30 November 2011

Lambeth MPs issue statement on todays strike

Lambeth MPs Kate Hoey, Tessa Jowell and Chuka Umunna have issued a statement on today's strike:

"A strike is a sign of failure which results in huge disruption and great inconvenience for all of our constituents which we could not condone. So the government and the trade unions must do all they can to thrash out a deal – this will involve compromise on both sides.

However, we cannot condemn those who faithfully serve our communities for taking industrial action. To do so would be to ignore the fact that the decision to go on strike is not one any of our constituents who work in the public sector take lightly - they feel they have been left with no other option by a government which has imposed a 3% surcharge on thousands of workers and instead of engaging in constructive dialogue, has indulged in irresponsible brinkmanship with minsters taking to the airwaves, ramping up rhetoric and refusing to negotiate.

Ministers are, in effect, imposing a 3% tax rise on thousands of public sector workers who are approaching retirement, including many who work part time such as dinner ladies and nursing assistants – the monies raised by the 3% extra contribution demanded of them are not going into the various public sector pension funds but are going straight to the Treasury.

This has nothing to do with the long-term sustainability of public sector pensions.

Public sector pensions need to be reformed which is why, in government, Labour negotiated a deal under which the cost of public sector pensions was not allowed to become unsustainable. But this government acts as though it is happy to see a disruptive strike, rather than working flat out and leaving no stone unturned to reach an agreement."

29 November 2011

Disruption due to the strike on Wednesday 30 November 2011

As you may be aware members of several public sector unions are due to go on strike on Wednesday 30 November 2011 to protest at central government attacks on often low paid workers' pensions and working conditions. This will result in the closure of many council services.

Lambeth has published a list of schools in the borough affected by the strike

TUC's Pensions justice website

28 November 2011

This winter help your community: sign up to be a Lambeth Snow Warden

Could you do your bit to keep your local area safe in snowy and icy conditions?

Snow in Vassall Ward
Lambeth are encouraging local residents to sign up to become snow wardens and, if it snows, will take an active role in clearing snow from the street outside their homes.

Lambeth will give you the equipment and grit to carry out this work effectively and will be holding a training day on Tuesday 6 December 2011.

To find out more see the Lambeth Snow Warden page, email SnowWardens@lambeth.gov.uk or tel 020 7926 0524
Lambeth Snow Wardens logo

23 November 2011

Ken pledges to cut fares

Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for Mayor of London, has announced the next important part of his Fare Deal for London – a new zone 2-6 ZoneSaver card to replace the Travelcard abolished this January by Conservative Boris Johnson.

Thousands of outer London commuters were stunned to find the zone 2-6 Travelcard was abolished by the Conservative Mayor earlier this year, leading to a 74% fare hike for these customers on 3 January 3 2011.

Mr Livingstone made his announcement on a visit to the London Borough of Bexley, part of his ‘Tell Ken’ programme of day-long visits to all 32 London boroughs.

The ZoneSaver Travelcard will end the stealth tax fare rise imposed by the Conservative Mayor this January – introducing a new replacement zone 2-6 Travelcard as part of the emergency fares cut planned for autumn 2012 if Ken Livingstone is elected.

Boris Johnson abolished the Zones 2-6 Travelcard (which cost £8.60) meant that passengers who wanted to use a Travelcard were forced to buy a Zone 1-6 Travelcard (which cost £15) paying £128 a month more.

Pressed by London Assembly members about the Outer London stealth tax fare rise, Boris Johnson said the difference between prices was ‘very little.’

Fares have rocketed under Boris Johnson. The cost of a single bus fare has risen 56% (jumping from 90p to £1.40) and the cost of a popular weekly zone 1 – 4 Travelcard is up 23%, costing Londoners £416 a year more than in 2008.

Ken Livingstone said: “This is about righting a wrong and ending a disgraceful stealth tax on outer London that should never have been imposed by the Conservative Mayor. In tough times we need to use the levers available to the mayor to reduce the pressure on people who are really feeling the pinch – not a city administration that has become so remote it thinks nothing of a 74 per cent fare rise for many commuters in outer London.

“If I am elected I will cut the fares and introduce a 2- 6 travelcard, the ZoneSaver card, saving fare-payers in outer London hundreds of pounds a year. Boris Johnson abolished it in January 2011. I will reintroduce it by October next year. The choice could not be clearer.”

