Karen Buck

Working tirelessly for Westminster North

Past Issues


January 2018 E-Newsletter

Make homes fit to live in - my Private Member’s Bill wins government support


In England around 3 million people live in private, council or housing association properties that are unfit to live in. That is, they have one or more serious hazards like damp and mould or infestation which could affect their health and safety. Yet tenants have no legal right to a ‘fit’ home. They can turn to the council Environmental Health Department for help if they are private/housing association tenants (though not council tenants), but in many cases councils can’t or don’t enforce their rights. My Bill will strengthen tenants’ rights against the worst landlords.

Unusually, for a Private Bill by an opposition MP, the Government have given their support, so I am now hoping we can get this made law as soon as possible.

You can read a short article about the Bill and what it does here.

And an article based on Freedom of information inquiry to local councils which helps show why my Bill is needed.

You can read my speech here.

I also asked the Prime Minister for her support to make sure this Bill now makes swift progress and becomes law. You can see my question here.

NHS Winter Crisis


The NHS in the middle of the tightest cash squeeze in its history, is gripped by a winter crisis. Despite the heroic efforts of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff.

Nationally, the latest analysis of the weekly winter statistics published by NHS England has shown that so far this winter, 89,161 patients have waited between 30-60 minutes in the back of an ambulance, and 26,845 have been left waiting for over an hour, bringing the total number of patients to 116,006.

I have met with managers from the Imperial Trust (which includes St Mary’s and the Western Eye), Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Care Quality Commission to hear how they are coping, not only with the overall pressures but with specific problems such as with the St Mary’s Walk In Centre, loss of GPs and in some cases unsatisfactory Care Quality Commission inspections. Imperial have put in place a number of actions to maintain and improve services, but there can be no doubt about the challenge they face.

The information below is from the Imperial Trust (inc St Mary’s) briefing on the current position.

Our urgent and emergency care services continue to be under significant pressure. We’re seeing more patients, and sicker patients, which means more admissions to our wards. We also have more patients who, once they have been treated, need extra support to be put in place before they can go home or to community-based care, which often causes a delay to discharge from hospital. Many of our patients, and particularly those who endure delays in discharge from hospital, are older, frail people with complex health and care needs, including dementia, or people with mental health problems who need specialist mental health care.

Emergency attendances grew by 16 per cent between 2015/16 and 2016/17 then, for the first half of 2017/18 (April to September 2017), by a further 4.5 per cent.

There has been close to a 40 per cent increase in the number of recorded ‘blue-light’ attendances between 2015/16 and 2017/18, from over 2,900 to almost 4,100.

Emergency admissions increased by 3.8 per cent from the first half of 2017/18 compared with the same period in 2016/17. Admissions have been increasing more rapidly since September 2017. This indicates that while alternatives to hospital admission have had a significant and important impact on reducing the rate of increase in emergency admissions, they are not yet able to provide a sustainable reduction in demand for inpatient care.

I have been also been kept up to date with the challenging position regarding the state of the buildings at Mary’s and the Western Eye. We have the largest maintenance backlog of any hospital in the country, and the need for the hospital re-building programme is urgent - yet the financial pressures apply here too:

As well as the challenge of increasing demand, which is affecting all NHS hospitals to varying degrees, our Trust has a particular problem with an aging estate – a third of our buildings are over 100 years old. This is compounded by a general lack of space on our sites, especially at St Mary’s, which limits our ability to open ‘escalation’ beds.

A series of estates problems at the 147-year old Cambridge Wing at St Mary’s over summer 2017 resulted in the loss of 31 beds, as well as our birth centre. Following urgent repairs and structural improvement works, all of the beds were back in use by 3 January 2018.

In Parliamentary health questions I raised this issue of the building and the need for support to either allow the development to proceed urgently or to tackle the maintenance backlog. You can see my question here.

EU Citizens Survey


EU Citizens Resident in the UK Survey – What We Learned

Following the Brexit vote in Summer I sent a survey containing 10 questions to Westminster North residents to gain an idea of the opinions and experiences of EU nationals in the borough. I am very grateful to the 1,170 of you who have taken the time to respond by post or online since July. This is nearly 10% of all the EU Nationals estimated to live in the Constituency. Here is a summary of all these answers and what we can learn from them.

Question 1 established that 95.29% of respondents identified as EU nationals, living in the UK. The remaining respondents identified as either a family member of an EU national, a friend of colleague of an EU national or none of the above.

Question 2 addressed the overwhelming majority of EU citizen respondents, asking how long the respondent had been living in the UK. Answers were broken into number of years in either less than 2 years, 2 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 20 or over 20 years. Only 6.35% had been in the UK for less than 2 years at the time of taking the survey. Answers were quite evenly distributed across the remaining 4 choices (20-25%) with the largest group of respondents having lived in the UK between 10 – 20 years (26%).

Question 3 was open-ended and asked respondents: “If you can, and without giving your name, please describe yourself in a single sentence.” The various personal answers to this question cannot all be included here as there were over 1000 of them.

Respondents told me “I live and feel as a part of the UK”, “I am an EU citizen, who considers the UK as my home away from home” and “EU national, finance professional, ambitious hard-working and positively contributing to my community”.

Questions 4 – 7 relate to the impact the referendum result has had on individuals. The average score for the negative impact the referendum has had on respondent’s health (0 - 100) was 31 and for the children of respondents this was 13. 

49.8% of people reported that the referendum result had no impact at all on their paid or voluntary work. However 46% of respondents have had a negative experience relating to EU nationality since the Brexit vote which ranges from hostile comments from co-workers to harassment for speaking a European language on the phone in public. 

Question 8 asked “in relation to EU nationals, how happy are you with the way the Government has handled the result of the Referendum?” We have found that a significant majority (64%) of respondents were extremely unhappy with the way the government has handled the result of the referendum.

Question 9 asked the respondents to answer yes, no, don’t know and/or leave a comment on whether they support the proposals made by the Government on June 26th about EU nationals. 68.77% responded no, indicating a large majority do not support the June proposals. 9.84% responded yes and 18.72% responded don’t know. The answers to this question indicate that a majority of EU nationals in Westminster disagree with how the Government intends to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.

Question 10 provided more detail of what exactly about the Government’s proposals respondents were not happy with. Amongst other issues, a majority of respondents (80.4%) were concerned about proposals relating to “the application for settled status” and 77.8% feared the “possibility of losing “settled status once it has been granted”.

Whilst this particular (and incredibly popular) survey is now closed, it has been fascinating hearing the individual stories and views of Westminster residents. If you have anything you would like to raise with me about the referendum and the ongoing negotiations, please feel free to get in touch.

More councils join the fight for properly managed ‘nightly lets’


I’ve been joining Westminster Council in lobbying the Government for help to make sure people renting properties out on ‘nightly-booked’ sites such as Airbnb operate within the law. Now Kensington and Chelsea Council has produced a report showing that they too are having to spend scarce resources enforcing the law and dealing with nuisance arising from nightly lets.

No-one is against home-owners letting part or all of their property if they want to, provided they don’t exceed the legal limit of 90 days a year and don’t cause a nuisance to neighbours and others. However, Westminster alone is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on this issue, with 1300 properties being investigated for possible breaches.

I recorded a piece for the BBC, which you can view here

Westminster North ranks 15th (out of 650) in the country for children in poverty


New figures produced last week by the Child Poverty Action group help explode a number of myths about Westminster. To many people’s surprise, 44% of children live in poverty, a higher proportion than in Leeds or Hackney. High housing costs, low pay and disability all help explain the very high level of poverty.

Sadly, so many of the services people need to support them - from holiday and after-school clubs to Children’s Centres and the youth service, have been largely or totally closed down in recent years. Westminster Council has seen its government grant halved - yet although money is very tight, it should still be possible to choose some different priorities and make life a little easier for those with the least.

You can read the full report here

Queen’s Park station needs step free-access


Last week I joined Tulip Siddiq MP. Councillors and residents, in meeting Network Rail and Transport for London to lobby for step-free access at Queen’s Park station. Queen’s Park is a very busy tube and mainline station, so it is a shame to see how many people have to struggle with the stairs because of mobility problems or as they try and carry heavy buggies. There is a step-free access fund which has allocated around half of the money needed to install lifts at the station, and after this meeting, we are resolved to lobby for the remainder to be provided in the next round of allocations.

Let me know what you think. 

Merger of Genesis and Notting Hill Housing Trust

Genesis_Logo.jpg NHHT_Logo.png

I met senior officers of these two housing associations before the shareholders meeting which approved the merger, along with Andy Slaughter and Emma Dent Coad. This was an opportunity to raise two main concerns:

  • A high level of complaints from Genesis tenants (I don’t have many NHHT homes in the constituency) and how the proposed merger could improve services, especially given the fact that larger organisations have a tendency to be less, rather than more, responsive. I have picked up a particular problem with street properties in and around Bayswater recently, and am concerned that there seems to have an alarming lack of maintenance over some time. The associations have also, in combination, converted 1,322 social homes to much more expensive “affordable” rents from 2014 to 2016
  • Open market sales of desperately needed flats to fund development elsewhere. More than 70 properties have been or are being sold (not including those within the Church Street regeneration area). My argument is that Westminster residents’ housing needs are not being served by this and I want the disposals programme to stop.

I contributed to this story about the merger, which you can read here.

CityWest Homes


City West Homes made a number of changes to their customer service last year, including the new call centre and the closure of a number of local estate offices. Local councillors and I have recently noticed a significant increase in the number, and in some cases the difficulty of complaints. 

You can read here a report on some of the worst cases that have been brought to councillors recently.

What has your experience been?

I’m supporting the ‘Blue Belt’


More than a quarter of the world’s penguins are in British waters, and I want us to do all we can to protect their - and the wider marine environment. In January I went to the zoo to show support for the Belt Belt campaign to protect the oceans and their wildlife, including the scourge of ocean plastic.

In winter everyone’s thoughts turn to the cost of their fuel bills


Turn2us has an excellent website full of advice and sources of help, including this one on how to find out about ways to help with energy bills. Worth a look.

Cyclists in Kensington Gardens

A number of my constituents have raised concerns about cycling in Kensington Gardens. Click here to read the response I received from the Royal Parks. 

In short…

Nothing new to report on the St John’s Wood Post Office yet, but I’m in regular touch with them…I’m meeting Transport for London this week to discuss latest developments on the Cycle-Superhighway proposals through St John’s Wood (CS11)…Mark Field MP and I jointly hosted our local advice agencies in Parliament to discuss preparations for the roll-out of Universal Credit locally (not now planned until early summer)…still picking up concerns about traffic speeds and road safety in different areas. Progress has been made with the 20mph zones and some improved crossings, but there is still more to do.

And finally...

Interested in seeing what North Westminster used to look like? On Twitter, @marymagstweets posts a constant stream of glorious old photos, from Maida Vale to Warwick Estate and beyond. They are fabulous. Take a look if you can.

Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP

Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk
Twitter: KarenPBuckMP
Facebook: KarenBuck4WN

January 2018 E-Newsletter

January 2018 E-Newsletter Make homes fit to live in - my Private Member’s Bill wins government support In England around 3 million people live in private, council or housing association...


 December 2017 E-Newsletter

No help for policing in the Autumn Budget

Hard choices are being forced on the Met Police after no relief came in the budget to ease the budget squeeze. Since 2010, the Met’s budget has been reduced by £600 million. A further £400 million of savings have to be found by 2021, and unless the Government’s funding cuts stop now, officer numbers could fall below 27,500 by 2021 – a 19-year low.

I’ve been arguing for more support for London’s Police - but with shrinking budgets it is essential that everything possible is done to protect front-line services. Boris Johnson undertook a huge programme of station closures as Mayor - we lost Harrow Road, Marylebone and St John’s Wood stations under him. Now the choice continues to be - keep as many police officers as possible (though numbers are still set to fall further) with savings having to come from property disposal and considerable pressure to create larger command structures. As it is, we have fought to ensure that Westminster maintains a daytime facility in the north of the borough (in Church Street) as well as the single "24/7" station all boroughs will retain.

This week, I raised the issue in Prime Minister’s Questions. You can watch it here.          

You can sign the petition again the Police budget cuts here.

The EU Withdrawal Bill continues …


News of the deal paving the way to EU trade talks has come through too late to add into this newsletter. The chaos of recent weeks obviously could not go on, so it is good that negotiations can move to the next phase. However, we’ve already had over a year of damaging uncertainty, not least for the millions of British citizens abroad and EU nationals in the UK, and so much remains to be resolved.

Hundreds of constituents have also been in touch with me in the last week regarding amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which is now passing through Parliament. This is an exceptionally complex process, due to the sheer number of amendments, some of which are withdrawn or not pressed to a vote, and how the timing of key votes pans out. Inevitably, the process will be somewhat fluid and it may not, therefore, be possible to keep everyone updated on the details of votes over the next month or so, but please be assured that I will continue to vote as I have done previously, against a damaging ‘hard Brexit, against attempts by the Government to gather ever more executive powers to itself, without proper Parliamentary accountability, for a meaningful ‘final vote’ and against an ‘arbitrary ‘exit date’ on the face of the EU.

