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A great Lib Dem team!

April 6, 2010

The Liberal Democrats have got a great team of candidates at the up-coming elections – a team that reflects the diversity of our borough. I’m excited that Jenni Steele, Shirley Drummonds and Janet Bowens (left to right above) will be representing the Lib Dems at the elections on May 6th. They all graduated from Operation Black Vote’s Civic Leadership Development Programme.

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Thank you supporters!

March 31, 2010

A HUGE thank you to all those who have been helping out on our campaign – especially Kaileigh, Tyra and Beth, three of my former students from Deptford Green came along to help last weekend!

Standing up for tenants’ rights

March 31, 2010

Tenants on two estates in Lewisham East have recently been facing major changes… without being given a say on what those changes are. The Crown Estate is threatening to sell off its properties in Lee Green against the wishes of the tenants, and without a vote, or even an effective consultation process. I joined a large rally of tenants from The Crown Estate properties across London last week and called on The Crown to explain why is was proposing the sell off when the estate clearly meets the urgent need in Lewisham for more social and affordable housing.

Tenants and residents on Excalibur Estate were also facing a major change without being given a vote. The Council was proposing to re-develop the Estate through a regeneration scheme, which does not oblige them to offer residents a ballot – a crucial part of the plans for the Estate up till then. I have campaigned to secure a vote for residents, which I believe is the fairest way forward. Last week we convinced the Lewisham Mayor to agree to this, and I look forward to a speedy and fair decision on the future of the Estate.

Access for All petition taken to Government

March 6, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Commuters left stranded at Lewisham Station’s Exit 4

March 5, 2010

Commuters using Lewisham Station have been left stranded, after both Southeastern Railway and the Labour Government passed the buck on a decision to extend the opening hours of the exit ramp at platform 4.

The exit ramp provides a convenient and safe route for commuters who live to the north of Lewisham Road to leave the station. However, Southeastern’s franchise agreement only require them to keep the exit open from 4 – 7pm on weekdays, leaving many commuters facing a long detour to get to and from the station, which can add 50% to journey times.

When I called on the Government’s Department for Transport to open up the Exit, they passed the buck on the matter, saying that the opening hours of the exit is a, “matter for the station operator, Southeastern, to make.”

But Southeastern said recently, “A decision on the future of the Lewisham station side gate is still awaited from the Department for Transport.”

There seems to be complete confusion between the Department for Transport and Southeastern Railway. Both parties are passing the buck on the future of the exit. Meanwhile commuters are left stranded. The common sense solution is to install an entrance and exit at the foot of the new stairs that have been built beside platform 4, but neither the Government nor the railway company appear wiling to consider this. Southeastern have a new slogan, ‘It’s time for change’. It certainly is!

No to Heathrow’s Third Runway

March 5, 2010

I joined a large demonstration against the third runway at Heathrow outside the High Court recently.

The protest was in support of a legal challenge to the Government’s decision to build a third runway at Heathrow airport. The challenge has been led by a coalition of local councils, conservation groups and residents.

Thousands of Lewisham residents are disturbed by the relentless noise of low-flying planes heading to Heathrow. The third runway at Heathrow will not only make this problem worse, but will also increase the damage we cause to our envrionment.

And yet our Labour MP failed to oppose the extra runway while the Labour government voted it through Parliament. Yet another example of how she has put loyalty to her party before loyalty to local people.

Fairer taxes for local families

February 20, 2010

I met Vince Cable recently to discuss our new tax plans to help local families. Our proposals mean that no one will pay tax on the first £10,000 they earn. This will save most workers £700 in income tax each year. Many low paid or part-time workers will pay no tax at all.

These tax cuts will be paid for by measures including closing tax loopholes exploited by the very rich, taxes on pollution and a new ‘mansion tax’ on houses worth more than £2 million.

Under Labour, local families are paying more and getting less in return. In Lewisham we have the highest Council Tax in inner London.
As for the Conservatives, their only tax plan appears to be to cut taxes for millionaires!