Kingston Council grant helps ‘green’ charity river project


A grant from Kingston’s Liberal Democrat-run Council is helping improve the environmental credentials of a barge run by local charity The River Thames Boat Project.

The Venturer, a specially adapted boat with easy access for wheelchair users is regularly used by disabled and elderly residents, as well as local schoolchildren for social and educational activities.

Cllr Bob Steed, Executive Member for Grants said: “Kingston Council have provided this local charity with an environmental grant to help them improve an already well-loved community project. The money will be used to install solar panels into the Venturer barge, significantly reducing the boat’s carbon footprint.”

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Labour hits ‘leafy’ Kingston again


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Kingston has yet again received a dreadful financial settlement from Gordon Brown’s Labour Government.

Its grant to Kingston will increase by only 1.5% - the lowest it can give - and not the 4% that Labour claims all councils are receiving.

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Kingston gets 3rd year of ‘bum deal’ from Government grant settlement

Last week, the Government revealed the provisional figures for its 2010/11 grant settlement for local authorities. The Royal Borough of Kingston received the minimum 1.5% “floor” increase, despite recessionary pressures creating increased demands on the Council’s services. Kingston’s grant continues to be one of the lowest in London.

While this pittance of an increase was the third settlement in a three year programme and so came as no surprise, we are still disappointed that Kingston continues to get such a bum deal from central Government funding.

The provisional settlement for 2010/11 gives us an additional £1.64 per head of population, despite the average London borough getting £6.89. Tory-flagship Hammersmith and Fulham Council now receives £678 per resident, while “leafy” Kingston gets just £231.

As a borough we suffer real pockets of deprivation, and have unprecedented demand for school services. The Council will be writing to the Labour Government demanding a fairer deal for Kingston.

Kingston’s Fairtrade councillor

kingston-lib-dems-fairtrade-bart-ricketts-eco-op.jpgYesterday afternoon Kingston’s Fairtrade councillor Liberal Democrat Bart Ricketts, helped out at a road show outside the town centre’s Guildhall which sampled and promoted ethically-sourced products.

He said: “Kingston’s Liberal Democrat-run Council is committed to being a Fairtrade Borough. We offer Fairtrade products at meetings, public events and even in ‘snack boxes’ in our offices.

"I am immensely proud to support the campaign for a better deal for disadvantage farmers and workers in the developing world.”

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Community Services performing well

Community Services at Kingston Council have been inspected by the Care Quality Commission and given a score of 3. This is the second highest of four grades, and is rated as 'Performing Well'.

Councillor Rolson Davies, Executive Member for Health and Adult Community Services, said: “The Care Quality Commission recognises that Kingston has the leadership capacity to deliver a change agenda, with a clear vision for adult social care supported by the Executive.

In January the Executive will consider an action plan for the coming year to address the areas where we can improve further and ensure that local residents continue to have access to high quality adult care services.”

You can read Kingston's assessment here.

Kingston receives “double whammy” of good news on school funding

At 1st December meeting of the Executive, Kingston’s Lead Member for Schools announced that the borough would be receiving better-than-expected levels of Government funding for the expansion and new build of local schools.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Patricia Bamford, the Council officer team and local MPs were acknowledged by the Executive panel and audience members for their hard work in getting Government recognition for the exceptional and unprecedented demand for education services in Kingston upon Thames.

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Lib Dem Kingston’s response to recession

At last week’s Executive meeting, Kingston Council’s Lead Member for Economic Development updated the chamber of the local initiatives which the local authority is running to help residents and local businesses during the economic downturn.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Simon James said: “As a borough we suffer ‘leafy Kingston syndrome’. The economic pressures on the Council and the difficulties faced by our residents and local businesses are often ignored.

“But Kingston is suffering in this recession like everywhere else. The effects are being felt slightly differently locally as we have particularly high levels of managerial unemployment. It’s important we have a bespoke local response in order to keep our town centres vibrant and local workers in their jobs. We have also been providing active support for residents who are unemployed or at risk of redundancy.”

