Tom Brake MP, RMT and local Train Services Meeting 16th February 2017 starting at 7pm at Wentworth Hall, 80 Ruskin Road

Hamish —

It’s fair to say that in the last few months we’ve endured the biggest rail crisis in a generation.

Over the last two years, Southern’s shambolic service (ranked the worst in the UK) and the recent strikes have cost local residents unnecessary stress, time, money and sometimes even their jobs.

Whilst I welcome the recent announcement that Aslef and Southern have reached an agreement, the RMT and Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) are still in a deadlock to settle the long-standing dispute over the role of conductors on Southern trains.

You will recall that last Summer I organised a public meeting, attended by over 100 residents, with a Southern Rail representative and a local ward Councillor to give you the opportunity to hear directly from them, ask questions and make your voice heard.

I want to give you the chance to do the same with the RMT. That’s why I will be hosting a public meeting with a representative from the RMT. I will also be joined by Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council.

Date: Thursday 16th February
Time: 7.00pm-8.30pm
Venue: Wentworth Hall, 80 Ruskin Rd, Carshalton, SM5 3DH

Please do attend for your chance to put the RMT on the spot personally. Feel free to bring along other people who have been affected.

If you’re unable to come to the meeting, please email me with any questions you would like to ask RMT and I will do my best to get as many answered as possible.

Hope to see you there.

Best wishes,

Tom Brake MP

PS. You can see a short summary of my recent work on transport issues here.

Tom Brake MP petitions the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street

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Tom said: “Yesterday I took the fight against Southern Rail directly to the Prime Minister, presenting my petition, signed by more than 2,900 local residents to No.10.

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We are all sick and tired of unreliable and shambolic train services from Southern Rail and Thameslink, particularly as their profits continue to rise and fares continue to go up.

In the afternoon I also challenged the Rail Minister during an Urgent Question in Parliament. You can watch the clip here. The Minister’s weak response was a disgrace and shows that this Government is not ready to stand up to the train operators and fight for commuters.

We need to continue to apply pressure on the Government to act.

Please click this button and let me know how you can help this campaign:

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Thanks and best wishes,

Tom Brake MP

PS. If you are on Facebook, you can share this post to let your friends and family know about the campaign to Sack Southern.

 

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 http://www.swlccgs.nhs.uk/our-plan/.

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 www.facebook.com/brake or Twitter www.twitter.com/thomasbrake to find out more about the work I do on your behalf.

Heathrow Decision – Tom Brake MP asks for your views

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Hamish —

I am sure that by now you will have heard the long-awaited and controversial Government announcement to approve a third runway at Heathrow.

The controversial issue of expanding the UK’s airport capacity is not new and has been subject of intense debate for many years.

A public consultation will now be held on the effects of airport expansion, followed by the Government’s final decision next year.

That’s why for this month’s epoll, I want to know whether you are in favour of expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick or no expansion in London and the South East.

Supporters of expansion at Heathrow argue that without increased airport capacity at Heathrow, the UK will lose out on business competitiveness and struggle to compete with other international airports like Paris and Amsterdam. They say that a third runway would boost jobs, bring the biggest benefits to the wider economy and offer the best connectivity to London.

Supporters of Gatwick, on the other hand, argue that this option does not pose the complicated legal challenges facing Heathrow and would be deliverable by 2025. The project would be entirely privately-funded, unlike Heathrow expansion, and guarantee that air quality levels would remain with the current legal limits.

Those who do not want to see any expansion in London and the South East have raised serious concerns about air quality and noise pollution if there are an estimated 260,000 extra flights a year over London. They also warn of the negative environmental impact on London and the damage to local communities as a result of the demolition of homes, increased traffic on the M25 and the possible astronomical price tag of the whole project to the taxpayer. Some have also expressed concerns at the overheating of the London and South East economy and the failure to invest in other regions and regional airports.

So, for this month’s epoll, I want to know whether you are in favour of ‘Heathrow’, ‘Gatwick’ or ‘No Expansion’:

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Click the link above to vote or simply reply to this email with the words ‘Heathrow’, ‘Gatwick’ or ‘No expansion’.

Please do include any comments you wish to make – I will take them all into account and respond to as many as possible.

Regards,

Tom Brake MP

PS. I want to know what you think about airport expansion – click here.

Tom Brake MP’s message on Parking

Tom Brake MP

Tom Brake MP

Hamish — Parking is one of the biggest challenges facing our area. Sutton has the 6th highest level of car ownership and use in London, and therefore suffers from traffic congestion and a shortage of appropriate parking in many areas across the borough. To show the scale of the problem, approximately 320 requests for minor parking arrangements covering 228 streets across the borough were made last year. This is reinforced by a recent boroughwide survey of local residents where parking came out as one of the three most important issues. For those reasons, I am pleased that Sutton Council has prioritised this issue and recently published the Council’s new parking strategy.

