25 March 2012

Peckham Rye Labour Councillor: Standing Up for the NHS

Vikki spoke at the TUC "Save Our NHS" Rally a couple of weeks ago and brought the house down.  Sadly, since then, the Health and Social Care Bill has passed through parliament with the support of Southwark Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes.

19 March 2012

Southwark Labour Leader's last-ditch effort to persuade Simon Hughes to drop support for NHS changes

Southwark Labour Leader, Peter John has written again to Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes demanding that he oppose the discredited Health and Social Care Bill.  The text of his letter, written today, is below.

Dear Simon,

I am writing regarding the letter I sent to you on the 13th February concerning your support for the Government's Health and Social Care Bill, to which I am yet to receive a reply. I note that following my letter you changed your position on the publication of the risk register which outlines the potential damage this Bill will have and which an information rights tribunal has ruled should be published.

Unfortunately, despite your apparent support for its publication, today in the House of Commons you failed to support a motion for the risk register to be debated. I do not understand why you would not want a debate to be held on something you have said yourself should be made public. All I know is that, despite you sitting on your hands, the publication of the risk register will be debated tomorrow.

I sincerely hope that you attend that debate and make clear why you have just abstained on another vote and why you are supporting this Bill. On too many issues since May 2010 you have given the impression of opposition when in reality you are one of the most loyal Liberal Democrat MPs in this government. I and my colleagues will do everything we can to ensure people in your constituency know that you are supporting this particularly disastrous piece of legislation.

I am sure that you too believe that this Bill is bad for the NHS. It is now time for you to find the courage to say that to your colleagues Nick Clegg and David Cameron. Patients, health professionals, the public, Labour and Liberal Democrat party members who are worried about their NHS, are coming together to protect our country's best-loved institution. By working together Labour and the Liberal Democrats can stop this Bill. Your opposition could be absolutely crucial.

For the sake not only of Southwark patients and NHS staff, but the future of the NHS nationally please confirm whether you will be supporting this Bill or not. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cllr Peter John
Leader of Southwark Council

13 March 2012

Leaseholder Report Update

I recently posted on the outcome of an investigation into leaseholder charging in Southwark.  The scrutiny committee which I chair has been investigating possible improvements to the rules and systems used by the council to charge its leaseholders for major works and services.  For some time there has been a feeling among the 13,500 leaseholders in the borough that more could be done to provide them with information and to ensure they were getting value for money.  Recommendations included new individual online accounts for leaseholders to check what they are being charged for and a new option for leaseholders to pay a fixed service charge (as opposed to a variable service charge).  You can see the full report here.

Last night this report went before Southwark's full Overview and Scrutiny Committee  to decide whether or not the recommendations should go forward to Southwark's Cabinet.  I'm really pleased that the cross party committee unanimously agreed to let the report go forward.  

It just so happened that Labour's Cabinet Member for Housing, Ian Wingfield, was at the meeting.  He also gave a positive reaction to the recommendations, although he will need to discuss the report with Cabinet colleagues before giving a full, formal response.  We'll have to wait until the next Cabinet meeting to see if the report's recommendations are adopted in full.