News in from Caroline Pidgeon- Lib Dem London Assembly Member

Tackling congestion and air pollution

In the last week the issue of air pollution affecting London has received extensive media coverage – and rightly so, with some reports saying that air pollution has recently been worse in London than in Beijing.

Another big issue, which has attracted much coverage, is that of tackling the growing level of congestion on London’s roads.  An issue it seems everyone has views on from cyclists through to taxi drivers, not to mention every motorist and van driver.

The two are of course connected, with traffic, especially from diesel vehicles, being a major contributory factor to air pollution.

Tackling congestion

In recognition that all parts of the capital have been seeing a significant growth in congestion, the London Assembly Transport Committee (which I chair) recently undertook an extensive investigation with evidence submitted from hundreds of organisations and individuals.

Congestion annoys everyone.  However it also has a staggering financial cost.  The overall annual cost to London from traffic delays on busy roads now stands £5.5 billion.  This figure represents a huge 30 per cent increase in just two years (£4.2 billion in 2012/13).

Our investigation revealed that the causes of congestion are far wider and more complex than many people imagine – stretching from pressures caused by a growing population through to the growth in internet deliveries.

Our report London Stalling’ calls on the Mayor to reform the Congestion Charge and ultimately replace it with road pricing. The Committee suggests a way of charging people for road usage that is targeted at areas of congestion and at the times when it is most severe.

In the short-term, the Congestion Charge should be reformed to better reflect the impact of vehicles. The daily flat rate should be replaced with a charging structure that ensures vehicles in the zone at peak times, and those spending longer in the zone, face the highest charges.

The report also recommends:

  • reducing restrictions on night-time deliveries
  • piloting a ban on personal deliveries to offices starting with TfL and GLA staff
  • reconsidering ‘click and collect’ at Tube and rail stations
  • devolving Vehicle Excise Duty to the Mayor
  • piloting a local Workplace Parking Levy

I am pleased to say that the report has received extensive media coverage and initiated a serious debate about how to end gridlock on our roads, including front page coverage in the Financial Times.  Many groups have supported or broadly welcomed the recommendations, stretching from the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Campaign for Better Transport, through to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Tackling air pollution

Last week Sadiq Khan was absolutely right to issue a high air pollution alert.  Every Londoner is entitled to know just how poor air quality is in London.

But the real challenge is to reduce the high levels of air pollution.

While traffic is not the only cause of air pollution, diesel fumes are the most significant contributory factor and that is why London Liberal Democrats have long advocated a number of measures to:

  • switch London buses and taxis from running on diesel, with a switch to running entirely on electricity where possible
  • ensuring that walking and cycling are made far safer and more attractive forms of transport
  • advocating sustainable forms of improved river crossings as opposed to the proposed Silvertown road tunnel, which will generate many long distance car journeys.
  • improving public transport and ensure that there are real alternatives to private transport in areas of London with poor public transport links

Some useful information on this issue can be found at the Clean Air for London website.

Helping parents return to work

With last week being a busy week for news one announcement that might have gone unnoticed was the Mayor’s decision to introduce a childcare loan scheme to allow employees of the GLA Group (including the Met, London Fire Brigade and TfL) to receive a loan to cover upfront costs such as the deposit and first month’s nursery fees, that are faced by parents returning to work.  The loans will work in a similar way to loans offered to many employees to cover season tickets on public transport.

This proposal is just a further example of the Mayor adopting ideas that I first proposed before last year’s Mayor and London Assembly elections.  The idea was set out in a package of policies I proposed to make childcare more accessible in London.

Some interesting Mayoral Answers

I hope some of the following Mayoral Answers to questions I have recently asked are of interest:

The Mayor admits that both the Piccadilly Line and the Central Line failed to provide the scheduled numbers of trains on every week day during the whole of December.

Mayors confirms London police numbers were at 31,067 officers in December, despite the objective being a police force of 32,000 officers

Confirmation that noise levels, including helicopter noise, will be included in the Mayor’s new environment report published this Spring for consultation with the public

The Mayor confirms that the earliest starting date for strengthening work on Hammersmith Bridge is Autumn 2018

Keep in touch

I try to tweet on a regular basis.  If you would like to follow me, my twitter handle is @CarolinePidgeon.

