Sarah Teather MP and library closures

My colleague Cllr James Powney has found this surprising gem of support from MP Sarah Teather. Appearing on Radio 4's Question Time, there was a question on library closures. She said that the closure of libraries was an “enormous cause for regret”, however she is in principle in favour of the direction that Brent Council are taking Library Services in the borough when she says that councils should look for solutions, such as ‘co-location’, whereby a number of departments provide services from a location. Maybe her Lib Dem colleagues will help rather than just criticise essential decisions. Unfortunately, she also rehashes the old story generated by Lib Dems that a former Labour administration had policies to close a number of libraries. They have never been able to back this untruth with evidence because it is just that - an untruth.


In his own backyard ....

Prime Minister David Cameron represents an Oxfordshire constituency. Oxfordshire County Council is planning to cut 20 of its 43 public libraries. Brent is one of hundreds of councils proposing to close libraries to meet huge cuts imposed by central government.  Nearly 400 libraries nationwide are threatened with closure.

Scrapping EMA

Last year, David Cameron said he "had no plans" to axe the Education Maintenance Grant (EMA) given to encourage students in poor homes to stay in education or training with a weekly grant of up to £30.  Today there is a statement in parliament about it being abolished. Aim is to save money, but if a large number of young people leave their courses and cannot find work and claim unemployment, wouldn't this cost more than EMA in the end?


Ward Working 2010/2011

Ward Working is a way councillors can support projects and improvements in their wards. A small fund (£20,000) is available for each ward in Brent. The 3 councillors have to agree to allocate funds to works or projects that are not the council’s responsibility to deal with.  This year, projects have included:

Brent Museum and Archives  – textile craft workshops and workshops to explore support services for people with mental health problems
Kings Hall Community Centre – storage shed and resources for new youth club started by parents
Victory Youth Group – football project
Cricklewood Homeless Concern – Night Shelter
Brent Area Community Watch – burglary prevention project
Willesden Green Library multiplexor
Planting in troughs leading to Sainsbury’s store
SNT Alert box funding for connection charge to link alert boxes within shops along the High Road
CAB – Working with the Tricycle Theatre to deliver financial education to young adults

We are now seeking ideas for the next financial year and would be pleased to hear residents’ suggestions.