In the past, parking schemes were considered and rolled out in an ad-hoc way with the unwanted consequence of simply pushing the problem onto surrounding roads.

The new strategy will be more cohesive, borough-wide, evidence-driven and with a well thought out 5 year delivery plan. It will be built into the wider plans for the borough and focus particularly on areas known as traffic attractors and generators – St Helier hospital, local schools, train stations and town centres.

The specific details are yet to be determined but in these areas parking schemes like Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) will be considered and local residents will be consulted.

In the coming years, it is inevitable that we will need to reduce our dependency on cars and use other sustainable modes of transport – public transport, walking, cycling etc. I am are aware that because South London currently lags behind other parts of London when it comes to public transport, many residents are often forced to use their cars. That’s why securing better local transport links has always been one my top priorities.

In these difficult financial times for local authorities, fixing our parking problem will not be easy and will take some time, but I can reassure you that I will work with local residents, businesses and Councillors to ensure a strategy is implemented which creates sustainable and fairer parking for all. Best wishes, Tom Brake MP

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

Save our Pharmacies – Tom Brake’s Campaign

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Many residents, whether they are young or old or have children, use local pharmacies. Pharmacists take pressure off GPs and St Helier’s A&E, meaning people in need of urgent care are seen more quickly. They don’t just give out medicines — pharmacies can provide medical assistance and advice and treat minor ailments.
Earlier this year the Government had decided that £170 million would be cut from pharmacies in 2016/17.

That would be an estimated £660,000 cut for Sutton’s pharmacies or the closure of 11 pharmacies in our borough — or 1 in 4 of them!

I was and remain concerned about these proposals which are nothing more than a backdoor health cut. When I met with local pharmacists, they told me that the reasons for the changes were not explained and the public will receive a worse service because of the cuts.

Although I welcome this week’s pause in Government plans for these cuts, the battle isn’t over yet. Knowing this Government, their ‘pause’ could easily switch into an attack on pharmacies. We must all remain vigilant.

So… will you add your voice to my campaign?

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I will continue to work with our local pharmacists in putting pressure on the Government to abandon these plans once and for all.

Regards,

Tom Brake MP

PS. Please forward this email onto friends, family, and neighbours who may want to sign the petition.

Tom Brake MP on housing issues

Hamish —

Recently at one of my advice sessions I met a distressed young woman who came to see me with her mother. They have numerous repairs outstanding on their rented property but the landlord is flat-out refusing to sort them out — at the same time the landlord is putting pressure on them to leave their home. She didn’t know where to go or what to do.

Not all landlords are bad but I am hearing stories like this way too often, Hamish — and that’s why I’ve launched a campaign to reform renting once and for all. Will you add your voice to mine and join my campaign?

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The number of private renters in Britain is growing constantly. But with sky high fees, homes unfit for human habitation, bug infestations, repairs left for months (sometimes indefinitely) they are being left behind. It’s just not good enough.

Personal stories are the most powerful arguments on our side. That’s why if you’ve got a renting horror story, I want to hear it — please share it with me:

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There is no silver bullet that will solve London’s housing problems, because the fundamental challenge is a lack of supply, which takes time to fix. But there are things that can be done to make renting cheaper, safer and more secure.

Every renting horror story we receive will make our case to reform renting stronger.

Thank you, Hamish, I really appreciate your support.

Tom Brake MP

PS: This might not directly affect you, but chances are it will affect one of your relatives or friends or colleagues. Please forward this onto anyone who may be affected and encourage them to back our campaign and share their story.

Trains’ troubles…. Tom Brake MP Reports… Public Meeting Tuesday 26th July 2016

Hamish —

I’m sure you’re aware of the ongoing catastrophe that is Southern Rail. I can completely understand passengers’ frustration with the current service and the lack of accountability on the part of Southern.

That’s why I’ve organised a public meeting for you this Tuesday to hear from Southern, ask them questions and make your voice heard:

Date: Tuesday 26th July 2016
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Venue: Wentworth Hall, 80 Ruskin Road, Carshalton, SM5 3DH

Please do attend for your chance to put Southern on the spot personally, Hamish. Feel free to bring along other people who have been affected. If you’re unable to come to the meeting, please email back with any questions you would like to ask Southern and I will do my best to get as many answered as possible.

Hope to see you there.

Best wishes,

Tom Brake MP

PS. If you plan to come along to the meeting, please reply to let me know.

Message from Tom Brake MP about yesterday’s floods…

Hi Hamish,

As you may be aware, there has been some localised flooding around Carshalton & Wallington after the storm this afternoon.

Sutton Council and the emergency services are working to clear areas badly effected by flooding, including underneath the railway bridge in Wallington (where Woodcote Road and Manor Roads meet). I have also contacted the Council to ask what action they are taking to tackle and prevent flooding.

If your home has been affected, please call Floodline for advice on 03459 881188 or check out this page on the Government website.

As ever, if you require my assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes,

Tom Brake MP