Keir Starmer: Tories must put national interest first and rewrite the Brexit bill

24TH NOVEMBER, 2017 8:30 AM

Over the past few weeks, MPs have finally had the opportunity to debate and scrutinise the government’s EU withdrawal bill line by line.

Labour has been clear from the outset that, while we accept legislation is needed to transfer EU law into British law before March 2019, the government’s bill is fundamentally flawed.

It would turn MPs into mere spectators, while handing huge and unaccountable power into the hands of ministers. It would put environmental protections and workers’ rights at risk, by removing their enhanced protection. It would weaken the devolution settlement, by hoarding powers in Westminster rather than devolving them to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. And it would increase the risk of Britain crashing out of Europe without an agreement.

That is why last month I set out Labour’s six reasonable demands for where the bill needs to change.

These were not just Labour’s demands. They were also the demands shared by many businesses, trade unions, campaigners and indeed some in Theresa May’s own party.

But instead of listening and seeking to improve the bill, all the government has done is to table deeply political and deeply flawed amendments of its own, such as fixing “exit date” on the face of the bill, which would not only tie the prime minister’s hands in any negotiations but also prevent Britain from agreeing appropriate transitional arrangements.

And in the first three days of debate Conservative MPs voted down Labour’s amendments to protect workers’ rights, safeguard environmental and animal welfare standards, legislate for strong transitional arrangements to prevent a cliff-edge for our economy, and to bring the Charter of Fundamental Rights into British law.

Time and time again the Tories have put party interest above the national interest. Ideological red lines above jobs and the economy. Politics above prosperity.

A Labour government would bring a different approach – one that puts jobs and the economy first and is based on our values of co-operation and internationalism.

An approach that protects rights and seeks to retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union.

That’s why over the summer I set out Labour’s clear and agreed position to negotiate an early agreement for strong transitional arrangements on the same basic terms as we currently have – by which we mean a time-limited period where Britain would remain within the single market and a customs union with the EU, accepting the common rules of both and retaining the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

I also set out that for the long term, unlike Theresa May who has ruled out any future relationship with the single market and the customs union, Labour would not sweep options off the table. On the contrary, subject of course to negotiations, remaining in a customs union with the EU is a viable long-term option for Labour.

Equally, we are flexible as to whether the benefits of the single market are best retained in the long term by negotiating a new single market relationship or by working up from a bespoke trade deal.

Crucially, Labour has made it clear that we have no interest in deregulating our economy, lowering standards or stepping of the level playing field.

A pragmatic approach in the national interest.

The government now has a week before the withdrawal bill returns to parliament for a further five days of debate, and just over two weeks until the crucial December EU Council meeting.

If ministers had the national interest at heart they would rewrite this bill and put an end to the ideological red-lines that are holding back talks with the European Union.

A new advice line has been set up for EU nationals concerned about their status – supported by Westminster Council, working with Westminster Citizen’s Advice and the Migrants Resources Centre, this service will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays from  11am to 2pm

The helpline telephone number is 020 7706 6019.

Should Oxford Street be traffic-free? Have your say on the plans


Plans to remove traffic from part of Oxford Street to create a new landmark public space and world-class shopping destination in London have been unveiled for consultation.

The proposals would see the western section of the famous retail street transformed into a space for people, not traffic, by December 2018, to coincide with the launch of the Elizabeth line.

Under the plans, all east-west traffic would be restricted from entering Oxford Street between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus, with five north-south crossing routes maintained. Details include the creation of new public spaces, cycle routes in the surrounding area, wider pavements and expanded taxi ranks. An 800-metre-long work of public art as a centrepiece for the street is also being considered.

“This is a hugely exciting moment for the capital,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said. “In just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard. Whether you’re a local resident, a business, or shop in some of the area’s famous stores, our plans will make the area substantially cleaner and safer for everyone, creating one of the finest public spaces in the world,” he said.

An initial consultation found 62 per cent of respondents in an online survey supported the principles behind the transformation of Oxford Street - although some raised access and congestion concerns. Westminster City Council and Transport for London staff have so far attended more than 50 meetings with residents, businesses and groups supporting cyclists and bus users, to address concerns as they develop the designs.

“We listened to what people said as part of the first consultation and we now want to hear from as many people as possible about what they think about the detailed plans before we take any final decisions,” said Councillor Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council.

“Protecting and improving the quality of life for residents in the surrounding area will be a key consideration. It’s crucial that everyone knows that we are listening and that they can help shape our plans,” he said.

Since summer 2016, Transport for London has cut the number of buses running along Oxford Street by 40 per cent, with even fewer buses to operate after the opening of the Elizabeth line. Oxford Street lies within both the new T-Charge zone, the world’s toughest emission charge for older, more polluting vehicles introduced in London to help tackle toxic air pollution, and the forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will come into force in April 2019.

The public consultation closes on 17 December 2017.  



Visiting Ethiopia in the November recess


During the short parliamentary recess, I travelled to Ethiopia with an All-Party delegation, looking specifically at issues surrounding women’s health in a country where despite some considerable progress in recent years 13,000 pregnant women and 200,000 children die each year.

In Addis Ababa, we visited an over-flowing, but clearly much valued, facility for victims of sexual violence, and the only hospital in the country treating women with fistula- the injury that can be done to a women where obstructed labour goes untreated, and which can leave the women doubly incontinent, rejected by her husband and abandoned to a life of pain and indignity. In the UK, obstructed labour is dealt with by caesarian section, avoiding injury to the mother or the baby.  But where labour is obstructed in countries with no availability of C-section the woman- in many cases, given the reduced but still significant prevalence of child marriage, a very young girl- suffers days of terrible pain, still birth and life changing injuries. The charitable hospital we visited is transforming lives at the rate of over 3500 fistula repairs a year, but there is still a backlog of 39,000 women needing the surgery, with some women having lived with the condition for decades.

We also travelled to the North of the country to visit refugee camps. There are already 800,000 refugees in Ethiopia and rising, fleeing conflict in South Sudan, Eritrea and in the east of the country Somalia.  The refugee camp in Shire, Tigray that we visited is near the Ethiopian border with Eritrea and houses 13,000 Eritrean refuges of which 1,500 are unaccompanied children. At present, a substantial proportion of the number of refugees travelling through North Africa and attempting to make the sea crossing to Europe are Eritreans, so it is in all our interests to support the work being undertaken by Dfid in helping not just the refugees but the surrounding Ethiopian host communities with developing infrastructure and potentially creating work too.


Ethiopia is a country of 100 million people - four out of five of whom live in rural areas - and whilst developing-it remains very poor. Yet, great strides have been made in improving health, through a network of 48,000 Health Extension-Workers who are out in communities advising on, amongst other things, contraception and abortion and referring women with complications up to the 3,500 local health centres, 30 general hospitals and 11 specialist hospitals. Though resources are often very basic indeed, with many shortages, the birth rate is falling, the number of unsafe abortions has halved in a decade. Contraceptive use has more than doubled and under five mortality has fallen by two thirds since the 60s, the fastest in sub-saharan Africa.

Sadly, one of President Donald Trump’s first acts was to bar US federal funds from supporting any organisation that provides or advises on, abortion, which has hit Marie Stopes International and others very hard as they do this work in partnership with the Ethiopian government and Dfid. The cuts in funding that flow from this decision are estimated to mean 88,467 unintended pregnancies, 27,425 abortions of unintended pregnancies, 15,822 unsafe abortions. MSI is set to lose £30m, representing 17% of their total income as a result of the Trump policy. MSI are working to make up the gap with additional funds (including from the UK and the Netherlands.)

Access to justice and the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act

As the Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid, I am deeply aware of the importance of access to justice.

These figures show what has happened to legal aid work in Westminster since the LASPO Act came into force in 2013:

Type of case



% change

Family Mediation




Family Legal Help




Family Certificated








Housing Legal Help




Housing Certificated




Welfare Benefits




Community care








Mental Health















% change

Solicitor firms












Source: Legal aid statistics England and Wales provider and area data 2016 to 2017 (www.gov.uk/government/statistics/legal-aid-statistics-january-to-march-2017)

Last week we had a debate on legal aid in parliament as Ministers begin a review of the impact of LASPO, and you can read what was said here.

Westminster Council cuts another £30 million from the budget - Labour would make different choices


Westminster Council has seen the level of government support cut by over half in recent years - one of the biggest cuts of any local authority in the county. As a result, the Council has cut £130 million in spending since 2014 alone. At the recent council meeting a further net figure of £30.8m in cuts and required new revenue streams was put forward, this included some money already identified. 

We are already seeing the impact of these cuts on the youth and children’s services, but the pressure is also on social care for older and disabled people, and on the enforcement needed to maintain a decent quality of life for all residents.

I support my councillor colleagues on Westminster, who, even in tough times, want to make some different choices. They are calling for funding to reinstate council support to Westminster’s Youth Clubs, though ongoing support to fund staff members and a one-off grant to the Young Westminster Foundation, more support for our Children’s Centres, for children’s stay and play sessions and for targeted outreach to vulnerable families. They also is want:

  • The council to invest more in adaptive technology to support the elderly and vulnerable to live independent lives, a move that also saves the council money.
  • Alternative ways to protect vital support to Westminster’s Rough Sleepers reducing cuts to outreach services and developing a new social impact bond to address the most important challenges facing people on our streets.
  • A cost effective way to support small businesses to comply with the London Living Wage by offering 500 independent firms a year who employ up to 30 people between a £250 and £500 business rate discount when they become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation.
  • Ensure the council continues to inform residents about planning and licensing applications by continuing to send written notices.
  • An emissions based resident parking charge scheme to help tackle the vital issue of air pollution in Westminster. 

Some of the savings suggested to pay for extra investment in children, young people and homelessness include £39,000 from providing private health care; £758,000 by reducing reliance on Temporary and Agency staff; £51,000 off Members’ allowances, to delete payments to Deputy Cabinet Members and £100,000 less money for the Lord Mayor’s budget.

The new draft ‘London Plan’ will help shape the city for the better


I greatly welcome Mayor Khan’s commitment to help London pubs. We all know about the illegal demolition of the Carlton pub in Maida Vale, but many other pubs have closed or are threatened (most recently the Salt House in St John’s Wood)


Of course, not all pubs can or should be saved - our habits change and the city changes with them-but when property values and the potential gains from residential conversion dictate everything, we risk losing the services and amenities that keep our neighbourhoods alive.

The draft plan contains other ideas as well, including a crackdown on fast food shops near schools:


You can have your say on these ideas and many others- including how to boost the number of affordable homes here.

Preparing for Universal Credit


As Universal Credit gradually extends to more working and out-of-work households across the country, concerns have grown about the hardship it is causing. Particular problems include: the length of time claimants have to wait for payments, rent arrears and the risks of increased evictions, and access to free school meals.

Some improvements were made in the November budget but there is still huge anxiety about it. I brought together the local advice organisations to discuss how we can prepare for the local roll-out next spring.

It is essential that anyone in difficulty seeks help as early as possible.

Thankfully, after a lot of pressure, the government’s Universal Credit helplines are now free:

Live service: 0800 3289344

Full Service: 0800 328 9344

Other ways to get help and advice:

Westminster Citizens Advice:


0300 330 1191

Advice Local


Advicelocal is a new postcode tool that can help with questions relating to seven areas of law - welfare benefits and tax credits; council tax; debt and money advice; housing and homelessness; employment and work issues; disability and social care; and asylum and immigration.

Advicelocal is easy to use. You just need to enter a postcode and choose an advice topic to find tailored information for your area, including key local authority resources and details of local independent advice organisations. 

You can also find them on Twitter @advicelocal and on Facebook @advicelocaluk

Around the constituency

St John’s Wood Adventure Playground


St John’s Adventure Playground is London’s oldest, and It was a pleasure to join them for their 6oth birthday celebrations. Although there have been concerns raised about the possible redevelopment of the area, it is absolutely essential that we keep this playground! 

London Tigers


The annual London Tigers sports and volunteering awards are always amazing! This year, the event was on home turf at Porchester Hall- for although the Tigers don’t have their own pitches in the area, they grew out of the Lisson Green estate and still provide local opportunities for young people. They have grown to be one of London’s most important community based sports providers, and the awards ceremony drew supporters from all over the capital and beyond.



South East Bayswater Residents’ Association is one of the most active and effective amenity societies in London. As usual, the AGM was very well attended, with a lively debate covering planning issues, the Whiteleys re-development, the lack of affordable housing, policing and traffic issues.

Separately, I am also taking up the issue of cycling off the designated paths in the Royal Parks, which has been raised with me by residents.

