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#383 - Charing Cross Special

3 November 2013 22:33

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In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: Share the Facts Greg Hands welcomes Government decision to reprieve Charing Cross A&E Developers attempt to derail Royal Borough's basement proposals Universal Credit comes to Hammersmith & Fulham first Crime coming down in central Fulham £100,000 grant offers young people a bridge to employment in Kensington & Chelsea Hands in the papers: Whips declare victory in HS2 vote Hands in the papers: Constituency Matters Column Hands in the papers: Lord Lamont: BBC has 'cultural problem' ! How to contact Greg Hands M.P.

Issue 383 – Charing Cross Special Sunday 3rd November 2013

Since the last edition, Greg:
Welcomed the decision by the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, to guarantee the future of Accident & Emergency services at both Charing Cross Hospital and Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, thereby overruling the initial proposals by NHS North West London. For more, see below. Attended and addressed the Redcliffe Ward Conservatives in Chelsea, with guest speaker, the Armed Forces Minister, Rt Hon Mark Francois. Carried out his duties as the Government’s Deputy Chief Whip. Held an advice surgery for local Chelsea and Fulham residents at Fulham Methodist Church. Greg’s surgeries are generally weekly, on Monday mornings, at either Fulham Methodist Church, Fulham Broadway, or Peter Jones, Sloane Square. To make an appointment, email or telephone 020 7219 5448.

Website of the Week:
The website of “Share the Facts,” the website exposing Labour’s years of wasteful government and their plans to do it all again – more spending, more taxation, more borrowing, and more debt. Send the link to friends and family, and share the facts.

Greg Hands welcomes Government decision to reprieve Charing Cross A&E

Greg Hands M.P. (centre) with Health Secretary the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt M.P. and H&F Council Leader Cllr Nicholas Botterill earlier this year. Following 18 months of behind-the-scenes lobbying by Greg and Hammersmith & Fulham Council, with the Health Secretary and at Downing Street, the campaign to save Charing Cross Accident and Emergency services has paid off. On Wednesday (30th October), in a statement given in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said it was ‘time to end the uncertainty’ over Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals. Mr Hunt said he could ‘absolutely confirm that A&Es will remain’ at both hospitals following advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) of health experts. The IRP advised that further work is required to decide exactly what the long term changes at Charing Cross hospital will be, but that whatever the outcome of further discussions, there will remain an A&E at Charing Cross. Chelsea & Westminster Hospital will continue to have A&E facilities, as originally proposed by the IRP. Additionally under the new proposals, Charing Cross will become a world-class centre for elective (non-emergency) surgery, from 2017. In further good news for local health services, the Health Secretary also announced there will be a new, custom-built hospital at Charing Cross costing £80 million. It will be designed to deliver the specific services most needed in our communities. Nine medical directors across North West London have supported the health reforms. Greg said “The protection of these vital services will be a welcome relief to my constituents in Fulham in particular. It is great that the Government has responded to the views of local people and to my strong representations behind the scenes the last 18 months. We have achieved far more than would have been achieved through simply opposing any change, as the Labour Party did. These revised proposals will save lives, are in patients’ best interests, and I look forward to the further improvements in patient care and experience of the NHS.” !

Developers attempt to derail Royal Borough's basement proposals
The capital's biggest basement developers are attempting to derail the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's plans to control development below ground. Following the Council's latest round of consultation on the proposals last month, a number of basement developers are aggressively opposing the plans, claiming that there is not enough evidence to support tighter controls. Residents, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly supportive of the new policies which are designed to set limits on the scale of basement development. Highlights include a reduction in the extent to which basements can extend into the garden, a restriction to a single storey and severe restrictions on basement developments under, or in the gardens, of listed buildings, or where a basement already exists. Before the new policies can be introduced by the Council, they need to be examined by the Government's Planning Inspector who will decide whether they are sound. The Council is gathering extra evidence to oppose the developers' claims and this means that the examination will take place later in 2014 than originally expected. Further details on the timetable will be announced in due course. Councillor Tim Coleridge, the Royal Borough's Cabinet Member for Planning Policy, said: "Basements are a very lucrative business for developers and our plans have clearly struck a nerve. "Residents have told us that we have got it right and council officers are gathering the evidence we need to make our case watertight. "Over the past decade we've noticed a dramatic increase in the number of basement applications and now is the time to ensure measures are brought in to introduce a sense of proportionality to basement development."

