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Monday, 28 July 2014

Lord Adonis and Tri Borough

Lord Adonis is launching a review into the Triborough project.  I have long suspected that this is more of a triumph of spin than one of substance.  It will be interesting to see whether Lord Adonis thinks the claimed gains are genuine.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Income Generation in Libraries

Some of the complexities of income generation in Libraries are set out in this report.  My impression is that many of the well meaning suggestions made about both Council run and Community managed libraries just don't understand what a minefield this can be, especially if you run into litigious partners.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Language of Priorities and Brent Budgets

As Brent's councillors start to grapple with the prospect of setting budgets for the next four years, they might do worse than take on board the analysis of Flip Chart Fairy Tales.  My own experience of debates in Brent chimes with his view that there is "an air of unreality".  Very often I have seen people confronted with appalling figures of how the income of Brent Council is being reduced, and then plunge into a discussion of how they are going to spend more money on this or that.  This year's budget was one such example.  As he says, the LGA figures he quotes are actually fairly optimistic, and assume some increases in charges and efficiency as a given. 

I fear that Brent Council is just going to float along without proper planning, until suddenly the money simply isn't there and panic cuts have to be implemented.  When that happens, councillors cease to exercise any sense of priorities and simply try to balance this year's books, until they go through an even more difficult exercise next year.

Nye Bevan famously said that "The language of priorities is the religion of socialism."  It is also really the basis of all serious politics.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Poverty in Newham

Here is an examination of problems of poverty in Newham.  Many of these issues apply just as strongly in Brent as in East London. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Brent Council Planning Consultation

There is still time for anyone who wants to to respond to Brent Council's consultation on its development policies.  The document and a consultation form are here.  The documents wound there way through the Council bureaucracy some time ago.  All this may seem quite remote, but it actually concerns a very wide range of things that directly impact on people.

Willesden Junction Rezoning?

I see that Stratford station is to be rezoned to 2 by TfL.  Willesden Junction was also once in zone 2 and thus Harlesden Town Centre benefited from the lower fares.  Boris Johnson has of course ramped up London fares to some of the highest in Europe.  If both Willesden Junction and Stratford were in zone 2, it would help create an affordable rail route across North London, helping to divert more people out of their cars.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Skateboards in Roundwood Park

I am delighted to see Cllr Lesley Jones is close to success in her long held ambition to get a skate board park in Roundwood Park. I know she has been aiming at this for years.