Westminster Citizens Advice

Westminster Citizen’s Advice AGM took place in the swanky Exchange House building on the edge of Broadgate, but that couldn’t disguise a message of real hardship and growing demand for help. I was delighted to be able to go along and add my thanks to the amazing staff and volunteers who provide assistance to thousands of anxious and often desperate people facing debt, poverty, homelessness and other problems.

A new threat to All Stars Boxing club

The All Stars club has been training boxers for many years in this iconic, though sadly neglected, building in the Harrow Road. Now they are (again) fighting for their survival:



*Stop press* News has just come in that All Stars have secured an injunction preventing the landlord from selling the freehold of the building...so discussions about the repairs can go on. A battle won, but support still needed.

The Salt House, Abbey Rd!


Property values are such that there is increasing pressure on lots of non-residential amenities - pubs being a very good example. Of course not all pubs can or should be saved - habits change and the world changes with them - but neither do we want to live in an area stripped of all but luxury housing. With the support of the St John’s Wood Society, the Salt House in St John’s Wood is campaigning to safeguard its future. 


Please don't allow change of use of The Salt House, a beautiful local pub on the famous Abbey Rd.

Why is this important?

The Salt House has been a public house since 1872 and has now been sold to property developers who wish to turn it into luxury flats and offices.This is such a sadly familiar story in London. We have to stop developers tearing apart what gives London it's pulse and character.

The Salt House is one of the few remaining local pubs in the area and has many long term regulars who love it dearly. It is also home for the key staff members and their family who live above it and a secure job for many more. It would be a travesty if this beautiful Victorian pub was granted change of use and disappeared after over a century and a half.

Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP

Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk
Twitter: KarenPBuckMP
Facebook: KarenBuck4WN

Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.

December 2017 E-Newsletter

 December 2017 E-Newsletter No help for policing in the Autumn Budget Hard choices are being forced on the Met Police after no relief came in the budget to ease the...


October E-Newsletter


Crime concerns


There has been understandable concern about the surge in serious youth violence this year, and the spate of moped assisted crimes. Tragically, one such incident recently claimed the life of a local young man, a former Paddington Academy student, who was stabbed in the course of what seems to have been a robbery. I raised the issue of moped assisted crime and serious youth violence with Cressida Dick, the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, when I met her in the summer, and I have also met a Home Office Minister and, of course, local Police and other agencies. There has been a lot of activity on this front, and a number of arrests and prosecutions, but obviously more needs to be done. The Met can and does seek to respond to changing priorities as far as possible, and there are always measures that can be taken in response to new challenges. However, it remains true that the Met has already lost around £600m in central government support, and is due to lose a further £400 m over the next few years. We have much reduced Safer Neighbourhood Teams and overall, police numbers have fallen to the point where the increases in the 2000-2009 period have now been cancelled out. In addition, Westminster Council has cut spending almost in half in the last few years, and is having to cut a further £30m next year, so some of the capacity that used to exist - from CCTV to the youth service - is no longer there. I believe that we have reached the point where we cannot keep reducing the Police budget, especially if this also has to finally build in a pay rise above 1%. Having said all this, the Police are extremely focused on the issue.

                To counter this type of offending in City of Westminster (CW) we have been running the following initiatives

Operation Regent - This was a targeted Intelligence led operation that led to a 52% decrease across CW in Moped Related Offences. 16 offenders were arrested for a variety of offences. This was carried out in April and May 2017

Operation Goodthink - A 2nd intelligence led operation that has been running since June. We are seeing another decrease in offending of around the 40% mark. At present over 20 people have been arrested.

Operation Venice - This is the Mets response to Moped, Scooter and Motorcycle Crime. On CW  This involves our local neighbourhood teams delivering crime prevention advice to members of the public and patrolling around 'Hotspot' areas for this type of crime. This has included the NW8 and St  Johns Wood area.

In addition to the 2 Operations above the CW Crime Squad have been looking at offenders from CW (and neighbouring areas) who are targeting the borough. As a result we have had the following results.

2 males jailed for a spate of offences in February and March - One received 5 years and 1 10 years. 2 males jailed for a spate of offences in May, 4 males are due to go for sentencing in October that have been linked to over 100 offences across CW (including St Johns Wood). The handler of the phones has also been arrested which has led to a dramatic reduction in these types of offences. At one stage City of Westminster was having around 22 offences a day. We now have around 4 a day across the whole borough.

In respect of the concern that CCTV is to be relied upon, this does carry some truth. Vital intelligence can be gained from images obtained. Rarely is there any forensic evidence when a phone is snatched from someone's hand.

Those snatching the phones often wear gloves (as you can see by the pillion passenger in the image above) so CCTV is a big part of what we need. That being said, just because there may be no CCTV does not mean that we cannot do anything.

Invariably these offences are carried out in spates of 3 or 4 so whilst 1 offence might not have any, another may well do. Different officers attend different calls so sometimes an officer will not be aware that footage may be available at an offence elsewhere. It is only later, when the offence is picked up by a detective, that these offences will be linked (by proximity, description of suspect etc). These offences often lay on file until someone is caught in the act (as per the arrests mentioned above) where we will then look at things like phone downloads from suspects. Any images on their phones showing them wearing similar clothing to that caught on CCTV along with Cell Site submissions for the suspects mobile phones that often place them in the location of the offences, and any incriminating messages via text or social media therefore proving their involvement.

All of the above is just a snapshot of what is currently happening in Westminster.

You can sign the petition against the cuts to the Metropolitan Police here.



We were expecting to be into the committee stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill by now, but that has been delayed as the Government considers their response to the more challenging groups of amendments! In the meantime, I have supported calls for the publication of the Brexit impact studies that have been carried out, so we can work on a shared understanding of what may happen to our economy and the country as a whole. You can read the article about our letter to David Davis, the Brexit Minister, here.

Given the worrying degree to which our reaching March 2019 with ‘no deal’ is now being talked up, I used my slot at Prime Minister’s Questions to ask what would then happen to EU residents in this country. You can see the video here.

Responses to my survey of EU residents are still coming in in significant numbers, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I intend to close the survey and analyse the result at the end of this month.

The NHS in Westminster


Urgent Care Centre found to be inadequate as St Mary’s faces winter pressures (and the latest on the ‘Paddington Quarter’ dispute)

St Mary’s hospital remains under considerable pressure as we go into another winter. Worryingly, the Urgent Care Centre, intended to relieve pressure on Accident and Emergency and which was put out to tender and awarded to a private contractor two years ago, was found to be inadequate after a Care Quality Commission inspection. The company has been given six months to turn the service around. St Mary’s itself has faced some huge challenges as a result of having some of the oldest buildings in the NHS estate, and these have led to extra costs and to bed closures. In May, part of the ceiling fell down in one part of the Cambridge wing! Even before the unexpected costs that arose as a result of the problems this summer, Imperial were spending £16 million this year to address the most pressing building  issues - now they have had to find another £1m.

In the longer term, much depends on St Mary’s being able to go ahead with their major development programme. However, the Trust continues to have concerns about ambulance access within the new scheme, which includes, of course, the controversial ‘Paddington Cube’. As they say:

“The Trust remained supportive of the Paddington quarter development, approved by Westminster City Council in December 2016, but the concerns raised by the Trust, London Ambulance Service and other health organisations, had not been taken effectively into consideration; even following multiple meetings with Westminster City Council, the GLA and TFL. These parties remained confident that the plan was safe, and the s106 agreement was likely to be signed in the near future. The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities had also chosen not to require further scrutiny of the plans.

Westminster City Council granted full planning permission for the Paddington Cube development on 14th August following the signing of the section 106 agreement. The agreement sets out final planning conditions, including for all aspects of a new access road that forms part of the development. Our safety concerns over the new access road have still not been resolved. We have been continuing to engage with the Council to seek amendments to the section 106 agreement to address our concerns. But, as the deadline for applying to make a formal legal challenge was Monday 25 September, we felt there was no alternative but to make an application in order to keep all options open. We are still hopeful that we can achieve amendments that address our safety concerns without further legal action”


Divisional director of medicine, Professor Tim Orchard, who leads the Trust’s Urgent and Emergency Pathway improvement programme, says:

“We are expecting this winter to be worse than usual for flu infection. We’ve also already got a lot of pressure on our inpatient beds – partly as a result of estates problems causing wards to be out of action for repair work but also because we are seeing more urgent and emergency admissions – there’s been an 11 per cent increase since 2015/16.

But I am confident we will continue to provide high quality care for all of our patients if we work together and make best use of all the planning and preparation that has been put in place. I would urge everyone to have a look at the checklists we’ve developed to be clear on what support is on offer and how it can be accessed, and what you can do yourself to get winter ready"

You can see details of the advice Imperial are giving to patients here.

BBC health tracker

The BBC have introduced a useful website to help people see what is happening to the local NHS over the winter months. You can find it here.

Fire safety

As action on fire safety starts to be taken across Westminster and the country as a whole following the Grenfell disaster, I have joined with local Labour councillors to ask the Government to fund the works, so that the costs don't fall on local councils. This would, of course, mean that those councils with the most high rise buildings are hardest hit - and if the money has to be found locally, it can only be met out of the budgets which would otherwise be funding repairs and maintenance and the building of new homes.

The full cost of implementing fire safety measures such as installing sprinklers in taller council blocks across the city and removing dangerous cladding from the towers on the Warwick and Brindley Estates could run up to £20 million. At the moment, this will have to be paid out of Westminster Council’s Housing Revenue Account, money generated from Council tenants’ rents and leaseholder service charges. This means that there will be a major impact on the number of new social or affordable homes the Council would be able to build and on its future ability to repair people’s homes.

Despite promising to do whatever it took to ensure that high rise buildings are safe, the government are clearly not intending to provide any financial help.

Universal Credit is coming


I’ve contributed to the two Parliamentary debates in recent weeks calling for a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit in the face of growing evidence that the built in delay in paying claimants is causing hardship, arrears, evictions and greater use of foodbanks. I met with our local JobCentre Plus to hear how preparations are going - we are not due for the full service to begin until the spring - and I was impressed with their commitment to make things work as well as possible. However, those London councils where Universal Credit is more widely claimed have been experiencing massive problems.

If you have experience of this, particularly if you are having problems, do get advice as quickly as possible, such as from the Citizens Advice Bureau, or my office.

London Poverty profile

If you are interested in knowing more of the facts and figures about our area - facts which show that, despite the image of Westminster as just an area of great wealth, the newly published London Poverty Profile is for you! You can read it here

Local MP calls on FA to fill empty seats at England matches with free tickets for schools


I’ve signed a letter calling on the Football Association to fill empty seats at England matches with free tickets for schoolchildren. The letter, signed by a cross-party group of 128 MPs was drafted by Shadow Sports Minister, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and sent to FA Chair Greg Clarke. It states that the 28,000 empty seats for the recent England game against Slovenia represent ‘28,000 lost opportunities to inspire England stars of the future’. This letter represents agreement from a large cross-party group of MPs, that where they can foresee large blocks of empty seats at Wembley – they need to commit to giving these to schools across the country.

The 28,000 empty seats at Wembley represent 28,000 lost opportunities - for many young children across the country, seeing England play live at Wembley is a distant dream. The FA can turn this dream into a reality. The FA does some good work in communities across the country but there is more to be done. There are dozens of schools in our local area that would welcome the opportunity to send children to Wembley Stadium to see England play.

The new ‘T’ charge - how it works and how it will help clean up London’s air


In last month’s newsletter I talked about the scale of the health crisis linked to air pollution, and the particular threat to children. Recent health data has shown 7.9 million Londoners - nearly 95 per cent of the population – live in areas exceeding the World Health Organisation guidelines on toxic air quality particles (known as PM2.5). It is estimated that air pollution contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year in London, as well as having effects over the course of our lives, from smaller lungs in our children to greater risk of dementia and strokes when we get older. This month, the Mayor of London brings in the latest measure to help improve the quality of London’s toxic air. The ‘T’ charge -‘T for Toxicity’- is the world’s toughest emission charge. Aimed to limiting the volume of older, more polluting vehicles that drive into inner London.

From Monday, October 23rd, older and dirtier vehicles will be required to pay a £10 charge on top of the congestion charge - with the aim being to discourage such vehicles from being driven in. It is thought this could affect around 34,000 vehicles a month, which do not meet the Euro 4 standards for both PM and NOx emissions. Such vehicles have made around 2.6m trips within the congestion zone areas since the beginning of the year, giving an indication of the scale of the problem.