Universal Credit comes to Hammersmith & Fulham first
A new payment method for a range of benefits has been introduced in Hammersmith & Fulham. The new system will be applied initially to some newly unemployed single people not previously claiming benefits and will be accessed via an online application. 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 Cllr Andrew Johnson, Cabinet Member for Housing said: "The introduction of Universal Credit will mean a change in the way that claimants receive support. The new benefit will be paid monthly - to match how the vast majority of people are paid when working - so it will be vital for claimants to budget appropriately. "We are working closely with Jobcentre Plus to help claimants and make sure they have the right support." The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are: Universal Credit will be available to people as they move from jobseeking and into work. Most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account. But face-to-face and telephone support will be in place. 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 Most 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 most claimants 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. 2. Visit the ROOF team. ROOF, which stands for 'Renters 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 If you are keen to find work contact Jobcentre Plus. You can also get help from the council's Work Zone recruitment facility on 020 8753 4695. Universal Credit will be gradually rolled out to the rest of the UK from October 2013 and will be fully in place by 2017.

Crime coming down in central Fulham
There was good news for residents attending the latest road show on crime at Fulham library on 24th October as crime is coming down through effective joint working between the police and council. Residents turned up at the event at Fulham library to tell police Superintendent Mike Hill and council Deputy Leader Greg Smith what was on their minds and what could be done to improve the area. Superintendent Hill was pleased to tell attendees that burglary has come down a massive 41 per cent and crime levels overall are down 19 per cent. There has been a lot of action on anti-social behaviour, with complaints down by over 60 per cent and five evictions made in relation to complaints. Police Superintendent Hill said: “This ward has seen a massive drop in crime across the board with excellent reductions in anti-social behaviour and theft from motor vehicles. These issues concerned you, the residents, so we fought back and targeted the criminals committing these crimes to make your lives more pleasant and more importantly, safer.” Residents were concerned about the lack of a police presence on Beaconsfield Walk after the closure of Parsons Green station. Other concerns included police sirens heard throughout the day and night and mail left hanging out of letterboxes. Hilary Monk, 73, of Felden Street, said: “I am lucky to live on a relatively crime free road but we do have a serious problem of criminals targeting BMW cars in the street at the moment. It is a very worrying issue and I would appreciate if the police gave us more advice on the matter. There is also the persistent problem of dog waste on the pavements. The issue has improved over the years but the real problem is that people have nowhere to put the rubbish.” Claudia Adele, 50, of Fulham Palace Road, said: “I feel there is a need for more preventative action in the area to deal with crime. There seems to be a lack of communication between the different social groups and generations. If there was more of a community feel in the area then I think crime would go down even more. Crime levels are low and the only real issue I can think of is vandalism but if the youth felt part of the community then I feel this issue too would be dealt with.” Police priorities for the ward appear to be being met – the top three being to reduce vehicle crime, burglary levels and anti-social behaviour. Deputy Leader Greg Smith said: “The story is a good one on this ward. Statistically, it has one of the lowest levels of crime in the borough and we and the police want to drive those crime numbers down even more which is why I am here tonight to hear residents’ concerns. Once we know what is bothering people, we will then act upon it to make the area an even more desirable place to live.” The road show was the latest in a series which are touring the borough. They are supported by Neighbourhood Watch and organised by the council in association with the Mayor’s Office. For further information and tips about crime prevention, please visit