Finally, if you would like me to raise an issue, especially through Mayor’s Question Time, please send your suggestions to

Sutton Community Fund grants news….

Eleven local groups will share over £45,000 from the latest round of Sutton Community Fund grants to help them provide services and activities for residents of Sutton into 2017 and beyond.

The Community Fund programme, financed by Sutton Council and administered by the Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (Sutton CVS), supports projects that benefit Sutton residents, meet local priorities and help build community and developmental assets in the borough.

The list of fund recipients for 2017 is as follows:

Surrey Youth Focus £5000

Knots Art £4595

RACE £1680

Refugee & Migrant Network Sutton £2662

Riverside Community Association £1975

Riverside Community Association £5650

Sutton Mencap £5467

Carshalton Beeches Baptist Free Church £3200

Gary Mason Charity £3000

In Unity Ltd £5000

St Teresa’s Church £5000

Together We Create £3600

A full list of the awards and how they will be used is below.

David Hobday, CEO of Sutton Mencap, said:

“We would like to thank the Sutton Community Fund for its award of a grant to Sutton Mencap. This funding will enable us to continue to offer our very popular Breakaways service, which provides weekend activities for adults with a learning disability, whilst giving parents and family members a break from their caring responsibilities.

Having a local grants fund which understands the needs of local communities makes a huge difference for organisations like ours and the people we support. We are very grateful to Sutton Council for their support through the Sutton Community Fund.”

Hazel East, Session Leader at Knots Art, said:

“A grant from the Sutton Community Fund means that we can continue to provide fun and exciting sessions for girls with autism and social communication difficulties living in and around Sutton. For many girls that attend this is their only social interaction each week and it is vital that they have a safe space in which they can make friends with others who understand the difficulties that they face. We are hugely grateful for the support.”

Cllr Simon Wales, Deputy Leader of Sutton Council and Lead Member for Finance, Assets and the Voluntary Sector, said:

“We want to congratulate the local organisations that have been successful in their applications. There is a strong voluntary sector in Sutton and this funding will go towards securing the future of these local organisations and supporting them to deliver their invaluable work in our community.

“We’ll be working closely with our partners across the voluntary sector as we strive to deliver brilliant and cost-effective services for Sutton residents in the years to come. The Community Fund grants will help them to prepare for this challenge.”

Applications for Sutton Community Fund grants of between £300 and £1000 from the next round of funding are open until Monday 3 April 2017. You can find out more on the Sutton CVS website here, and Sutton CVS will be happy to answer questions you may have or offer assistance completing the application form.

Notes to editors

The Community Fund awarded the following seven applications full grant funding:

1. Focus Surrey
Charity number: N/A Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £5,000

This project will help children with ASD improve their communication, social and play skills, provide a friendly, inclusive and sociable environment for parents/ carers and siblings and provide training for tutors and young volunteers.

2. Knots Art 
Charity number: N/A Company number: 8631074

Amount allocated: £4,590

Funding will support weekly social activity sessions specifically for girls with autism or social communication difficulties. Art, drama and games activities are tailored to support social interaction. They will also work closely with parents to find ways to explore issues relevant to the group.

3. RACE 
Charity number: XT36173 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £1,680

Funding allocated to support the sustainability of ongoing group exercise within the community for up to 12 people with cardiovascular disease.

4. Refugee & Migrant Network Sutton 
Charity number: 11050500 Company number: 08026961

Amount allocated: £2,662

Improving systems to allow more time giving advice to clients, reducing waiting times for clients and to improve monitoring of service performance.
5. Riverside Community Association Limited
Charity number: 1156422 Company number: 8555270

Amount allocated: £1,975

Funding allocated to help achieve the PQASSO quality standard Level 1, which will help the organisation run more effectively and efficiently.