Here’s the detail of how it works, and a link to check whether a particular vehicle may be liable for the charge:

The T-charge is the toughest enforced emission standard of any world city. Drivers of the most polluting vehicles (pre-Euro 4 vehicles) will pay the new T-Charge plus the Congestion-Charge (C-Charge) a total of £21.50 (£10 T-Charge and £11.50 C-Charge) every weekday they drive in the C-Charge zone from 7am-6pm. It will run continuously during congestion charging hours until the Ultra-Low Emission Zone is delivered.  To view the T-Charge compliance vehicle checker visit, tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/emissions-surcharge

Local round up

Woodfield Road two way

Residents of Woodfield Road and the surrounding streets have been understandably aggravated by the introduction of the new 2-way scheme on the road. Many people raised concerns during the consultation and local councillors put these forward, but the Council argued that such fears were overblown and that their proposals would reduce traffic accidents. Now in place, the new scheme has seen gridlock at peak periods with reports of damage to cars, constant horn honking, potential road rage incidents and general disturbance to the local residents with little evidence that things are being made safer. We have been pressing for an urgent review of the scheme and on Monday the Council announced their plans to introduce a ‘point no-entry’ at the junction with Woodfield Road and Harrow Road. This was with a view to displace traffic and reduce opposing flows within Woodfield Road between Woodfield Place and Harrow Road. These plans have since been postponed to allow for the impact on pedestrian safety to be assessed. I will continue to monitor the progress of the plans, please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Hallfield Estate update from CityWest Homes

I would like to apologise for the delay in getting major works to site on the Hallfield estate. This briefing has been prepared to help give you some of the background to this and help outline the way forward.

Pembroke, Reading and Tenby Houses (scheme V115)

Following the departure of the original contractor Mulalley and Company Ltd in 2013, we had decided to package the works into three blocks at a time. The first phase, known as V115, was to address works that were unresolved during time of the Mulalley’s contract.

The decision to defer the works to the term contract was made at a Cabinet Member meeting held in July of this year. Rather than go ahead and appoint Keepmoat, who was the remaining contractor in the process, a decision was taken to cancel the existing procurement as we now move towards the appointment of a contractor that will provide all major works for the next ten years.

Residents were notified of this decision on the 10 July 2017. A residents meeting was held on the 21 September 2017. There were representatives from the Lancaster Gate Ward Councillors and CityWest Homes project team. Eight residents attended.

Assuming the successful appointment of the new contractor in November of this year, the works to Pembroke, Reading and Tenby Houses should start in the New Year.

Works to the rest of the estate

Works to the rest of the estate are being carried out as four separate schemes and will be delivered by the term contractor. These are:

W104: Marlow House, Newbury House and Taunton House

X115 : Lynton House, Worcester House and Winchester House

X116 : Bridgewater House, Clovelly House and Exeter House

X117 : Brecon and Caernarvon House

We expect works to be delivered to all blocks by 2021

Church Street regeneration


Westminster Council’s consultation on the Church Street regeneration scheme ends on October 29th - though there will be plenty of discussions going on after that! Here’s the letter I have sent to residents.

And here’s the link to the Council’s site

And in brief: 

Despite it being a very tough financial environment, some of our local groups still do their very best to survive and service the community. It was a pleasure to support Paddington Arts on the occasion of their 30th anniversary this year - they do such great work nurturing creative talent amongst our young people. I got along to the Annual General Meeting of Walterton and Elgin Community Homes - the largest resident controlled housing project in the country - and was once again impressed with the brilliant turnout of tenants and leaseholders they get.

At the annual meeting of the St John’s Wood Society we discussed air quality, short-lets, the cycle superhighway and the on-going negotiations about the future of the Post Office, which I am very heavily involved with, and am hoping to see come to a successful conclusion.

And it was great to bring together a number of the individuals and organisations working with young people in the area at a reception I hosted in Parliament. The youth, play and out-of-school budgets have all been taken away by Westminster Council, but we were able to celebrate the work that is being done against the odds, and do some useful networking. Some of those attending included the Avenues, Dream Arts, London Tigers, Westminster Youth Foundation, Lords, St John’s Wood Playground, Queen’s Park sports and Everyone Active.

Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP

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October 2017 E-Newsletter

October E-Newsletter   Crime concerns There has been understandable concern about the surge in serious youth violence this year, and the spate of moped assisted crimes. Tragically, one such incident...


September 2017 E-Newsletter


Air pressure - time for tough action to improve air quality
Stay in the single market - and last call for my survey of EU residents
The crisis in Myanmar
Winter is coming - so get your flu jab!
Your chance to comment on the Mayor of London’s housing plan
Check out this year’s Silver Sunday events
North Paddington Foodbank - demand is rising
Moped crime
Church Street - new regeneration plans published

This is, of course, just a selection of the issues that I pick up or which are brought to me by constituents, and I don’t try to cover everything every month. If there’s something you would like to ask or tell me about, please e-mail me at buckk@parliament.uk, ring the office on 0208 9687 999 or even write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Air pressure


(Pic: NO2 Annual Mean in 2020)

Air quality is rightly moving up the political agenda, but we have a way to go before we can say we have tackled this public health emergency.

This month I wrote for Parliament’s magazine setting out what has to happen next:

What would any of us do with an extra 11.5 years of life? Cherish it and use it wisely, hopefully. But for too long, we have tolerated a hazard which shortens the lives of around 40,000 people annually by that much. Quite simply, toxic air is a killer- associated with the increased incidence of such potentially lethal conditions as heart disease and stroke.

Some people are particularly vulnerable, of course, and inner cities- which include many of our poorest neighbourhoods- are often most affected, but ultimately we all breathe the same air and none of us can opt out. As an inner London MP, this issue is particularly close to my heart, since we are one of the most polluted places in the country and it is here where the UK is most significantly failing to comply with EU pollution limits. This summer, the Mayor of London had to activate the capital’s emergency alert system as air pollution reached dangerous levels. However, other parts of the UK are not off the hook. The Government’s own statistics show that 38 out of 43 UK “air quality zones” are outside the legal limits for air pollution. From Middlesbrough to Southend, from Leeds to Guildford, towns and cities breach Nitrogen Dioxide levels-a total of 40 million people. Most disturbing of all, is the fact that hundreds and thousands of children are exposed to this danger, with schools in my constituency being amongst those facing the highest exposure.

The Government finally produced its air quality plan this summer, after taking a battering in the courts. Many of the proposals are welcome, including the banning of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040, and the announcement of some additional funding for local authorities, but still the package lacks sufficient ambition. We have both the need for, and the opportunity to, be a world leader on clean air generally and clean transport specifically.

This means a combination of incentives, education and advice, and penalties, backed by central government but with a key role for local councils, for it is as the very local level that support must be built, identifying local problems and designing solutions specific to individual communities. Westminster Council’s campaign to reduce emissions arising from engine idling is also to be commended.

City Mayors can give a crucial lead, as Sadiq Khan has done with his measures to tackle air pollution in the capital. These include the introduction of a charge on the most polluting vehicles from October this year, and an Ultra-Low Emission Zone from 2019, as well as boosts to cycling infrastructure and other measures.

At the national level, we need a new Clean Air Act to provide the coherent framework for, and raise the profile of, this issue. Transport is critical, of course, but so too is the built environment, in terms of the impact of both construction and heating.  Our national planning and infrastructure policies have to be geared towards achieving our goals and supporting the scale of the transition we need. And only national government can introduce a vehicle scrappage fund to enable owners of diesel cars and vans - many of whom bought diesel vehicles in the belief that it was a cleaner option than petrol - to retire them early.

The scale of what needs to be done in respect of low-emission vehicles alone is salutary. In May 2011 there were 57,000 such vehicles on our roads. By last year that had increased to 87,000 but the Government’s projection of 5% of all cars in the UK being ULEV by 2020 means that we need to have 1.6 million such vehicles by then.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution, established and chaired by Matthew Pennycook MP (and of which I am a Vice-Chair) has been reconvened for this Parliament. We want to hold the government to account on their vision and implementation strategy. Too much time has already been lost. Parliament rose to the challenge of the murderous Great Smog of 1952 by passing the Clean Air Act of 1956. Today’s air pollution may not look as dramatic, but its impact is even more lethal. We need a commitment and focus as great as that of 60 years ago to change our environment permanently and for the better.

There is, understandably, particular concern about the risks of polluted air to children. Clientearth are running a campaign focusing on the issue of schools air quality, which you can see here.                                                                                                                                                                      

We need to combine action at the local, London-wide and national level, with us as individuals changing our own behavior (no idling engines, not using cars for short journeys) at the same time as governments and business adapt to a shift to cleaner buildings and transport.

Stay in the single market - and last call for my survey of EU residents


Over 1000 people have already responded to my survey of EU nationals living in the constituency, letting me know their thoughts and feelings about Brexit and their future. I’m leaving the survey open for another couple of weeks, so if you haven’t responded and would like to, there is still time.

You can go on to my website and take the survey here

Meanwhile, as the evidence continues to mount to indicating how devastating ‘no deal’ would be, I joined with a number of my colleagues in Parliament and elsewhere to back calls for our continued commitment to the single marker and the customs union. link here.

The crisis in Myanmar

Westminster has a large number of residents of Bangladeshi origin and I have been contacted by community representatives and many others about the catastrophic situation in Myanmar, and the violence and human rights abuses being perpetrated against the Rohingyar people by the Myanmar armed forces. I co-signed this letter calling for a suspension of the current training programme being provided to the Burmese military, commitments from the military to abide by international law and help with urgent new humanitarian needs.

Dear Foreign Secretary,

RE: Violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

We are writing to you today regarding our serious concerns over the unfolding crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar and the indiscriminate targeting of Rohingya Muslims.

The government of Myanmar has every right to take action to defend itself against terrorism, however, it appears that rather than seeking to arrest terrorists from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) involved in attacks against government buildings on 25th of August, the military is using the attacks as a pretext for the mass clearance of the Rohingya population from large parts of northern Rakhine State.

Based on reports from the United Nations, human rights organisations and Rohingya organisations, we are witnessing human rights violations on a scale extreme even by the standards of Myanmar’s history. Estimates of people killed range from official figures of hundreds dead, to estimates by reliable Rohingya organisations of between 2,000-3,000 killed. Eye witnesses describe civilians being shot indiscriminately, people forced to lie down in rows and then shot in the back of the head, beheadings, rape, rounding people up into buildings which are then set fire to, and deliberate shooting of children.

At the same time, ARSA appears to have been targeting ethnic Rakhine, the Mro minority and people of other races and religions, exacerbating communal tensions and violence. More than 10,000 people have been displaced by such attacks, with more than 140,000 Rohingya having arrived in Bangladesh and it is estimated at least as many again are displaced in Myanmar. A major humanitarian crisis therefore currently exists in Myanmar and in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The twin priorities are to do whatever we can to halt the military offensive against Rohingya civilians, and address the urgent humanitarian needs. While we welcome the statement the Foreign Secretary made earlier this week calling on Aung Sang Sui Kyi to use her position to stop the violence, we believe it is vital that greater pressure is brought to bear on Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of the military in Myanmar. It is he, not Aung San Suu Kyi, who has the power to order the military to halt their attacks. While there is no single measure which can persuade the military to halt its attacks, any leverage that can be used must be used.

We also request that the government review its current approach towards the Burmese military in light of the serious human rights violations which they are committing now and have been committed in recent years. We request that the current training programme being provided to the Burmese military is suspended and an evaluation is carried out to assess its effectiveness and value for money. Any resumption should be conditioned on commitments from the military to abide by international law and the government should halt the export of any kind of equipment to the military.

Furthermore, the government should support an urgent resolution on the situation at the new session of the Human Rights Council, and support a resumption of the annual resolution on Myanmar at the United Nations General Assembly.

Additional funding must be provided to meet urgent new humanitarian needs, rather than coming from the existing budget allocated to Myanmar.

Longer term solutions to address the root causes of the problems in Rakhine State will be hard to implement as long as this current crisis continues. In this regard, we welcome the recommendations of the Rakhine Commission led by Kofi Annan and urge the British government to work with the government of Myanmar, providing both financial resources and expertise, to ensure they are implemented as swiftly as possible.

The scale of the human rights and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Myanmar is unprecedented in its recent history. It requires the attention of the British government at the highest level. We hope that as in the past, the government will show global leadership in support of the people of Myanmar as they face this new crisis.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Rushanara Ali MP

Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Burma

Winter is coming - so get your flu jab!

Vaccination helps the whole community resist disease, and when vaccination rates fall, outbreaks can occur with potentially serious consequences.

In 2017/18 the following individuals are eligible for a free flu vaccine. 

•  All children aged 2 -8 on 31 August 2017

•  All primary school-aged children in former primary school pilot areas

•  Those aged 6 months to under 65 years with a serious medical condition

•  Pregnant women

•  Those aged 65 years and over

•  Those in long-stay residential care homes

•   Carers

•   Frontline health and social care workers

•   The morbidly obese

•   www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/how-vaccines-work

If you are in one of these categories PLEASE do take action, and arrange to get your jab!

Your chance to comment on the Mayor of London’s housing plan


From the crisis of affordability to conditions in the private rented sector to homelessness and the long, long wait for a council flat transfer- housing is always a priority issue. Sadiq Khan has just issued his draft housing plan for London, so do take and look and let him (and me) know your thoughts:

This Strategy has five key areas:

  • Building more homes for Londoners
  • Delivering genuinely affordable homes
  • High quality homes and inclusive neighbourhoods
  • A fairer deal for private renters and leaseholders
  • Tackling homelessness and helping rough sleepers

Draft Housing Strategy

Press release

The aim of this Strategy is to address the housing shortage through an intensive use of London’s available land, focusing on more genuinely affordable housing and providing help now for people feeling the effects of the housing crisis - from private renters to rough sleepers.

