."

Photo news:

Fulham Palace Edwardian Garden Party

Greg Hands M.P. at the Fulham Palace "Edwardian Garden Party" this week, inspecting hundred year old equipment to make optical illusions.

Benefit Cap to go live in H&F on 12th August
Major changes to the benefit system are almost upon us. The Government has announced that the benefits cap will begin to be implemented in Hammersmith & Fulham on Monday, August 12. It will be rolled-out during the following four weeks so some residents in receipt of benefits will not notice any difference until the middle of September. The Department of Work and Pensions has been in contact with all affected residents and continue to assist all those that may be affected. Cllr Andrew Johnson, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “The changes are being introduced in order to reduce the country’s astronomical benefits bill during the age of austerity. In last year approximately £23billion was spent on housing benefit alone. Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council wants to make sure that residents currently in receipt on benefits understand the changes and plan now and think carefully about how they manage their finances.” Greg Hands M.P. added: "I strongly support the benefits cap, which has been bitterly opposed by the Labour Party. It is time the country started living within its means. The benefits cap is simple: nobody should be paid more in benefits than the average household income." What are the changes? Benefits cap The benefits cap will restrict the amount of benefits payable to households to £500 a week. If you are affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level. If you’re already getting benefits and could be affected by the cap you’ll be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They’ll let you know what will happen to your benefits. If you’re seeing a Jobcentre Plus adviser, Work Programme or Work Choice provider, they’ll continue to help you look for work and get skills you may need for a job. What is included? The cap will apply to the total amount that the people in your household get from the following benefits: Bereavement Allowance Carer’s Allowance Child Benefit Child Tax Credit Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the support component) Guardian’s Allowance Housing Benefit Incapacity Benefit Income Support Jobseeker’s Allowance Maternity Allowance Severe Disablement Allowance Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension you started getting before 9 April 2001)

 

How much is the benefit cap? The level of the cap will be: £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them) £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them Who won’t be affected? You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits: Disability Living Allowance Personal Independence Payment Attendance Allowance Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme) Employment and Support Allowance, if you get the support component War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension

 

The changes do not end with the benefit cap. From October Universal Credit will be introduced in the borough. Universal Credit will see those in receipt of benefits have their money paid directly into their bank accounts, rather than to the council. This will mean a huge change in the way that tenants in receipt of housing benefit, around 60 per cent of all council tenants in H&F, have to manage their finances. This is because it places responsibility to pay the rent firmly on the shoulders of tenants and means that the tenant will need to make sure that they budget appropriately and have enough money at the end of the month to pay the rent. Universal Credit will replace: Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance Income-related Employment and Support Allowance Income Support Child Tax Credits Working Tax Credits Housing Benefit

 

The differences between Universal Credit and the current system The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are: Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work Most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account Universal Credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available Most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours Claimants will receive just 1 monthly payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary Support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment.

 

How H&F Council can help you 1. Council tenants can pay their rent by Direct Debit Direct Debit payments mean that there is far less chance that tenants will fall into arrears as rental payments are paid directly to the council at the end of the month. To sign up to Direct Debit call 020 8753 4645 and speak to a member of the Council's Rental Income team. If you sign up now, you will be entered into a draw to win £500. For more information visit this link. 2. Visit the ROOF team ROOF, which stands for ‘Renter’s Owners Occupiers and Families’ is a council funded scheme that aims to prevent homelessness by helping people to understand how to manage their finances. It also provides free information and advice on all housing matters in the borough. ROOF’s team of community volunteer trainers are on hand to explain the changes and inform people on how to make the most of their money regardless of their financial circumstances. ROOF also provide training on monthly budgeting, opening a bank account and to know the difference between a priority and non-priority debt , and work with council housing officers and housing associations to ensure tenants get the right information. ROOF is based at Hammersmith & Fulham CAB at Avonmore Library and Neighbourhood Centre on North End Crescent. For more information call, 020 3137 6294 or email on roof@hfcab.org.uk. Also available at Facebook at www.facebook.com/ROOFHFCAB and Twitter @ROOFHFCAB. For more information on benefit changes visit this link.

Photo news:

Chelsea & Westminster Hospital

Greg Hands M.P. with visiting Commonwealth parliamentarians and senior staff of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in the world renowned HIV centre.

