|Campaign to prevent post office closures continues|
|Monday, 10 March 2008 17:21|
My campaign with local residents and Post Masters and Post Mistresses to prevent any local post offices being closed continues. Despite massive government subsidy, the Post Office Limited is still making loses. The challenge for us locally is to persuade the Post Office why our post offices should not be selected for closure. As I have been examining each plan in detail, speaking to local residents, reading the surveys that have been returned, meeting local businesses and Post Masters and Post Mistresses it is clear that some of the post offices have stronger grounds to resist closure than others. There is still almost four weeks to go before the consultation ends and I am keen to maximise participation in the process so that I can respond fully to the consultation and try to ensure informed decisions are made at the conclusion. You can click HERE to read more about my local consultation and how you can get involved.
I have also been working with TARA Arts to lobby the Arts Council not to make cuts to the funding they receive. In October the Government announced that grant-in aid funding for the Arts Council would continue to rise above inflation to £467 million by 2010/11-an increase of 3.3% above inflation over three years. The Labour Government has a proud record of support for the arts over the last ten years and has increased funding to the arts by 73% in real terms. However, I am very concerned by the decision by the Arts Council to cut TARA Arts’ funding. The Arts Council operates at arms length from the Government and levels of funding for individual arts organisations are entirely for the Arts Council. The Oily Cart Company and Children’s Discovery Centre in Tooting will receive continued funding and I have written to them to congratulate them on this good news. However, TARA Arts are having theirs cut by 50%. I have met with representatives of the Arts Council London to discuss my concerns. I am unhappy with their conclusions and the impact this may have on the excellent work TARA Arts does. I am continuing to work with TARA Arts to see what can be done about this and the impact it will have.
On Wednesday, I attended the centenary celebration of Tooting Fire Station on Trinity Road. There are only 16 fire stations in London older than ours. I am a big fan of our local station, who once rescued my family and our home when I was a young boy. It was good to meet so many ex fire men and women as well joining with them in celebration the invaluable work they do.
On Thursday, I was the Chief Guest and speaker at the AGM of Tooting Neighbourhood Centre. It was really good to see this local group doing so well. The Community Care Outreach and Befriending Scheme, the Over 60’s luncheon club, the Home and Respite Care and the Hope (Mental Health) project are all well used by local older citizens. Particular credit goes to the Chair, Bishop Powell, the Project Director (David Lorde) and all the staff, volunteers and Management Committee.
I also attended the AGM of Tooting Labour Party this week. I am constantly impressed with the efforts of literally hundreds of local residents in their commitment to the aims, values and aspirations of the Labour Party locally and nationally. People often forget that we are a voluntary party and rely on the time, efforts and generosity of numerous individuals coming together to try and make a difference.
On Saturday I held my appointment surgery at Tooting Library.
On Sunday, I attended a special service at the Yahweh Christian Fellowship (YCF). Pastor Noel and the YCF are doing a fantastic job trying to stop any more young people from our community suffering the misery caused by guns, knives and gangs. One of the main challenges that the YCF is addressing, with other local agencies, is to give our young people a sense of belonging.
I also attended the Islamic Awareness Day event at Tooting Islamic Centre. Cllr Nick Bowes of Tooting Ward and Sgt Lisa Hurley of the Tooting Safer Neighbourhood Team, attended this event as well. One of the best ways of dispelling the myths that exist about Islam is for events like this to take place. Living in the most diverse city in the world, it is important that we learn about each others religions and beliefs.
Promoted by Tooting Labour Party on behalf Sadiq Khan and Tooting Labour Party, all of 273 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7BD. Hosted by 34SP.com, 349 Bury Old Road, Manchester, M25 1PY.