Silver Sunday

This Sunday, October 1st, is ‘Silver Sunday’, with a range of activities and events available for older people. I strongly support the work Westminster Council does to recognise the value of older residents and to tackle the scourge of loneliness. You can find out more about what is going on here.

North Paddington Foodbank

I was delighted to be able to speak at the North Paddington Foodbank AGM recently, and to congratulate the staff and many volunteers who put so much into collecting and distributing food for people in crisis.

Worryingly, demand is rising sharply, as these figures from their annual report show:


So please do see if you can help, whether by dropping some items into the collection points, or helping out directly.

You can find all their details here.

Moped crime

After many years of (generally) falling crime, there has been a worrying rise more recently, and a number of constituents have contacted me with their concerns. Whilst the Police have been active on this issue and had a number of successes, the fact remains that police numbers are well down from their 2011 peak, and I am amongst those pressing hard for a re-think on the further £400m of cuts to the Met Police budget. I have discussed the issue of moped-enabled and other violent crimes with the new Met Commissioner and will continue to do so at every opportunity. In the meantime, the Mayor of London is working with the various agencies involved to develop solutions.

Church Street regeneration plans


Westminster City Council recently announced new and much more ambitious plans for the re-development of large areas of Church Street.

These will affect pretty well everyone living in the area - some directly, as residents in blocks of flats due to be demolished and re-built, others because of the scale of the building work and the huge changes that will be made to the area over many years.

Many of the blocks due to be re-built were affected by the original, now much delayed, Futures Plan, which was backed by a vote of residents in 2012. However, this new plan brings in many blocks that were not included at that point. The Council is not planning any further votes on their new proposals.

•    This is the biggest and most ambitious regeneration scheme Westminster Council has attempted. The track record of delivery has not been great in the past and it is essential that lessons are learned and both the consultation with residents and the management of the scheme are better than in the past.

•    It is vital that all residents have a say in this process - asking questions and making their views known. Labour believes there should be a final vote on the revised scheme, but whatever happens the Council must ensure that the process produces a scheme that local residents actually want to see delivered.

•    Tenants (including some housing association tenants), leaseholders and private tenants will be affected in different ways. Proper and independent advice must be available to everyone to make sure everyone’s interests are properly served.

•    There is a strong case for re-developing a number of blocks in Church Street, and there has been support for this in the past. Some blocks were not well designed, and are desperately in need of improvement (and have been allowed to decline without investment in recent years). There is also a need for new homes, and we accept that in the absence of proper government funding some of these must be higher-value private homes in order to raise money towards extra council/housing association homes and community facilities.


Westminster has a bad track record on providing truly affordable homes, whether to rent or buy, and we need more of these, not just more expensive luxury flats.


Pleasant open spaces are part of this vision, but they are not enough on their own. A densely populated place like Church Street needs good community facilities - not just school and GP places, but support for parents, activities for older residents and things for children and young people to do are essential. 

The exhibition is on line at churchstreetmasterplan.org.uk or on display at the Regeneration Base at 99 Church Street NW8 between now and October 29th. Please do, fill in the questionnaire, and talk to your friends and neighbours.

 Thank you for reading.


Karen Buck MP

Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.


September 2017 E-Newsletter

September 2017 E-Newsletter ContentsAir pressure - time for tough action to improve air quality Stay in the single market - and last call for my survey of EU residents The...


August 2017 E-Newsletter


From the crisis in North Korea to the horrifying behaviour of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, USA to the barbaric terrorist attack in Barcelona, it has been a dark and disturbing August. Here in the UK, the clock is ticking down to a Brexit which remains shrouded in uncertainty and absolutely fraught with social and economic risks. We will return to Parliament in September to consider the EU Repeal Bill, so there will be more to report then, but meanwhile lots of local issues continue to dominate my post bag, so this is a round-up of some local news and what I have been doing over the last few weeks.

Seeking the views of EU citizens resident in Westminster North

Westminster has the largest number of EU citizens of any local area in the country. Many come and go over the course of a few years, coming here to work or study. Many others have built a life here, whether or not that was the original intention- working, building businesses, marrying, raising families. I am carrying out a survey to find out a little more about their experiences since the Brexit referendum and their attitudes to the Government’s offer and negotiating position. There is no fixed cut-off date but I would welcome responses by the middle of September. The survey can be completed here.

The crisis in Yemen

There has been awful news from many corners of the world this year, but the appalling suffering of the people of Yemen continues unabated, and with relatively little attention being paid. I am pleased to add my name to an appeal issued by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yemen, seeking special consideration of the conflict at the next UN General Assembly.

‘‘Dear Secretary General Guterres,

We are writing today concerning the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

As I am sure you are aware, we face a generational catastrophe in Yemen and all current efforts are insufficient in providing help to the Yemeni people.

19 million Yemeni’s are in need of urgent humanitarian aid however, as a result of the conflict this has been difficult for aid agencies to provide.

According to UNICEF a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from preventive causes, 3 million people have been displaced and 6.8 million are one step away from famine.

Cholera cases will reach 500,000 by September and have already caused the deaths of over 2000 Yemeni citizens. It is the children who are hit especially hard by this with 40% of new cases occurring in children under the age of 15.

Public services in Yemen have ceased to be paid in 9 months. Not only has this worsened conditions for ordinary Yemeni’s but it has created an economy where one of the few well paid jobs is taking up arms on one of the sides. Humanitarian abuses have occurred on both sides with war crimes and attacks on civilians.

Despite the UN fundraising that raised $2.1billion the only way in which we can abate the suffering of the Yemeni people is to push for a ceasefire through the United Nations.

I have attached a list of Parliamentary Signatures from the UK supporting adding Yemen and its conflict to the agenda at the next UN General Assembly on the 13th September.

Only placing Yemen on the UN’s agenda at the General Assembly and the Security Council  and working collaboratively to end the conflict will save the people of Yemen.’’

‘Reckless language could lead us down a dangerous path’

Those words are from an article published in the joint names of the Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Director of Faith Matters/Tell Mama (the latter is a charity which monitors anti-Muslim attacks). They followed an article in the same newspaper, the ‘Sun’ which ended with a reference to ‘The Muslim Problem’- an attack on an entire faith and community, and one which, in the way it was written, echoed the use of the phrase ‘The Jewish Problem’  in the Nazi era.

I was also amongst the 100 MPs, led by Naz Shah, who signed a letter to the ‘Sun’ last week on this issue. You can read the report of this here.

Fire safety

Local councillors and I are in very regular contact with CityWest Homes over the steps they are taking to inspect high rise properties and make sure they are all safe. We are seeking greater clarity about the timescale for removing cladding on the Little Venice towers, and for other aspects of fire checks such as on Hall Place. We have also been talking to concerned residents on the Tollgate estate. Over the past two months many residents in multiple storey blocks have been in contact with me regarding fire safety, most recently including Tollgate House in Maida Vale, where residents have also raised concerns associated with the ongoing building works.

CityWest Homes have committed to providing residents with fortnightly updates on the works, the first few of which have been sent, and have also released separate assurances in relation to fire safety. I will be meeting with them again soon and would be happy to hear from residents about what has been helpful and what could be further improved.

If you have any specific concerns as a tenant or leaseholder, do please contact me directly.

Short Lets/Airbnb


Every new piece of research into short-lets suggests a continuing rapid growth in the sector, especially here in Westminster. As I keep emphasising, this is not to object in any way to owners letting spare rooms or making some extra money by renting their home for a few weeks whilst they are away. The problem is the growth of whole property lets, increasingly commercial in nature – as we know from the fact that so many short-lets are owned by people or companies with multiple properties. The rapid growth of the short-let sector reduces the supply of homes for traditional lets (for people to actually live in), costs Westminster Council (and hence, taxpayers) considerable amounts in enforcement when rules are broken or nuisance is caused, and effectively extends the hospitality industry into residential areas with almost no regulation and no social contribution to compensate. Having raised this in Parliament and in the media on a number of occasions, I have now written to Westminster Council again for an update on the impact and measures we need to take in response.

St John’s Wood Post Office


Last autumn, local residents packed into a public meeting to discuss the future of the St John’s Wood Post Office in Circus Road, NW8. The Post Office want to continue the service as a franchise, raising a number of questions about staffing and service levels, but it is also clearly important that a full service is maintained on that site, which is owned by Westminster City Council. As is often the case, there are commercially confidential aspects to the negotiations, which I will respect, but I am very concerned about how long this is dragging on for, and wonder in whose interests it may be for it not to be sorted out. I am in discussions with the Council and have now met with Post Office Ltd to try and find out why the delays are occurring and what can be done to move this forward and settle the future of the Post Office.

Stronger action needed to keep our streets clean


I can’t remember a time when I had more complaints coming in about dumping, fly-tipping and the state of the streets generally.

One resident from Little Venice wrote to the council- copied to me- to say:

"My street is a perpetual rubbish dump and for years and years you persist in doing absolutely nothing about it I suspect that the offenders are the same people and so year in and year out they are not being prosecuted. As you can see from the picture, putting signs on trees is not a serious deterrent. The only course of action that will work is a serious fine and prosecution. You are evidently not doing this and so the residents of my street will have to continue to be surrounded by rubbish when they step out of their door. It is quite simply an absolute disgrace."

Another, also from Little Venice, has complained about abandoned bicycles near Warwick Avenue tube- removed a few months ago at my request, but now a new set lot are there, rusting away.


We'd agreed with 'Westminster Council' that there would be regular visits to tag and remove the abandoned rusting bicycles. These bicycles limit the spaces available for genuine users. I imagine a lot of people have moved abroad etc I purposefully didn't report for six months, from Feb - July 2017. Unfortunately the situation hasn't improved after all. The bicycles have flat tyres and rusting chains. It takes around 5 months for a bicycle to get into this state. I do feel surprised that the Westminster team aren't keeping track of these. All the other racks are the same. I found another 10 abandoned rusting bicycle frames within 20 mins walk down to Marble Arch from Little Venice.

 In Harrow Road, a resident says:

"Recently in the vicinity of Fernhead road and Fordingley Rd there has been a regular spate of people dumping their rubbish on the street. Often one has to manoeuvre around fridges, sofas, clothes, pans, clothes horses, mattresses. It is becoming a real problem in the area. What can be done about this?"

I take these complaints up with Westminster Council, and staff do their best to help, but as the problems have been getting worse, there needs to be a more visible effort at enforcement against people (including those who have clearly been doing building or house clearance works) who fly-tip and dump rubbish in breach of the rules.

Chippenham pub


It’s good to see some work finally starting on the illegally demolished Carlton Tavern. The former Chippenham pub may be less dramatic but is still an eyesore and a blight on the area. Together with Cllr Tim Roca, I have been pushing for enforcement action, and have been concerned as to how long it has taken Westminster to move. However, I am pleased to see that a formal notice ( under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act) has now been issued and the owners have to remove the steel shutters and improve the condition/appearance of the building.

Queen’s Park Festival


Even though money is getting tighter year after year, neighbourhood organisations like Walterton and Elgin Community Homes, Westbourne Neighbourhood Forum and the Queen’s Park Community Council (amongst others) still put on summer events to build community links and offer something for children and families.

Concerns about moped-assisted crimes

I’ve discussed the rising level of concern about muggings/phone/bag snatches and moped-assisted crime before- and have been raising it with the Met Commissioner and the Borough Commander. This month I have had  further complaints from residents in  St John’s Wood and Maida Vale, with a lot of unhappiness being expressed about the absence of CCTV. Sadly there has been a rise in violent crime across London in the last year, but the Westminster Borough Commander has told me:

 “We have been targeting moped criminals and hotspot areas with some good success.  Where other boroughs have seen little improvement, Westminster has enjoyed a significant reduction in moped enabled crime.  My Crime Squad have arrested and charged some of the most prolific individuals in London”.

Please do make sure all crimes are reported, calling 999 in an emergency of course, and 111 in other cases. The MPS website contains lots of useful information on your local Safer Neighbourhood Teams, local crime statistics and contact information, as well.

Police latest on Carnival and on crime

Notting Hill Carnival is an important piece of our local history and loved by many, but we all recognise that it can be difficult (and sometimes an awful) experience for those who live on the route. This year, of course, the Carnival will take on a different tone, with a minute’s silence at three on both afternoons in memory of the Grenfell tragedy. Those attending are also being asked to ‘Wear something green for Grenfell’.

The Met have carried out a number of raids, as they always do, in the run up to Carnival, to take criminals off the streets and reduce the risks of trouble. They have also issued this note about both Carnival and London crime concerns more generally:

"Dear Londoners,

I wanted to update you on a few matters.