Ministers praise local Tri-Borough integrated care partnership
Minister of State for Health, Norman Lamb MP and Minister for Local Government, Brandon Lewis MP (Tuesday 18 June) praised the efforts of three London councils to provide better care for the elderly through an innovative integrated care pilot. Norman Lamb MP, Care and Support Minister said: "By bringing together services from across Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils, you are leading the way when it comes to integrated health and care services. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking this leap forward to improve people's lives. Plans, which are set to save around £38 million net per year, will integrate health and social care support to enable more people to stay independent in their own home." Westminster Council, along with the NHS and neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea Councils, which have led the way in local government by combining services, are one of just four areas in the country to be given special `Community Budget pilot' status by the Government to develop radical plans for public service redesign. The integrated care model will provide targeted support to the 20 per cent of people who are currently responsible for 77 per cent of health and social care cost. They will be given help and support to be cared for in their own homes, reducing demand for more expensive institutionalised care either in a hospital setting or residential home. Cllr Marcus Ginn, Hammersmith & Fulham Council's Cabinet Member for Community Care, said: "These innovative plans are about providing much more joined-up care so that people receive the best possible standard of services in their own home with care packages designed around their needs. "In future we won't be asking vulnerable people to navigate their own way around the NHS which can be daunting at the best of times; they will have their own nominated person to do that for them, regardless of whether they need social care, occupational therapy or mental health care." Cllr Mary Weale, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: "By focusing on an integrated approach we will make effective early intervention to provide the support that will enable people to stay in their own home which for most people is a more attractive option than moving into residential care which is also costly for the taxpayer." Cllr Rachael Robathan, Westminster City Council's Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said: "Our pilot has shown the potential of what can be achieved when local knowledge is put at the heart of Whitehall decision making. "We are committed to delivering our ambitious plans but we will only be successful with the continued backing of Ministers and their officials, so we are delighted to welcome ministers to view our services and discuss our plans today. "This is about changing the way primary health and social care services are delivered, with acute or residential care becoming the last resort not the first destination." This year, the three councils will start to implement plans that will see them work in new ways with local partners to release £38 million per year of net savings after reinvestment costs at a local level and deliver better outcomes for local people, keeping more people out of hospital for longer. This is particularly important for the 100,000 who are elderly or have complex needs and are most at risk of being admitted to hospital or a care home.

Crime Road Show turns up the heat on offenders in Hammersmith & Fulham
The heat is being turned up on criminals in Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) as a new series of localised crime-fighting road shows hits the streets. Recorded crime is at an all-time low in H&F and the council and Police campaign to drive it down further is intensifying with as a series of ward-based crime road-shows throughout June and July. Residents have been turning up in droves to the ward based meetings which are designed to help the authorities drive down crime and antisocial behaviour further by gaining intelligence from residents on a patch-by-patch basis. The road shows focus specifically on each neighbourhood’s crime issues and are also a chance for residents to get crime prevention advice and meet their local police team, council officers from the community safety unit and neighbourhood wardens. There have been eight crime road-shows in H&F, since they were launched in 2012. Councillor Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: “Hammersmith & Fulham is safer than ever before - with 1,600 fewer victims of crime last year but we are not resting on our laurels. We are turning the heat up on the criminal minority all the time and our zerotolerance stance has driven crime down to an historic low. “The crime-fighting road shows are a valuable weapon that allows us to drill down and get a better understanding of residents’ concerns. In turn, this intelligence allows us to tackle the crooks in a far more efficient and targeted way.” Data released by the Met Police shows that 2012/13 made history with the lowest crime ever recorded in the borough. In the 12 months to March 31, 2013 - recorded crime was down 7.2 per cent compared to the previous year. H&F Council has a strong track record of working closely with the police and, together with local businesses, is spending £1.6million a year to pay for three enhanced squads of town centre Police. The funding means H&F has 42 more police officers than it would do otherwise. Police Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Lucy D'Orsi, said: “The ward based crime road-shows are an innovative way of working in partnership with the council and residents to combat localised crime and anti-social behaviour issues.” The road shows, which are supported by the borough’s Neighbourhood Watch Association and are organised by the council in association with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, will continue to tour the borough throughout 2013. To read more about crime and anti-social behaviour in H&F visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/crime or if you have information that may be helpful to the police dial: 101 or email: hammersmithandfulham.police@met.police.uk. Always call 999 in an emergency. Crime-fighting road-shows coming soon: Fulham Broadway Tuesday 2 July 6.30 for 7.00pm Clem Attlee Tenants Hall Len Freeman Place SW6 7TN Avonmore & Brook Green Wednesday 10 July 7.00 for 7.15pm St Mary's Church 2 Edith Road London W14 9BA

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
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