6. Riverside Community Association Limited

Charity number: 1156422 Company number: 8555270

Amount allocated: £5,650

Funding will help them achieve the London Youth Quality Mark, Bronze Level: a leading quality standard for organisations working with young people in the voluntary sector. Organisations working in partnership under this bid include: My Time for Young Carers, The Springboard Project, In Unity UK and the Riverside Community Association.

7. Sutton Mencap

Charity number: 1080514 Company number: 03915936

Amount allocated: £5,467

Funding allocated to continue the Breakaways in-house service for a year. The service consists of alternate Friday night and Saturday day time groups for mainly younger adults with a learning disability. This bid aims to improve mental health and wellbeing through tackling social isolation, improve mental health and wellbeing for carers and help people with a learning disability play a greater part in community life.
The Community Fund awarded the following five applications partial grant funding:
1. Carshalton Beeches Baptist Free Church

Charity number: 1130318 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,200

Funding allocated towards providing a ramp for disabled access.

2. Gary Mason Rhythmical Charitable Foundation

Charity number: 1140518 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,300

Funding allocated towards the costs of hand drumming therapy session facilitation.

3. In Unity Ltd

Charity number: N/A Company number: 07808693

Amount allocated: £5,000

Funding allocated to support the delivery of a youth project held at the Phoenix Centre

4. St Teresa’s Church
Charity number: 235468 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: Up to £5,000

Funding allocated to develop an older people’s project aimed at alleviating isolation, increasing intergenerational work and improving life skills.

5. Together We Create

Charity number: 1140617 Company number: N/A

Amount allocated: £3,600

Funding allocated to help reduce anti-social behaviour, unite the Hamptons Community and improve parental engagement and support the development of family boundaries, so as to ensure that there is a long-term change in the area.

News from Health Watch Sutton




Care Quality Commission has published their annual ‘State of Care’ report

The Care Quality Commission has published their annual ‘State of Care’ report, this is an annual report on the quality of health and social care in England.

The CQC have seen services providing good and outstanding care and making improvements by collaborating outside traditional organisational boundaries – hospitals working with GPs; GPs working with social care and all services working with people who use services.

They are also seeing some deterioration in quality, and some services are struggling to improve. The CQC have raise concerns that the sustainability of the adult social care market is approaching a tipping point. The fragility of the market is now beginning to impact both on the people who rely on these services and on the performance of NHS care. The combination of a growing and ageing population, more people with long-term conditions, and a challenging economic climate means greater demand on services and more problems for people in accessing care.

Download the Full Report here

Download the Summary Report here

Download the Easy Read version here

Do you have questions about a prostate problem?

Would you like to speak to someone in your own language?

Whether you have concerns about a prostate problem or have been diagnosed with prostate cancer; Specialist Nurses are available to support you over the phone, in your own language, via an interpreter.
Prostate Cancer UK can offer support in over 200 languages, through a confidential three-way conversation with an interpreter, including: • Welsh • Arabic • Polish • Hindi • Russian • Portuguese • Bengali • Punjabi • Chinese • Gujarati • and French.

Call 0800 074 8383 and state in English, the language you want to use or ask a family member or friend to call and start the conversation on your behalf. It takes a few minutes to connect you with an interpreter. Specialist Nurses can also speak to partners, family members and friends.

To speak to a Specialist Nurses call 0800 074 8383 – Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm, Wednesday between 10am and 8pm. (Calls are recorded for training purposes only. Confidentiality is maintained between callers and Prostate Cancer UK)

Download the leaflet here  or visit for more information.

St Helier Hospital & Health News from Tom Brake MP

Dear Hamish Pollock
You may have seen the BBC website report on 15th November about threatened cuts to health services across the UK, including the possible closure of St Helier Hospital in Carshalton and Wallington.
Full details of 44 reviews of services around the country – part of the government’s sustainability and transformation plans – which involve closing some A&Es or, in South West London, a whole hospital or, in the worst case scenario, two, had not been made public until some local Councils, including Lib Dem run Sutton Council, rebelled and released NHS plans recently. They can be read here

A report by The King’s Fund suggests that NHS England had told local managers to keep the plans “out of the public domain” and avoid requests for information, whilst managers were even taught how to reject freedom of information requests.