This weekend the Met will join with partners on the ground to help make Notting Hill Carnival as safe as possible. It is always a very challenging operation due to its scale, requiring us to draw on local officers from every borough.

We’ve worked hard this year with the organisers and others to try to develop the plans - taking into account the threat our city faces from terrorism and kind of criminals I'll talk more about below.

We want people to enjoy the weekend and so one tool we are trialling is facial recognition technology which we hope will alert us to known trouble-makers as they head towards the event so that we can intervene early.

We know that there are concerns about the use of such technology but I’m sure you would agree that we have to look at all possible approaches to make the event as safe as we can.

It has been a busy few month for us and much has already been said about how stretched the Met is following recent major incidents.

It is certainly true that the terrorist attacks at Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park, together with the Grenfell Tower Fire in Kensington have put pressure on the Met in ways few serving officers have ever experienced.

And this pressure is not confined to specialist areas of the Met. Our response to both Westminster and London Bridge drew thousands of officers from across all parts of the Met. Indeed, your local officers will have felt the impact and many will have been involved themselves.

However, you will also be aware that over the past several months we have also been experiencing increased demand in many other ways that greatly concern us, our communities and no doubt yourselves.

Knife Crime 

First among these is the steady rise in knife crime. In the 12 months to the end of June we saw a 34% increase in knife crime. Knife enabled murders have increased by 40% from 60 to 84 over the same period. These figures include the victims from the attacks on London Bridge and Westminster but violence, in all its forms, is something we are tackling with urgency.

Although two-thirds of knife offences do not involve injury it remains very worrying. Particularly troubling is that one in ten knife crimes involve a child aged between 14 and 17 being robbed.

The Met is taking sustained and determined action. We are arresting tens of thousands of people and seizing thousands of knives every year. Over recent weeks we have started to see some reductions in offences and we are identifying those responsible for more of these offences than last year.

Nevertheless, we simply will not arrest ourselves out of this problem - we need everyone to play their part.

There is an important role for all partners in prevention and diversion and a shared opportunity to shape changes for the better in our society. Only by addressing the wider social reasons for the increased willingness of young people to carry knives can we effect a long term change in behaviours.

Our approach is rooted in London’s communities with borough police working closely with local partners, community groups and education but this need to be a broad approach, with London’s most affected communities working with police.

That’s why we have held a number of partnership events this summer - bringing together as many people and organisations as possible to co-ordinate effort. We are grateful to all those that took part.

Corrosive attacks

Some commentators have linked another criminal trend; that of so called “acid attacks”, to our increased enforcement and  tougher sentencing for knife offences. I don’t think the evidence is there to draw the link but there are undoubtedly some similarities.

Certainly the profiles of some of the criminals is similar, as is their willingness to resort to violence. However, there is little to suggest that people arm themselves with a bottle of bleach or acid out of fear.

To carry a corrosive substance without good reason shows, in my view, an undeniable degree of intent to do someone harm or to coerce them in some way. There are few, if any, examples of such a weapon being used defensively.

I was therefore pleased to see that our colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service issued strong guidance this month which emphasised the importance of the circumstances in which such a potential weapon is carried when determining charges.

In the past 12 month this crime involving corrosive substances in London have increased by 16%, from 386 to 446. Most victims (80%) and most suspects (82%) are male. About two thirds are assaults, a quarter robberies and the remainder criminal damage. What is also clear is that very, very few of these offences are hate-crimes.

However, I think that there is more information we can capture about the use of corrosive substances and so we are beginning to implement better recording processes to allow us to more easily differentiate between offences where the substances is actually used, and those where it is carried or threatened – at the moment the offence data includes both and that doesn’t give us as clear a picture of the problem as we’d like.

We are also working with the Government and many other partners to find ways to make these substances harder to obtain and to shape future legislation in respect of offences. It is a complicated area; there are many substances which, like knives, are available to the public and businesses for very good reasons – they are useful in everyday life and in many professions. But like knives, they can also do terrible harm when misused.

Immediate and practical measures we have taken include kitting out our vehicles with large bottles of water and other equipment to allow our officers to help those who are attacked in this way. Further training will also be rolled out as we are frequently the first emergency service to respond to these incidents and time is a critical factor in minimising the harm these substances can do.

Moped-enabled crime

Last month we saw a series of offences which linked the use of corrosive substances to another worrying trend – moped enabled crime. Whilst I cannot say too much about these specific offences as criminal proceedings are ongoing I recognise that moped crime has been a matter of great concern for some time.

Criminals clearly find these vehicles attractive, both for committing offences and for fleeing the scene. It undoubtedly presents challenges for us in terms of catching and arresting them as we balance public safety with a duty of care to those who often ride with reckless abandon as to their own safety.

There are no easy answers in this regard. We do not have a “no pursuit” policy but equally we cannot disregard the dangers to those we are pursuing – even when the dangers are very much of their own making.

One measure we can all work towards is to improve the security of the vehicles themselves so they are harder for criminals to get hold of in the first place. We are working with bike manufacturers, as well as rider training centres. We recently launched a publicity campaign to encourage moped owners to lock up their bikes more effectively.

This is clearly needed. Nearly 15,000 were stolen last year representing a 30% rise. During the same period moped-enable offences nearly doubled to just over 9,000.

In simple terms, we recommend chaining bikes through the back wheel and taking at least one additional security measure. I’d ask you to think about whether there are steps you could take help bike owners make their vehicle less vulnerable such as more secure parking, better lighting or providing more ground anchors.

Stolen bikes are often used to grab phones from victims in the street, so we are also trying to encourage the public to make sure they are aware of their surrounding and take care when using their phones. At the same time we are building an intelligence picture of offenders, taking action against them, and trying to close their access to the market in second-hand phones.


I’ve said a lot here about partnership. This is quite deliberate. No part of the Met is more reliant on our relationships with other organisations than local policing. No area of policing is more important. It is the bedrock of our organisation and leading it makes me proud every single day.

But we really do need to work together. Our communities cannot succeed without effective and responsive policing. It is equally true that we will not be the police force London deserves unless we are deeply rooted in our communities. We share a responsibility to help shape our city, to make it better for all Londoners and I hope you will continue to help us do just that."

On the ground at Grenfell

I attended a screening of the new film "On the ground at Grenfell" at Paddington’s Frontline Club. It was made by a group of young people from, and around, the tower. A number of them had previously attended the Stowe Club in Harrow Road, and it was particularly harsh to realise that this important facility has now lost all its funding, given the amount of talent it nurtured and the important role it played in these young people’s lives. The film itself, including quite a lot of mobile phone footage, was very hard to watch, but it is essential that we don’t allow the terrible events of June 13th to slip out of our minds.

Building a city for all Londoners

The shortage of genuinely affordable homes is an acute problem locally, but it is made even more offensive by the fact that luxury housing developments get given the green light, often against the wishes of local residents, and with scarcely a nod towards affordable housing obligations. Here are a couple of shocking recent examples:

 The ‘Evening Standard’ reports:

 “The much-vaunted £1 billion regeneration of Queensway is shaping up to include almost no “affordable” homes for young Londoners or key workers.

In the latest example of a developer wanting to go against rules requiring affordable homes to be included in multimillion-pound developments, GMS Estates’ plan for an entire block next to Bayswater Tube is awating approval from Westminster council.

The developer is promising to transform a shabby street with new shops, offices, and 58 flats.

The council’s policy is that about a third of all new homes in the borough should be affordable and aimed at beleaguered first-time buyers and squeezed renters at below-market levels. But GMS Estates says that including any affordable homes at all would make its project financially unviable.

Westminster disagrees — but is asking that the developer builds four affordable homes — only about seven per cent of the total. Instead, it wants the company, which is spending £30 million on the project, to pay £282,000 into the council’s affordable housing fund.

GMS Estates says it has agreed to four affordable homes in the development and added that, since the homes will all be rented rather than sold, they will not go to absentee owners.

“With a private rented model we can be certain we will not be faced with the ‘dark flats’ that far too many new developments suffer from, and make a positive contribution to the redevelopment of Queensway.”

However, the level of affordable housing being discussed for this project flies in the face of a recent pledge by Nickie Aiken, leader of the council, to strictly enforce affordable housing quotas in order to stop Westminster becoming a “ghetto of the rich”.

Fergus Coleman, head of affordable and private sector housing at Westminster council, pointed out that to comply with council policy 16 or 17 of the flats should be affordable.

John Zamit, chairman of the South East Bayswater Residents’ Association, believes GMS Estates should be forced to include more affordable homes in its project. “They should not be allowed to get away with it,” he said.

Westminster recently gave Berkeley Homes permission to build 200 new flats at Paddington Green in W2 with only 32 designated affordable, or just 16 per cent of the total. The developer initially offered none at all, saying the scheme, an extension of its West End Gate development, would not be financially viable with cheaper homes.

The GMS Estates project is proposed at a time when massive regeneration is planned for Bayswater, currently a relatively affordable tranche of central London.


In the light of this, my Labour council colleagues are asking Westminster to urgently adopt the recommendations of the Mayor of London’s new Homes for Londoners: Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) 2017. The Mayor’s approach requires that new housing developments which fail to provide at least 35% social or genuinely affordable housing on site, must produce publicly accessible viability information that is open to scrutiny. At present developers far too often erroneously plead commercial confidentiality and make it very difficult to challenge their dubious claims to unprofitability of schemes that subsequently generate them millions in profits.

Irrespective of what the council, Westminster Labour or others may like to see in terms of national Government reform of the viability system, Sadiq Khan’s approach provides a solution that can be implemented now. Especially given that Westminster will be required to adopt this approach in 2019 at the time of the new London Plan, the Council should get on and implement this approach to put real pressure on developers to meet their basic obligations to provide social and genuinely affordable housing.

Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP

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Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk

August 2017 E-Newsletter

August 2017 E-Newsletter   From the crisis in North Korea to the horrifying behaviour of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, USA to the barbaric terrorist attack in Barcelona, it has been a...


July 2017 E-Newsletter

I wanted to write straight after the election to say how grateful I was to the voters of Westminster North for electing me to Parliament once more - and to the many volunteers who worked so hard during the campaign.  Tragically, only a few days later, the fire in Grenfell Tower not only took at least 87 lives in our neighbouring community, with which many residents have links, but forced a fundamental review of safety in other high-rises across the country. This has, inevitably, dominated, and cast a shadow over, the first three weeks - both inside and outside Parliament.

Grenfell Tower and fire safety issues

No-one can have watched any footage of the fire, or seen the burnt out husk of the building next to Latimer Road station, without reeling with horror. The fire is the worst of its kind since the Second World War, but its aftermath was made far worse by the near collapse of Kensington and Chelsea council and the inability of local and central government to provide immediate help for the survivors. What we did see, from day one, was a truly extraordinary rallying of community and voluntary support-donations, fund-raising, practical help, legal advice -  much of which is on-going. Mosques, churches, synagogues, temples, the Queen’s Park Community Council and many more, all rushed to give help on a scale I have rarely seen for a domestic crisis,  and they deserve huge credit for all their efforts. Too often, inner cities are regarded as unneighbourly and lacking in community support. The response to Grenfell proved the opposite.

Still, many questions have to be answered, by the inquiry, by the Council and by government. You can read some of the questions I have been asking, about testing for fire safety, funding for remedial works and leasehold issues below. 






And my contribution to the Queen’s Speech here.

I also wrote an article for the Guardian on some of the issues arising from Grenfell, including some of the changes in the law which are now necessary. You can see that here.

Reassurance and action to ensure local fire safety

Local councillors and I have also been pressing CityWest Homes and Westminster Council (and local housing associations) for the quickest possible action to check the cladding and other fire safety arrangements in our high-rise blocks, and to give reassurance to residents as appropriate. We have met with the Council, and I attended the drop-in/meeting on the Warwick Estate last week. Obviously the situation is changing almost daily, as checks and remedial works are completed but you can read what we have been asking for here.

We will work with residents as issues arise, and of course anyone with specific concerns can contact me or a ward councillor, or attend one of our surgeries.

Spotlight on affordable homes (again) 

The Grenfell fire has also highlighted the extreme pressure on social and affordable housing in London- something that also fills my casework and advice surgeries. These latest official figures from the Government may help to explain why:

Affordable home starts         2009/10

Social Rent                          34,492

Affordable Rent                         ***

Intermediate rent                   3,581

Affordable Home Ownership 10,844

Total                                   53,917


Affordable homes starts      2016/17

Social rent                             944

Affordable rent                   26,716

Intermediate rent                      24

Affordable ownership          10,301

Total                                  37,985

In Parliament/ Brexit

The election was called by Theresa May in the belief that it would lead to a substantial Conservative majority. Instead it resulted in a hung Parliament, a £1bn deal to secure the support of the DUP and the ditching of much of the Conservative Party manifesto. The recent Queen’s Speech, which (unusally) sets out the government’s programme for the next two years, is now very light on everything apart from Brexit. We can therefore expect the Repeal Bill to take up most of our time in Parliament. I am, however in no doubt that concerns about a ‘hard Brexit’ are growing, and were a major issue in the election, especially in London, and certainly in Westminster North. Leaving the Single Market in particular, could be a huge blow to our public finances and make it far harder for us to be able to pay for vital public services.

