Karen Buck MP

Working tirelessly for Westminster North

Karen Buck MP

Recent Activity

West_End_Extra.png

One of the many lovely conversations I had on polling day was with a group of women on the way to vote in the bright sunshine. “It’s been so nice to see lots of neighbours” they said. “It’s been like a social event”. And that is something we should be properly proud of. Even if the national result was far from being what I hoped for, we should all celebrate the fact that we can exercise a democratic choice in peace and freedom, especially when that right is denied to so many millions. Democracy also relies on all those people putting themselves up as candidates, often at considerable personal cost, and the volunteers from all parties who do the unsung and unglamorous work of canvassing, leafleting and stuffing envelopes. It may not be fashionable to celebrate the business of politics and those who take part in ii, opponents as well as supporters, but I do.

So- the result. Locally, I was honoured to be re-elected after a closely fought campaign. Westminster North is a wonderful, fascinating area, but it is also an area of extremes, and it tends not to have large numbers of swing voters. I knew the outcome would still be close, and so it proved. Now my task will be to do my best for the residents whilst managing the reality of working with a Conservative Council, Conservative Mayor and Conservative government. I’ve been campaigning on ‘quality of life issues’, like the impact of the growing short let economy on residential areas, mega-basement excavations; defending essential public services like the NHS and care for elderly people, Neighbourhood policing and Children’s Centres, and helping people in housing need. All this will continue. Much of it is likely to become harder still as further deep spending cuts bite. I am lucky to have an excellent team of local Labour councillors and we will be doing our very best for every part of the constituency. However, there are also thousands of residents who are part of the fabric of the community, involved in schools, residents associations, faith groups and not involved in party politics. I want to reach out to them too, and work with them in responding to the challenges we face.

Nationally, we need to come to terms with what was a very bad defeat- and worse for being unanticipated.  It is essential that we have an honest and rigorous debate about our campaign, our messages and our policies, which also recognises that different factors came into play in different parts of the country. What happened in Scotland was very different to what happened in some of the English towns, even after allowing for the obvious truth that many English voters were clearly also reacting to the surge of Scottish nationalism. We also never managed to overcome the fact that we were blamed for the global economic crash, and for spending too much before it, even though the Conservatives were backing our spending plans and calling for less financial regulation not more. Yet there was no single cause and therefore no single prescription for the future, and we must make sure that we are open and inclusive in our debates.

Looking forward, it is still true that a Labour politics which embraces aspiration and opportunity is entirely consistent with a commitment to quality public services and a decent social safety net, a healthy economy and a strong sense of national and cultural identity. Indeed, I would argue that we can’t have any of these without the others. Ed Miliband quite rightly put fairness and inequality at the heart of his vision and that perspective must not be lost either.  The desire for a better life is not owned by any one sector of society, by any one income group, residents in any one category of tenure, any one ethnic group- aspiration is built into everyone’s dreams, for themselves and their children. We must show we understand this and shape that understanding into specific policies and messages for the next election- responding to people’s need for a decent, affordable home, a clean, safe environment, fair access to educational and work opportunities and the means to make a reasonable living, efficient transport…

In the meantime, we face a fight for London next year, one of the fiercest-fought Parliamentary sessions for many years and all the risks of the coming European referendum. Time to get on with it.

My article for the West End Extra

One of the many lovely conversations I had on polling day was with a group of women on the way to vote in the bright sunshine. “It’s been so nice...

PW_Pub.jpg

I am writing to object to the granting of a licence to Betfred at the Prince of Wales junction. As a local resident, with a local workplace, and as a frequent user of the shops and market at the ‘Prince of Wales’ junction, I am convinced that a betting shop on this dominant site will be harmful to the area.

Considerable efforts have been made in recent years to improve the ‘piazza’ opposite the Prince of Wales, which had been plagued by crack-dealing and street drinking. It was necessary to have a dedicated police team just to deal with the problems in the area. Despite the combined efforts of the Council, Local Area Partnership, traders and residents, this has not been a quick or easy task and whilst much progress has been made, the area still faces challenges. There is a high level of deprivation in the surrounding streets and estates and several services close by providing support for vulnerable people, including Westminster Drugs project, Central and North West London Mental Health service and City Living for people with learning disabilities.

Whilst it is important that a betting shop in this location would be the 8th within a short radius (not least because recent figures indicate that £5m was lost to Fixed Odds Terminals alone in north Westminster last year) what is particularly significant is the importance of this site. Any sustained improvement in the area must start with the ‘corner’ premises of the junction- of which the former Prince of Wales is easily the most physically significant. This site becoming a betting shop sends a signal that we have ‘lost’ the square as a managed, mixed, safe and potentially vibrant part of the community.

I have made direct representations to BetFred in respect of this site, and regret that they have not chosen to respond. I therefore very much hope that Westminster is able to act in the community interest and refuse a licence for these premises.

Sig.jpg 

Karen Buck

Labour Candidate, Westminster North

My objection letter to the granting of a licence to Betfred at the Prince of Wales junction

I am writing to object to the granting of a licence to Betfred at the Prince of Wales junction. As a local resident, with a local workplace, and as a...

gen_2.jpg 

Dear Resident

Thank you once again for responding to my survey of Genesis Housing Association residents last year.

The response was overwhelming and analysis of the survey had to take a backseat in order to prioritise dealing with the many resident complaints about poor maintenance, incorrect service charge bills and unresponsive officers.  Progress has been made on most individual issues now - and if you haven’t yet had a response, I am still chasing Genesis on your behalf.

The survey reveals a worrying picture of dissatisfied tenants who believe their landlord is getting even worse.  As well as trying to pinpoint exactly why so many are unhappy with Genesis, the attached report puts forward practical suggestions for improvement, many coming directly from residents.

I have written to Genesis to ask them to reflect on what you have said.  It is clear that they are performing poorly in many different ways and things should not be allowed to continue as they are.  My colleague Jim Fitzpatrick recently held a debate in Parliament calling for residents to be given the power to sack a failing housing association and transfer their homes to another landlord.  This has to be considered as an option if they don’t improve radically.

I will write to you again once I hear back from Genesis.  I do hope they take some of your comments and ideas on board.

Yours sincerely

 Karen Buck MP

Genesis Survey Report

My Survey of Genesis Housing Association residents

  Dear Resident Thank you once again for responding to my survey of Genesis Housing Association residents last year. The response was overwhelming and analysis of the survey had to...


View More Activities

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.  To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.