Changes are being explored which may see the closure of one or more hospitals in South West London, including StHelier in Carshalton. Nothing has been decided. What we currently know for certain is that last year Epsom and StHelier NHS Trust launched their five year strategy which gave a commitment that both Epsom Hospital and St HelierHospital will continue to provide consultant led, 24/7 A&E, maternity and inpatient paediatric services for five years.

It is clear that there has to be major investment in Epsom and St Helier hospitals. There are issues with the buildings and facilities within Epsom and St Helier Trust which need to be addressed. It is not appropriate that patients are being treated in buildings that are unable to offer infection free care, where there are so few side rooms, where privacy and dignity for patients is poor, where the hospital is spending so much to keep patients safe instead of on medical equipment.

The hospital Trust has a great staff team and it isn’t fair that they are required to provide care in unsuitable buildings. Simon Stephens, Chief Executive of NHS England, has written about wanting an infrastructure fund for the NHS as part of the Brexit NHS settlement to replace ‘clapped out hospitals and GP surgeries’. I think St Helier meets that criteria and I will fight to ensure that St Helier Hospital receives some of the £350 million a week which is apparently going to be available to the NHS when the UK leaves the EU. I wrote to Jeremy Hunt urging him to ensure that this happens, perhaps unsurprisingly, he refused to commit to extra funding. So did the Prime Minister when I raised the matter directly with her, in Prime Minister’s Questions recently.

In the meantime, I am reassured from my contact with the CEO at the Trust that the Trust is working hard to ensure that they continue to provide an acute hospital for the 500,000 people who live in the Sutton and Epsom areas. As ever, I will support the Trust in their bid to do so. Any attempts to remove our A&E, maternity and inpatient services from the borough will be met by the stiffest possible community resistance.

Yours sincerely

Tom Brake
Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington
0208 255 8155

PS. Why not follow me on Facebook or Twitter to find out more about the work I do on your behalf.

London Mayor and The London Cancer Hub in Sutton


An artist’s impression of the London Cancer Hub.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said:

“I am very pleased to welcome the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to Sutton today to learn more about our ambitions and how with his help we can start to realise projects of global significance.

“We have an ambition in Sutton to create the world’s leading life-science district specialising in cancer research and treatment. The London Cancer Hub will be a global centre for cancer innovation providing state-of-the-art facilities and delivering real benefits for patients. Sutton Council and our partner, The Institute for Cancer Research, London, is working with supporting partners The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Greater London Authority and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to turn this ambition into a reality.

“We have the opportunity to create a vibrant community of scientists, doctors and innovative companies, delivering real benefits for cancer patients and driving economic growth. The London Cancer Hub will deliver an exceptional environment for cancer research that enhances the discovery of new treatments and their development for patients. The project will also be a major boost to London’s life-science industry and the wider economy, locally and nationally. We have launched the Sutton Town Centre Masterplan and will soon publish our draft Local Plan. In both documents we set out ambitious and appropriate plans to provide new homes, jobs, schools and opportunities for people who live in and visit the borough.

“But we cannot deliver the London Cancer Hub or the new homes and transport links people need without the help of the Mayor and his office. Today we hope to have constructive conversations with the Mayor’s team to gain access to the land we need to realise the London Cancer Hub, ensure our local public transport can support the development of this world-leading site and how we can fund the project using both the public and private sectors.

“I hope I can soon share with you more news as our plans develop, bringing the London Cancer Hub ever closer.”

Healthy Living….

Self Care Week is an annual national awareness week that focuses on establishing support for self care across communities, families and generations.

Self care means knowing how to keep fit and healthy, how to deal with medicines appropriately, manage self-treatable conditions and when to seek appropriate clinical help.

We have pulled together some information from various websites including;
The Self Care Forum for more information click here
NHS Staywell for more information click here
NHS Choices for more information click here 

Government awards Sutton Council £300,000 to support development of the London Cancer Hub

 150412_Master Plan_EDIT

Sutton Council has been awarded £300,000 by the Government to support the London Cancer Hub Partnership.