This is why I backed an amendment to the Queen’s Speech and co-signed a letter setting out my reasons for a continued rejection of a ‘hard Brexit’ and my support for our remaining in the Single Market. You can read that letter here.

The Government have now also put forward their proposal for EU citizens living in Britain. I am in the process of preparing a survey to find out what people think of that offer, so please look out for it over the next few weeks. I really appreciate your views.

Local round up

Raising crime and policing issues

Along with other London MPs, I met the new Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, this week, and raised with her our local concerns about moped crime ( a particular issue at the moment around Maida Vale/Warwick Avenue, though Abbey Road residents have also now written to me about it), worries about the rise in hate crime, and serious youth violence. We also had a wider discussion about resources, counter terrorism and the impact on the police of serious mental health problems.

On present trends, the Met Police budget is set to fall by a further £400m , having already been cut by £600m, so the police service remains under real financial pressure. Although crime overall has been on a very long-term downward trend, the issues listed above are all very real challenges in London, which has seen a rise in violent crime in particular over the last year.


The state of our streets


Regular readers/those who follow me on Twitter will know that I am obsessed with over-flowing bins, dumping and rubbish on the streets. Although there have been cuts to the service, it is also apparent that there is too little enforcement against dumping (such as after flat clearance) and there are definite variations in the service across Westminster. I will keep pressing on this, but do please keep contacting me with your examples!

Improving air quality

We need a new Clean Air Act to help us improve the quality of our increasingly toxic London air.  In the meantime, we can all get behind this important Westminster Council campaign:

I pledge not to idle

Did you know that by simply turning off your engine you can help to reduce asthma, heart disease and lung cancer?

Westminster is an amazing, vibrant place, with all the hustle and bustle you would expect at the centre of a truly global city. However, Westminster suffers from the worst air pollution in the country.

Car Idling contributes to premature deaths and health issues in Westminster.  If everyone makes a small change, it will help make a BIG difference.

Please sign the pledge on the right today to support the #DontBeIdle campaign.

Funding for local services

Increasingly, residents come to Councillors, or to me, to express concerns about the quality and availability of services. I share their frustration.  I thought it might be helpful to share this table which gives some context - the amount by which councils have had their government grant cut since 2010.

With funding set to fall further under current plans, it is no surprise that the Conservative Leader of the Local Government Association this week warned that “The money local government has for vital day to day services is fast running out”. These services include (or in some cases, included, past tense) Social Care and Youth Services, street cleaning and environmental health, libraries and Children’s Services. This decline is not healthy, right or sustainable.

England: Real-terms change in local government service spending by LA decile of grant dependence, 2009-10 to 2016-17

Figures in £s, thousands, 2016-17 prices



Local authority

Total service spending 2016-17

Total service spending 2009-10

Cut 2009-10 to 2016-17

City of London












Tower Hamlets
































Barking & Dagenham








Hammersmith & Fulham
















Waltham Forest












Leicester City UA





Getting out and about at summer events


Thankfully a number of local events have still been running over the last few weeks, and I’ve tried to get to as many as possible. These have included:

• The Interfaith Iftar at the Regent’s Park Cultural Heritage Centre

• The South East Bayswater Resident’s Association Summer Party

•  The Westbourne community festival

And maybe see you at the WECH summer festival this weekend.

Grenfell showed us the importance of being good neighbours and what communities can do working together. Let’s keep that spirit going!

 Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP


Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk

Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.

July 2017 E-Newsletter

July 2017 E-Newsletter I wanted to write straight after the election to say how grateful I was to the voters of Westminster North for electing me to Parliament once more...

Dear all,

Tomorrow is election day and this is just to remind you:

a)  You don’t need a polling card! If you have it, fine - but it is not essential.

b)  If you are not sure where your polling station is, you can search here

Six weeks ago I wrote to say what I thought this election was going to be about.

Called by the Prime Minister three years earlier than necessary, it was supposed to be all about giving Theresa May backing for her Brexit strategy.

The election hasn’t turned out the way anyone expected.

Despite the central importance of Brexit to our national story, and the huge damage a ‘hard Brexit’ will inflict on jobs and the economy, there has been too little time devoted to this topic.

Much of the early part of the campaign was dominated by the Conservative proposal for a ‘dementia tax’.

Then, inevitably and rightly, the horrors of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London have meant grief, outrage and a recognition of the need to look again at how we tackle violent extremism. It has been extraordinary to see the unity expressed across communities in both cities - exemplified in the leadership given here by Mayor Sadiq Khan - in the face of these attacks, rejecting extremism and intolerance. Action will need to follow, but specific policy responses are not best forged in the heat of the last hours of an election campaign.

One thing is clear - our politics may be far from perfect but we have a democracy worth cherishing. We have the right to choose who represents us, and to question and challenge our leaders. And it is absolutely right that there should be robust debate about the issues that matter to us.

I want to see a change of direction in our country.

I am strongly opposed to a ‘hard Brexit’ and believe our partnership with Europe is a force for good for this country.

I don’t want cuts to our school budgets or our youth service.

I do want to see genuinely affordable homes for sale and rent, not just more and more luxury flats.

I want a properly funded NHS, and social care which doesn’t involve only those unlucky enough to be affected by particular health conditions, like dementia, having to fund with their homes.

I want to support our police, security and intelligence services with the resources they need, and don’t accept that this means abandoning human rights laws that are central to our British values.

And even though I would love you to vote for me (obviously!), I hope you will take part tomorrow whoever you choose to support.

Best wishes,


Karen Buck

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Westminster North

Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KarenBuck4WN/

Promoted by Andy Whitley on behalf of Karen Buck, both at 4G Shirland Mews, London, W9 3DY.

A message from Karen Buck

Dear all, Tomorrow is election day and this is just to remind you: a)  You don’t need a polling card! If you have it, fine - but it is not...

What this election is about

It’s about our future relationship with Europe- but much more besides

Here in Westminster North, electors voted to ‘remain’ by a margin of more than two to one. Since then local people have never stopped expressing their concerns to me- about the risk to jobs, businesses and prosperity of a ‘hard Brexit’ or, worse, ending up in 2 years with no deal at all, facing tariffs and other trade barriers with our nearest neighbours and biggest trade partner. I think Brexit- and in particular the most extreme and damaging version now being pushed- out of the single market, out of the customs union- is bad for our economy and our country. I understand, too, the reasons that drove many people to vote 'leave'- but of course no-one, whichever side they were on last year, voted to be poorer as a result.

Many people have been horrified by the plight of EU residents here and Britons living in Europe, who have built their lives on a foundation that’s now been removed from under them. These people should not become ‘bargaining chips’ in the EU negotiations. They deserve to have their positions settled as a matter of urgency. Sadly, there has also been a rise in hate crime and intolerance since last year; totally out of keeping with our values as an open, safe and diverse city, and that is something we can unite against and declare wholly unacceptable.

I voted against the triggering of the Article 50 Bill in Parliament because I was not prepared to accept the risks that Brexit poses for local people, who had, after all, decisively rejected this outcome.

Since the referendum I have also been supporting the case for:

  • Maintenance of barrier-free access to the single market;
  • Retaining all the rights - workers’, environmental and human - we currently enjoy as members of the EU;
  • The rights of EU residents in this country;
  • A close, collaborative future partnership with the EU;
  • A meaningful vote on the final deal at the end of the Article 50 negotiations- not a ‘take it or leave it’ vote which is no real choice

The Tories used their Commons majority to vote down our amendments to the Article 50 Bill, but I will continue to press these demands and to oppose a hard Brexit. 

Let be me clear, if the deal which will be negotiated over the coming 2 years does not deliver for the people of this country I will vote against it.

I’m willing to fight this election on the question of Europe and the crucial importance of not allowing what happens next to be waved through Parliament by an anti-European Conservative party.

But I also want it to be about more than that.

A society such as ours should be able to guarantee a decent quality of life for all and to make the investment- in educating our young people as much as in homes and transport- which will lay the foundations for the future. Of course, as the Conservatives have already threatened, turning us into a global tax haven and slashing protection for workers and consumers will permanently cut our ability to deliver decent services and support for the vulnerable. We must not go down that path. But even before we face any such choices, there are still decisions we can make about which way we want to go as a country.

Spending cuts hit schools for the first time in decades

Government plans to move education funding away from London, together with a funding squeeze overall, will take £7 million out of Westminster school budgets. Not every school is equally hard hit but many primary and secondary schools will lose huge sums. Westminster secondary school heads have written to me to warn, “many of the gains made in Westminster Schools will be at risk”.

London’s deepening housing crisis

Homelessness has risen 130% since 2010. That was not inevitable - in the previous ten years under Labour it fell by three quarters. But this is only the worst symptom of the housing crisis, which sees developers building luxury blocks for sale overseas, while local people cannot afford to rent or buy anything in the borough.

The government will not build affordable homes, will not give meaningful help to lower income people seeking to get onto the housing ladder and will not tackle the high rents and low standards in the private rented sector. All around we can see evidence of luxury flats under construction whilst long-term residents, including many doing the work that keeps the city going, are being priced out.

Our health and social care services

This has been the worst winter for the NHS in many years, as it suffers the biggest financial squeeze in its history. The Imperial Hospital Trust was deeply in deficit in 2016, and I am hearing more and more stories of lengthening waits and cancellations. The deep cuts to social care for elderly and disabled people - down by a third in Westminster - are trapping people in hospitals who should be able to be cared for at home, and this has backed up into problems across the whole hospital service.

And there are lots of specific local issues too.

As your MP I have never stopped campaigning and assisting local people with their concerns. In the last year alone I have responded to over 6000 problems or policy enquiries. And in the last two years I have worked on issues from the threatened closure of St John’s Wood Post Office to the ending of all council funding for Westminster’s youth service and after-school clubs, from fly-tipping to air quality, from basement excavations to the impact of short-lets and from support for our Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams to help for people facing the loss of disability benefits.

I’ll be out talking to residents from now till polling day, but you don’t have to wait until I knock on your door, though. Let me know about what matters most to you - I’ll be pleased to hear from you!


Karen Buck MP

Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk

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Spring Newsletter

What this election is about It’s about our future relationship with Europe- but much more besidesHere in Westminster North, electors voted to ‘remain’ by a margin of more than two...


April 2017 E-Newsletter


What’s been happening in Parliament

Leaving the EU
Protecting the independence of the BBC
Tackling abuses in short/holiday let accommodation

My committee work in Parliament:

Self-employment and the ‘gig economy’
Mental Health and deaths in prison
Some of the issues you have been writing to me about:
Local round up

Westminster schools join protest about funding cuts
Meeting local needs for help and advice:
Paddington Law Centre
Sudden closure of the North West London Medical Centre
As Westminster Council withdraws funding from the youth service - we have to do more to support our young people
…but there is some sport - details in the article - so do get active
Have your say on Westminster’s Tall Buildings policy
Big welcome to Council climb down on the Porchester Spa
Putting a roof over our heads - come to our meeting on local housing issues
Paddington and Maida Vale Waterways Association AGM - residents despair of poor broadband connections
Concern over London business rate rises
Biting off more than they can chew
Labour councillors criticise proposed estate office closures

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 Leaving the EU


The start of formal negotiations to leave the EU which began with the writing of the letter triggering Article 50, may not have been significant in itself (compared with the referendum last year and the substantive negotiations to come), but it felt momentous. Many of us have lived our whole lives, or our whole adult lives, as part of the EU. Many older people remember the catastrophes that befell Europe in the middle of the last century, and feel that, imperfect though the EU institutions are, the European project was and remains a noble one. 36,000 Westminster residents are EU citizens. Some of the near 70% of electors who voted to remain locally may feel we just have to get on with it now, but I know many others (and I am amongst them) feel a deep sense of sadness and concern about the future even though we will all try to ensure that we get the best possible outcome from this next stage of the process.

During the final stages of the Parliamentary Bill approving the decision to trigger Article 50, I backed two amendments. One tried again to protect the rights of EU citizens in this country, many of whom are deeply concerned about their current status. The case that they should not be used as  ‘bargaining chips’ in negotiations has been made many times since last June (including by me), but if anything, it becomes more, rather than less pressing with the passage of time.

The second amendment was to give MPs a final and meaningful vote (and not just a ‘take it or leave it’ one) at the end of the negotiations, so a deal could still be rejected if we judged it not to be in the national interest. This was also defeated.

As the process of agreeing the terms on which we leave the EU, and the deal covering our future trading and other arrangements, gets under way, we will be scrutinising the process and holding the government to account along the way. In the immediate future, Parliament will be asked to approve the so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’ which incorporates the existing EU legislation by which we are bound into British law. Worryingly though, this Bill allows the government considerable power to change laws without having to put them to Parliament for decision.