”This part of the new Fare Deal for London – to tear up the current plan of above-inflation annual fare rises, cut fares by 5% next October, freeze them for a year and from 2014 ensure they do not rise by more than inflation. It will mean the average commuter in London will be £800 off over the next four years – in stark contrast to the staggering fare hikes we have seen in the last three years.”

Val Shawcross Assembly Member of Lambeth and Southwark added: “It was telling that Boris Johnson regarded the financial impact of scrapping the 2-6 Travelcard as, ‘very little’ when thousands of commuters in outer London have been forced to pay hundreds of pounds a year."

”No wonder the Conservative Mayor is increasingly being seen as out of touch with the interest and concerns of ordinary Londoners. In tough times like these, Londoners can’t afford a mayor who is so out of touch that he is hitting Londoners with stealth taxes like a 74 per cent rise in some Londoners’ fares but thinks it’s okay to have a second job paying £250 000 a year – an amount he calls ‘chicken feed.’

“Outer London has been hit particularly hard by decisions made by Boris Johnson. Fares have risen steeply under his watch. Every single outer London borough has seen police numbers cut in the last year. Vital transport projects like the DLR extension to Dagenham and Croydon tram extension have been scrapped.”

16 November 2011

Victoria Line closed this weekend

Stockwell Station sign on Vassall View
The whole of the Victoria Line will be shut this weekend for Transport for London engineering works.

A replacement bus service will operate between Brixton and Victoria calling at Stockwell, Vauxhall and Pimlico stations.

At the other end of the line a bus service will operate between Walthamstow and Finsbury park calling at Walthamstow Central - Blackhorse Road - Tottenham Hale - Seven Sisters - Manor House (for Piccadilly line) - Finsbury Park (other stations not covered by the bus service are also on other underground lines).

For further information see the TfL website

14 November 2011

Lambeth Library Commission recommends keeping Minet Library open

The Minet Library on Knatchbull Road, SE5 in Lambeth's Vassall Ward is set to remain open if the proposals of Lambeth's Library Commission are adopted by the Council Cabinet at their meeting next week.

Minet Library in Vassall
Owing to central government cuts Lambeth is having to reduce spending on its nine libraries by £750,000  and it was feared that the smaller community libraries such as the Minet would be hit hardest.

The Commission however recommends keeping the Minet open and the Council has come forward with proposals to make libraries such as the Minet into community libraries run in partnership with local people.

In other sections of its report the Commission recommends introducing seven day opening for Brixton and Streatham libraries and increased self-service facilities to reduce costs.

The Commission also recommends introducing wifi across the borough's libraries to allow library users to make use of their laptops, smartphones and other devices to access the internet - this will also reduce pressure on the library computers.

Councillor Florence Nosegbe, Lambeth Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, who chaired the Commission said: “I’m pleased that the Commission has proposed a model that protects access to the library service in every part of the borough by working more closely with the local community."

She added “As part of our plan to make Lambeth’s Britain’s first co-operative council, the final decisions rest with the community - and we’ll back the community’s decisions. Our aim is to increase access, and extend the reach of libraries by making services available at more locations, and get more people using them so that the service is preserved for future generations. Investing in new technology such as ebooks and wifi will expand their appeal but also save money and make the service more flexible."

Read the full Library Commission report

12 November 2011

Vassall to benefit from neighbourhood enhancement programme

Lambeth's Vassall Ward has been chosen as one of the first areas in Lambeth to benefit from the Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme of environmental improvements.

According to the Lambeth website "The Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme (NEP) changes how we manage traditional engineering schemes by looking at all the transport issues over an area - complementing any works, such as local road safety schemes and 20 mph zones, with other environmental measures such as improving cycle parking and cycle training, setting up car clubs, tree planting and removing street clutter such as unnecessary bollards, railings and redundant street signs"

A series of events are taking place around the borough.
  • 9 November, 2.30 to 6pm - Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, SW2 1JQ
  • 15 November, 3 to 6pm - Minet Library, 52 Knatchbull Road, SE5 9QY
  • 18 November, 2 to 6pm - South Lambeth Library, 180 South Lambeth Road, SW8 1QP
  • 22 November, 12 to 3pm - Windrush Square - central Brixton outside the Ritzy cinema and library
  • 26 November, 10 to 3pm - Oval Farmers Market Sat 3
  • 3 December, 12 to 3pm, 10-17 Papa Park 10 to 17 Pulross Road, SW9 8AF 
  • 10 December, 11 to 2pm - Clapham Methodist Church, Clapham High Street, SW4 7JR .