The Cabinet Office has announced that the London Borough of Sutton is to receive £250,000 for the 2016-17 financial year to support delivery of the London Cancer Hub, a proposed 20-hectare campus that, when completed, would be the second-largest life-science cluster in the world. The award is part of the One Public Estate (OPE) programme and is on top of £50,000 of initial development funding already allocated by the Government.

The One Public Estate (OPE) is a pioneering initiative delivered in partnership by the Cabinet Office Government Property Unit (GPU) and the Local Government Association (LGA). It provides practical and technical support and funding to councils to deliver ambitious property-focused programmes in collaboration with central Government and other public sector partners.

The London Cancer Hub is a partnership between the London Borough of Sutton and the Institute for Cancer Research (ICR), with supporting partners The Royal Marsden, the Greater London Authority and the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The proposed new global centre for cancer research, diagnosis and treatment will specialise in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise, and provide development space for biotech, pharma, and software and technology companies.

The London Cancer Hub is planned to be located on the Sutton site of the ex-Sutton Hospital, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden in Belmont and Epsom and St Helier’s hospital in Sutton. The site would double the space available for world-class cancer research, deliver a wide range of state-of-the-art scientific facilities and substantially increase the rate of discovery of new treatments and their availability for cancer patients.

Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said:

“We are delighted that the Government recognises the importance of the London Cancer Hub for the rest of the country and has allocated £300,000 of One Public Estate funding for its development. Should it come to fruition, the Hub’s pioneering cancer research and care work has the potential to put Sutton and the UK at the forefront of cancer research worldwide. It would be a huge boost to the local and national economy, providing new business opportunities that will create thousands of employment and training opportunities.”

Lord Porter of Spalding, Chairman of the LGA, said:

With half of councils across the country now taking part in the One Public Estate programme, local government is demonstrating real leadership in its communities, unlocking land to provide the homes and jobs that people need, helping services to work better together, and bringing in money while generating savings for the future. The proposed total transformation of the site in the south of Sutton borough would see inward investment in excess of £1bn over the lifetime of the London Cancer Hub project. More than 13,000 new jobs are expected to be created in Sutton – 7,000 life-science, clinical and support staff, and another 6,200 in the site’s construction.

Pharmacies under threat… Tom Brake MP reports…

Hamish —  I’ve just spoken in Parliament about the impending cuts to local pharmacies.  I told the Health Minister that I agreed with our award-winning Sutton pharmacist Reena Barai that the Government’s plans are putting 1 in 4 pharmacies at risk. He responded by saying he had no idea how many will close. That is simply shocking. We need to step up and show the Government just how important local pharmacies are to our community.

By spreading the message on social media, you can help us reach more people with our campaign and get more signatures on our petition (we’re closing in on 1,000 signatures). Thank you for everything you do.

Best wishes, Tom Brake MP

Sutton Centre for Independent Living and Learning (SCILL)

Statement regarding the closure of Sutton Centre for Independent Living and Learning (SCILL).

Councillor Simon Wales, Sutton Council’s Lead Member for Finance, Assets and the Voluntary Sector, said: “Everybody at Sutton Council is sorry and saddened to hear that the trustees of SCILL have decided to cease operating next year. The Centre is valued by very many in the community and has made a recognisable difference to local individuals and families. I want to put on record the council’s thanks to everybody at SCILL for their hard work and dedication to Sutton’s residents over the last 21 years.

“The council has always offered SCILL support, most recently with efforts to keep the Centre open. Ultimately we respect the decision of the trustees and the council will now support the orderly closure of the centre next year.

“Our focus has always been how we support all SCILL’s clients, particularly the most vulnerable. Our immediate attention now turns to exploring all options available to secure the future of services on which residents depend.

“We understand this decision may be upsetting for residents and staff, so I want to reassure everyone that we are doing all we can, as quickly as possible, to ensure these essential services provided by SCILL remain available to the community in the borough. We will keep everybody informed of developments and share more information as soon as it is possible.”