Kingston Council are continuing to run a number of local schemes which will help protect vulnerable residents from fuel poverty this winter. However, the Liberal Democrat administration have raised concerns that central Government is endangering local people by failing to properly address the wider causes of rocketing fuel bills, pensioner poverty, and energy inefficiency in homes.
Penny Shelton, Kingston’s Executive Member for Housing said: “We are doing all we can at a local level to provide financial assistance and practical help to keep local homes warm. But I fear our efforts are being stifled by Government’s threat of a 47% cut to its Warm Front energy efficiency programme and its deafening silence over rocketing fuel prices.
In the week that a raft of unpopular transport decisions have been announced by the Conservative Mayor of London, Kingston’s Executive Member for Transport has welcomed the news that a Liberal Democrat motion for ‘one hour bus ticket’ scheme in the capital has been overwhelmingly supported by the London Assembly.
On Wednesday, the Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee presented a petition of over 2000 signatures to the London Mayor, which included the Liberal Democrat members of Kingston Council. It called for passengers who use more than one bus during a 60-minute period should not to be charged more than a single fare on their Oyster Card.
The Mayor of London this week admitted that from January 2010, there will above-inflation rises in the cost of bus and Tube fares, along with a 25% increase in the congestion charge.
Commenting on the announcement, Kingston’s Executive Member for Transport, Cllr Bob Steed said: “I find it disgraceful that in a recession the London Mayor would impose an inflation-busting hike on the cost of taking public transport in the capital.
“Boris is showing his true Tory colours in this decision. To pay for the scrapping the Western extension of the congestion charge and Boris’ vanity project on the new route master line of buses, the Mayor is increasing single bus fares on Oyster cards by a staggering 20% - whilst freezing most weekly, monthly and annual Travelcards.
“The new fare scheme will punish regular low-income bus users, adding hundreds of pounds to the annual commuting costs for many Kingston residents, whilst keeping travel costs low for those who can afford to fork out for an annual pass.”
Surbiton Sea Scout Group have enjoyed the use of Raven’s Ait for 25 over years. Conditions have been attached to the island’s sale or lease; future occupiers should accommodate the Sea Scouts on Wednesday and Friday afternoons.
Liberal Democrat councillor Barry O’Mahony has welcomed support for Surbiton Sea Scouts staying on Ravens Ait:
“Raven’s Ait is clearly a fantastic asset for this borough. The Council wants to support its continued use by community groups, and I am delighted that the Sea Scouts, who help young people training to sail and canoe, should be accommodated by whoever next takes over the island.”
Kingston’s Liberal Democrat councillors are leading a local campaign against a proposed cut in the Government grant which helps pay for pensioner and disabled bus journeys.
The administration’s Executive member for Transport, Cllr Bob Steed explained: “Just last year, the Department of Transport promised a £55million grant to London local authorities to help us pay for the Freedom Pass journeys of our elderly and disabled residents.
A new development has been announced in the campaign against the sale of puppy farmed dogs in Kingston upon Thames.
Since receiving complaints from residents that dogs sold in local pet shops have suffered genetic deformities from over-breeding as well as ill health from the unbearable conditions in foreign puppy farms, we have wanted to outlaw the sale of these poor pups in the borough.
At this year’s Liberal Democrat party conference, Kingston Council’s administration Group gave a keynote presentation on the subject of 27 years of elected Liberal Democrats in the Royal Borough.
We were invited by the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference Committee to showcase to party members from across the country, as well as viewers of the BBC Parliament Channel, the achievements of a generation of Liberal Democrat councillors in Kingston.
At last night’s meeting of the Executive the Lead Member for Housing announced that a number of empty properties in the Borough, which are currently uninhabitable, will be refurbished and turned into homes for local tenants.
The Liberal Democrat councillor said: “The Executive will recall that some months ago we agreed in principle to the disposal of a number of uninhabitable council homes, where the renovation cost was high, to a Registered Social Landlord. The final terms were to be subject to endorsement by three members of the Executive.
At last night’s meeting of the Executive, Cllr Penny Shelton – Lead Member for Housing announced that Kingston Council has received a £975,000 grant to improve energy efficiency in council properties. The government money signals good news for Kingston Liberal Democrats’ campaign to protect local tenants from fuel poverty this winter.
At this week’s meeting of the Council, the Executive Member for Adult Community Services, Cllr Rolson Davies was asked to update members on the Liberal Democrat campaign to tackle fuel poverty in the borough.
In his written response, Cllr Davies reported on a number of locally-run measures which will help pensioners and low-income households this winter.
Kingston’s Executive Member for Transport has criticised the implementation of TfL’s concessionary fare scheme for unemployed Londoners, as new figures reveal that just 12.8% of eligible residents in the Royal Borough have been able to take it up.
Cllr Steed said: “The concessionary scheme was a fantastic initiative proposed by our Liberal Democrat colleague Mike Tuffrey on the London Assembly. It would have been a simple and effectual way to reduce the heavy burden of transport costs on those looking for work in the capital.
The provision for bicycle parking at Surbiton train station is the second best in the whole of London according to a recent survey by the London Evening Standard.
Kingston Council’s Executive Member for Transport, Cllr Bob Steed said: “Surbiton station provides 200 bike spaces for its daily commuters - that’s the second best level of provision in London’s 50 busiest stations.”
The Liberal Democrat administration of Kingston Council put cycle parking at the front and rear of Surbiton station back in 2005 and introduced the innovative two-tier system of bike parking. The Transport for London, South West Trains and Kingston Council scheme subsequently won the award for having ‘the best cycle parking at a rail station’ in the 2005 London Transport Awards.
At last night’s meeting of the Council’s Executive, Kingston’s Lead Member for Housing made a statement on the recent tower block blaze in the London Borough of Southwark.
Cllr Penny Shelton said: “In the light of the tragic fire in the block of flats at Camberwell, I would like to make a short statement about the implications for our own housing stock.
At this week’s meeting of the Executive, Cllr Ian George announced that as Kingston Conservatives’ Lead Member for Housing, he will be quitting the Council’s Cross Party Member Group on Housing Investment Options.
Cllr George made the shock announcement following the Executive members’ public criticism of the Tory’s recent behaviour. The Council Leader had condemned his leakage of the Housing Group’s reports to the press before their agreed publication dates, as well as comments which mislead residents on the reality of housing finance.