The Council are consulting on the scheme until 16 December 2011 - to get involved go to the Lambeth website 

10 November 2011

Ken's Fare Deal

09 November 2011

Ken comes to Brixton to promote his Fare Deal

Labour candidate for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone this week launched his Fare Deal - his fares policy which will save the average Londoner £800 over the next four years. To mark this, dozens of supporters joined Ken for a 'Fareride' on the Victoria line from Walthamstow to Brixton to spread the word.

Ken Livingstone in Brixton on vassallview.com
A large crowd wearing Fare Deal T-shirts, waving placards and balloons had gathered to welcome Ken when he emerged at Brixton. Joined by Tessa Jowell MP and Val Shawcross AM, Ken spoke to the crowd (pictured) about how steep fare increases under Boris Johnson are squeezing Londoners hard.

Ken’s Fare Deal proposes to reduce transport fares overall by 5% next autumn with no fare increases at all in 2013. After which fares will rise no higher than RPI inflation. Measures that will save Londoners hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of pounds over four years. In contrast, Tory Mayor Boris Johnson plans to raise fares at 2% above inflation year on year.

Boris Johnson is out of touch and simply doesn’t get how hard ordinary Londoners are finding it at the moment. In reaction to Ken’s pledge on fares, Boris Johnson said “It would be, I think, the last thing that Londoners want or deserve”.

Ken will put Londoners first and cut the cost of travel.

More information on the campaign at www.kenlivingstone.com

06 November 2011

Myatt's Fields Park held up as example of Cooperative council

Myatt's Fields Park in lambeth's Vassall Ward has been held up the council as an exemplar of the new 'Cooperative Council' model being developed in Lambeth.

Myatt's Fields Park bandstand on vassallview.com
Lambeth Council Leader Steve Reed said “These projects and activities are really good examples of what we mean by making Lambeth a Cooperative borough - helping residents who want to get more involved in helping their local community by giving them the tools to do so. These are just some of the plans we have in place to revolutionise local government as more and more residents come forward and help their communities to work together for everyone’s benefit."

More information on the Cooperative Council is avaialbale at www.lambeth.gov.uk/cooperativecouncil

02 November 2011

Minet Library Reading Group's November book is After Dark by Haruki Murakamit

The Minet Library Reading Group meets on the third Tuesday of the month at the Minet Library at 52 Knatchbull Road, Camberwell, SE5 in Lambeth's Vassall Ward.  Every month the group meets for an informal discussion of the book of the month. The meetings take place from 6:30-8:30pm.

November 2011's book is After Dark  by Haruki Murakami.

At the time of writing several copies were still available in Lambeth libraries so there is still time to get the book and read it before the meeting - check library book stocks on the Lambeth libraries web catalogue.

The Minet Library Reading Group meeting will take place at the Minet Library from 6:30-8:30pm  on Tuesday 15 November 2011. Follow the Minet Library on Twitter

01 November 2011

Vassall Labour Councillors' surgeries in November 2011

Photo of Adrian Garden and Kingsley Abrams, Vassall Ward Labour Councillors on Vassall View
Vassall Ward Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden will be holding surgeries in Vassall Ward in November  2011 on the following dates

Tuesday 1 November 2011 - 6:30-7:30pm The Holland Room, Christ Church, Brixton Road, SW9 6BE
Thursday 17 November 2011 - 6:30-7:30pm, The Annex, Cowley Estate, Brixton Road, SW9 6LZ
Saturday 19 November 2011 - 2-3pm, Myatts Field North TMO Boardroom, Foxley Square, SW9 7RY
Saturday 26 November 2011 - 10-11am, Myatts Field South Tenants Hall, Burton Lane, SW9 6NX

(Click on the address for a link to a map showing the location)

If these dates are inconvenient for you or you have a problem or issue that requires immediate attention please contact the Vassall Labour Councillors directly:
Kingsley Abrams - email kingsleyabrams@hotmail.com tel 07932 447763
Adrian Garden - email agarden@lambeth.gov.uk tel 07814 568 024