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Kingston Council shows Copenhagen summit the way and pledges 10% carbon slash

kingston-lib-dems-liberal-democrats-climate-change-carbon-reduction-gree-environment-bob-steed.jpgIn the week before world leaders meet at the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, Kingston Council formally signed up to the 10:10 carbon cutting commitment.

At last night’s meeting of the Executive, Kingston’s Lead Member for the Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change Cllr Bob Steed said: “The 10:10 campaign is a fantastic initiative which binds businesses, organisations, governance and individuals to a nation-wide voluntary commitment to do their best to reduce carbon emissions by 10% over the 2010 year.

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Conservative Candidate Helen Whately tries to claim credit for Lib Dem New Malden success story

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Helen Whately has been slammed for “jumping on the bandwagon” of a successful campaign led by local Liberal Democrats.

A Full Council question was asked about an article in a political newspaper article by Conservative Helen Whately. It suggested she was responsible for South West Trains changing their policy of permanently closing the South exit of New Malden train station.

It was revealed that Ms Whately did not attend the important negotiations which resulted in the exit being kept open at peak times to avoid increased congestion, and financial damage to local businesses which rely of commuter traffic.

It is clear that Ms Whately jumped on the bandwagon after local Liberal Democrat MPs and councillors supporting local residents and businesses, had been on the case for two months and a solution already potentially reached.”

Residents and local businesses who were involved in that campaign and those meetings with Liberal Democrat councillors and MPs will be surprised that Ms Whately is claiming credit. A photograph of Helen Whately with Conservative councillors and activists does not make a successful campaign.

That requires the hard work and pressure applied by Liberal Democrat councillors and MPs.

Kilby admits colleague Ian George speaks “rubbish”

The opposition group on Kingston Council carried out another re-shuffle of its shadow portfolio holders this evening. They gave increased responsibility to the discredited Cllr Ian George, who was described as “often speak[ing] a lot of rubbish” by a Conservative colleague at the very same meeting.

The last time that the shadow Executive positions were re-arranged was only two months ago: on 17th September.

Tory meeting held at “undemocratic” time according to Cllr George

Opposition members of Kingston Council arranged a seven hour long Scrutiny meeting this week on the One Council programme, starting at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. In attendance was Conservative councillor Ian George who just two months ago complained on his on-line blog that daytime meetings were “undemocratic” and “annoying”.

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Lib Dems welcome PM waking up to ‘fuel poverty disgrace’

kingston_lib_dems-rolson_davies-penny_shelton.jpgThe Liberal Democrat councillors who are leading the local campaign against fuel poverty, have welcomed the news that the Prime Minister is planning on including an Energy Bill in this week’s Queen’s Speech.

Cllr Penny Shelton who is the Council’s Lead Member for Housing and Cllr Rolson Davies who is Executive Member for Health, have said whilst they are supportive of any Government action which halts the dominance and unfair pricing practices of the ‘big six’ energy companies, they are concerned about the timing of this well over-due bill.

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Fuel Poverty Campaign

Latest - November 2009

The Liberal Democrat councillors who are leading the local campaign against fuel poverty, have welcomed the news that the Prime Minister is planning on including an Energy Bill in this week’s Queen’s Speech.


The Fuel Poverty Campaign to protect local tenants from fuel poverty this winter has met with success.

Kingston Council has received a £975,000 grant to improve energy efficiency in council properties.

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Kingston welcomes London school report

Kingston Council’s Executive Member for Children and Young People’s Services has welcomed a report acknowledging the exceptional and unanticipated rise in demand for primary school places across London.

London Councils’ ‘Understanding Primary School Capacity Issues’ contributed the unprecedented rise in applications for schools in London boroughs such as Kingston to the booming birth rate in the capital, increased numbers of parents choosing state education, and London’s sluggish housing market. 

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Tory suggests “dishonest” bid to sell off Raven’s Ait

At this month’s meeting of Executive, Conservative councillor Nick Kilby suggested that the Council should pursue a property developer’s bid to buy Raven’s Ait, which would have seen the small Thames island transformed with a new-build for 20 luxury apartments and a large restaurant.

In the context of considerable security costs to safeguard the Council-owned asset from damage from squatters and thieves, Executive Members were considering proposed bids for sale or lease of the Council-owned land. 

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