£100,000 grant offers young people a bridge to employment in Kensington & Chelsea
A scheme to help 74 young people into employment has been launched in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Funded by a £100,000 grant from the City of London Corporation's charity City Bridge Trust, the project is enabling the Council to work with three key partners, Clement James, Youth Action Alliance and Spearhead. Together the three organisations will work with 74 young people from Kensington and Chelsea, aged between 16 and 24 and not in employment, education or training (NEET), to offer them practical help and support to find work. The project will run for 12months. Current figures suggest that the number of young people aged 16 to 19 who fall into this category in the borough is 157. The Clement James Centre will work with the young people to help them prepare CVs and develop employment skills with practice interviews, courses and workshops around timekeeping, communication, presentation and other employability skills. They will also have a day within a business to develop these skills in a real life setting. Youth Action Alliance will provide mentors and hands-on experience of working in an office environment in their own specialist training centre. This will give young people, with little or no previous experience of what it is like to work in an office, a chance to try their hand at the tasks that any young job starter would expect to do. Direct work with young recruits and their employers will be undertaken by Spearhead. This will involve placing new recruits and providing advice and support to managers on how to get the best out of any new young member of staff. Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: "Thanks to this very generous funding from City Bridge Trust we will be able to help offer young residents a chance to develop the sort of skills they will need to find employment. "By drawing on the experience of our three partners we can, hopefully, make a real difference to the job prospects of these young people." For more information about the project c ontact Mark Ward, the Royal Borough's Employment Initiatives Officer at


Hands in the papers:

Whips declare victory in HS2 vote
Isabel Hardman, The Spectator Thursday 31st October 2013 As expected, the government’s high-speed rail preparation bill cleared the Commons this evening, with 350 votes in favour and just 34 against. Only 18 of those were Conservative MPs, which deputy chief whip Greg Hands seems very keen indeed to highlight (see here and here), perhaps to suggest that he’s already working his magic in his new job. But we reported earlier that one of the whips’ strategies was to let any possible rebel have the day off to spend with their children over half term. How family-friendly. What was of more interest was Labour’s position before, during and after the debate. Summing up, Mary Creagh argued that ‘it is we on this side of the House who are the true friends of HS2!. She has a funny definition of friendship: this is a bit like a mate who regularly invites you out for a drink, then turns up so late that you’re starting to wonder if you’ve been stood up. But all the indications are that Labour will eventually support the project, after making protracted noises about fiscal responsibility and the important job of a credible opposition.

Hands in the papers:

Constituency Matters Column
Greg Hands M.P., Hammersmith & Fulham Chronicle Friday 1st November 2013 Chronicle readers will know of Hammersmith & Council’s efforts to create more school places by merging Sulivan and New King’s Primary Schools, and using the Sulivan site as a new home for the Fulham Boys School, a Church of England boys secondary school opening in September 2014, which would be the boys equivalent to Lady Margaret School. Across London, more than 240,000 new primary school places will now be needed. In Hammersmith & Fulham, there will already by 2014 be a shortage of 3% of places compared with pupils, according to the National Audit Office. The Council should be congratulated for planning now to head off this places crisis before it happens. Already, in Fulham, St Thomas’s has gone from 1.5 to 2 form entry, St John’s from one to two form entry, Lady Margaret itself is expanding, and so on. But more needs to be done, otherwise those being born now might have no school to go to in four years time. The Council should take with scepticism the outcry from the Labour Party about creating new, free schools. It was the Labour Council in the 1990s, supported by the LibDems, who closed many of our local schools and sold off the sites. The St Mark’s site in Ackmar Road, for example, would now have been an ideal location for the Fulham Boys School. It is thanks to their poor foresight that none of these sites are now available, land prices have skyrocketed, and now the Council needs to find innovative solutions like that proposed for Sulivan and New King’s. The proposal might not be perfect, but at least the Council is addressing the issue, unlike its predecessors.

Hands in the papers:
The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 27th October 2013

Lord Lamont: BBC has 'cultural problem'

As Conservative minister Grant Shapps says the licence fee could be cut, former Tory chancellor Lord Lamont says there are sometimes "cultural problems" within the BBC. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph , Mr Shapps warned that the BBC could lose its exclusive right to the licence fee if it does not tackle a "culture" of secrecy, waste and unbalanced reporting. Speaking on Sunday afternoon, Lord Lamont said that the BBC did suffer from "cultural problems" when it came to reporting issues such as Europe and climate change. Chancellor in Sir John Major's Conservative government of the early nineties, Lord Lamont also echoed Mr Shapps calls for greater financial transparency within the national broadcaster. Conservative MP Greg Hands also spoke out, saying the BBC needs to be "open" to ensure the "taxpayer is getting good value for money".

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