Very few people voted to leave the EU in order to lower standards of consumer or environmental protection, or to weaken employees’ rights at work. We need to be sure that these things do not happen under cover of supposed ‘technical’ legal changes made possible by this Bill.

Defending the impartiality of the BBC


As many constituents have pointed out in letters to me, the BBC has come under considerable pressure over impartiality regarding their coverage of Europe in particular. I have signed a letter, published last week, defending the BBC against these allegations and making a strong statement of support for the BBC to be free to do its job to report fearlessly and impartially.

As the letter states:

"The reason the BBC is respected as a news source around the world is precisely because it is independent and at a time when those who ask fair and tough questions are being denounced, that independence and impartiality is more important than ever."

You can read the whole text here.

Short Let properties


In March, I introduced a short Parliamentary Bill to strengthen the powers of Councils to deal with illegal sub-lets (NOT to ban all ‘short lets’). You can read my speech here

Here’s how the Evening Standard covered it.

Self-employment and the ‘gig economy’

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has been looking into self-employment and the ‘gig economy’: whether the UK welfare system adequately supports the growing numbers of self-employed and gig economy workers, and how it might be adapted to suit their needs. This is a wide-ranging inquiry, looking at areas including Universal Credit and other working-age benefits, pensions, and labour market participation. The "gig economy" has come to prominence recently with high profile issues over the hours, pay and conditions of workers in large online courier and cab services like Hermes, Deliveroo, Amazon and Uber.

You can find out more here.

Mental Health and deaths in prison


My other Select Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, is currently looking at the issue of vulnerable people in prison - especially those with mental health needs. The inquiry is structured around three broad themes:

1. Whether prison is the right place for vulnerable offenders such as those with mental health conditions and/or learning difficulties

2. The way prisoners with mental health conditions are treated in prison

3. How to ensure that lessons for the future are learned, errors not repeated and that good practice becomes common practice

You can find out more here:

Read the full terms of reference: Mental Health and Deaths in Prison

Local round up

Schools protest about funding cuts

In February, I held a Parliamentary debate into the impact of the Government’s new schools funding arrangements, which, together with an overall squeeze on education spending, is hitting London schools hard. Since then, I have visited and spoken to a number of our local schools and heard about the tough decisions they think they will be forced to make - from cutting teaching staff, pupil support and activities to raising more money from parents.

Now our secondary school heads have written this letter expressing their concern and warning that we risk going backwards after many years of real progress in improving education in the capital.

You can read the letter here.

Meeting local needs for help and advice

Paddington Law Centre

It was a pleasure to speak at the Annual meeting of the Paddington Law Centre, still getting by hand-to-mouth with very little financial support despite carrying out vital work advising and representing local people. In the last year, they helped 2940 clients with employment, housing and welfare rights issues.  If anything, the need is simply going to carry on rising, with cuts to Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, the Council’s tough new homelessness policy and so on, so they need all the help they can get.

This year, I hope to join the PLC lawyers on the Legal Walk on May 22nd – here’s their fund-raising page.

Sudden closure of the North West London Medical Centre

I was alarmed by the sudden closure of the North West London Medical Centre, following the decision of the GP, Dr Dexter, to retire.  Without going into any details about the circumstances, I wrote to NHS England to express my concern about the shortness of notice involved.   I have also asked for reassurances about the capacity of nearby surgeries to accept all the patients. If anyone has been affected and not been taken on to another doctor’s list, please do contact me.

Dear Karen Buck MP,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Below is our responses to the questions you have asked in your email dated 9th March 2017. 

1. The regulations are enforceable however this will not change the outcome in this case as the contractor has confirmed the practice premises, which are not NHS owed, will no longer be available for healthcare after 31st March 2017.

2. In making the decision to ask patients to register with another practice, NHS England and Central London CCG have taken into account the number of patients registered (with the NW London practice) and where they live, as well as the availability of alternative nearby practices. There are 29 other GP surgeries within one mile of North West London Medical Centre, all of which are currently accepting new patients. NHS England has contacted all of these practices to enquire as to their capacity to register additional patients. Of all local practices that have an open list, 10 said they would have capacity to significantly increase their list. 4 practices have stated they would have the resources to absorb all of Dr Dexter’s patients and other practices between them indicated they have capacity totalling approximately 12,500 patients. This demonstrates that there is capacity and the willingness in other local practices to absorb additional patients if required.

3. We are aware of the CQC report at Little Venice, the GP partners responsible for Wellington Health Centre which was rated Overall Good by CQC are now responsible for the day to day running of this contract. The new contractor has provided us assurances on how they will be addressing operational concerns with regards to services at the practice. NHS England and Central London CCG will continue to monitor the practice performance and will be addressing all concerns appropriately in accordance with their contract.

4. We are working closely with (the NW London Medical Centre) to ensure all vulnerable patients are supported to re-register with another practice. NHS England and CCG officers will be holding a drop in session on 23rd March between 1 – 6.30pm for patients to come and talk to us about our decision and any support they may need to register with another practice. We will be monitoring the patient list up until the closure and after the practice closes to ensure patients re-register with another practice. We will also write again to patients that have not reregister after the closure encouraging them to register with another practice. Furthermore we are commissioning a provider to manage the clinical system after the practice closes to ensure operational issues relating to patient care are picked up and dealt with appropriately.

Your sincerely,

Atilade Adeoye |Senior Primary Care Commissioning Manager: NHS England

As Westminster Council pulls funding from the youth service - we have to do more to support our young people

The Avenues Club

Westminster Council has withdrawn all funding from the youth service, leaving services for young people on the brink. The Avenues Centre in Queen’s Park held a successful fund-raising evening which I was happy to support and they deserve congratulations for this, but it is a huge struggle to replace lost funds for vital youth workers. To see what an important job they do, it is worth reading this article, which features The Avenues and shows what remarkable work they do and what pressures they are under. 

The Stowe Centre

Further down Harrow Road, The Stowe Club has also lost funding and we had to say goodbye to Michael Dipple, a long-standing youth worker deeply rooted in the community. The Stowe Centre is a vital facility in Westbourne ward and is a place where historically young people from the Warwick, Brindley and Amberley Estates and beyond have come for many years to get a break from tough home lives, to take part in activities or just simply to have some space. It was once the home to the one of London’s most famous youth football training grounds, known for producing stars like 1980’s Liverpool legend John Barnes. It was also the home of The Cut magazine, written and produced by local young people and created the hit YouTube series Chicken Shop Date as well as a host of other exciting projects.

So, as from 1st April the Stowe Centre will only be able to provide a replacement one night a week session for 11-19 year olds. This will be nowhere near what used to be provided and is a massive blow to the community and life choices of the young people in the area.

Fun for younger kids at the Lydford


Thanks to the Evening Standard’s Dispossessed Fund and City West Homes, a project for younger teens is, however, back on at the Lydford Community Centre. Cllrs Ruth Bush, Tim Roca and I dropped in. 

Queens’ Park Football Academy celebrate their first birthday


A big well done to the volunteers who have set up the Queen’s Park Football Academy (and now the tennis academy too!) at Queen’s Park Gardens. I went alone to hand out certificates on their first birthday. 

Find out more by e-mailing



Call Ryan on 07802826609

There’s also Family Multi-sports at the Beethoven Centre, Third Avenue W10 4JL between 4.30 and 5.30 for just £1 a family. Contact samb@londonsportstrust.org or 02087351589

Have your say on Westminster’s Tall Buildings policy


There was much controversy in late 2014 and early 2015 over plans for tall buildings being considered, and in some cases approved, by Westminster in apparent conflict with the existing policy on tall buildings. Original plans for the ‘Paddington Shard’ were withdrawn but others like West End Green, were given approval.  Now you can have your say on the Council’s new policy. Here’s the link - and it would be great to get a copy of what you say, too.

Big welcome to Council re-think on the Porchester Baths


The Porchester Spa in Bayswater includes London’s last traditional Turkish bath, and we love it!  So when Westminster Council proposed a renovation that fundamentally changed the nature of the place, all hell broke loose, with over 1000 signatures on a petition opposing the plans.

Now the Council and their new leisure service providers seem to have listened, and have come forward with improvements which do seem to preserve the most essential elements of the baths. I attended a meeting to see the new proposals and I’m pretty hopeful…

Putting a roof over our heads - come to our meeting on local housing issues

Housing issues dominate my caseload, as they do for our local councillors - from overcrowding to homelessness, high rents to poor conditions. Join me, local councillors and housing experts for a discussion about the housing crisis and what needs to be done:



Paddington and Maida Vale Waterways Association AGM - residents despair of poor broadband connections


Paddington and Maida Vale Waterways Association are like the St John’s Wood Society, South East Bayswater Residents Association and the Lisson Green Tenants and Residents Association - one of our energetic local societies, campaigning to improve the quality of life locally. It was great to get to their AGM again last month, and talk about issues such as community safety, short-lets and air-quality. The meeting did, however, agree to ask me to send yet another complaint in to BT about the poor quality of broadband in parts of Westminster.  Mark Field MP and I have both been raising this issue for some years and will continue to do so until we get the broadband we need and deserve.

Concern over London business rate rises

Before the Budget, I signed this letter to the Chancellor warning of the impact of sharp rises in London’s business rates, and have been very concerned about reports of the impact they will have, and the very steep rent rises, especially on our small businesses.


See also Sadiq Khan’s article in the Evening Standard.

In his budget last month, Philip Hammond announced nearly half a billion pounds to help businesses facing major hikes in their business rates, with councils distributing £300m worth of discretionary relief to businesses hardest hit by the rises.  We are told no business losing small business rate relief will see their bill increase this year by more than £50 a month. 

Do please let me know how you are getting on with accessing this relief fund and/or coping with the impact of business rate rises.

Biting off more than they can chew? Concerns grow over Westminster’s plans for Church Street

Plans for the regeneration of Church Street won residents’ support in a ballot but are now years behind schedule, leaving tenants, leaseholders and local traders in limbo.

Instead of concentrating on getting back on track, Westminster Council have been considering an even bigger and more ambitious scheme which could involve the demolition and rebuilding of many blocks on the Lisson Green estate.

I am deeply concerned by the delay in the existing scheme, the poor condition of some of the blocks that have been awaiting re-development, and the lack of clear accurate information about the Council’s plans. You can see the questions I have been asking here.

Labour councillors criticise proposed estate office closures


CityWest Homes - the organisation that runs Westminster Council’s 21,000 council and leasehold homes is planning massive cuts to its network of estate offices in local communities across the city.

Under plans set out to councillors this week, it seems that CityWest Homes are looking to close almost all of its free-standing estate offices, leaving only the four area service centres remaining. This is part of a service redesign aimed to cut over £5million in costs and encourage more people to use online and phone services. CityWest have confirmed that they plan to close six estate offices at Church Street, St John’s Wood, Little Venice, Westbourne Park, Paddington Green and Charlwood Street.

Westminster Labour Councillors are opposed to these massive cuts to CityWest’s presence in local communities. While many residents may not use the office all the time, it is important to know it is there when needed, and there remains a significant proportion of residents who either lack regular internet access or whose lack of confidence communicating in English makes phone or internet contact more difficult. CityWest Homes says that it wants to see staff spending more time out and about on our estates, yet basing them all out of centralised area service centres will see staff spending time further from the communities they are supposed to be managing. CityWest Homes have talked about possibly holding drop in sessions or surgeries in areas hit by the cuts to estate offices. However, this will not be enough to deal with the needs of vulnerable residents looking for face-to-face contact with their housing officers when they need it.

Westminster Labour will stand with local residents who want to fight to save their local estate offices that are valued by their local communities. If estate offices are ultimately closed, Westminster Labour are demanding that CityWest Homes and Westminster Council ensure that they are replaced by a permanent base for estate teams to work from in a nearby community building that is both accessible and has a staff member present to assist resident enquiries. Furthermore, CityWest must commit to protecting the future of the residents halls whose operation may be hit by the cuts to estate offices.

Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “These drastic estate office closures are yet another sign of the retreat of council services from our local communities. Many of our estate offices are a valued part of the community and in particular older and more vulnerable residents would really feel their loss. CityWest Homes and Westminster’s Conservative Council need to think again.”

Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Tim Roca said “Shutting offices which had over 13,500 visits in a nine month period last year alone, before having a website fully functioning and ready is only one among a number of concerns we have with the closure and redundancies envisaged by these proposals. It is clear these cuts are being foisted on CityWest Homes by Westminster’s Conservative Council, and there needs to be much more time spent listening to what residents need rather than what the Council wants.”

Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP

Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk

Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.

April 2017 E-Newsletter

April 2017 E-Newsletter Contents What’s been happening in Parliament Leaving the EU Protecting the independence of the BBC Tackling abuses in short/holiday let accommodation My committee work in Parliament: Self-employment...


February 2017 E-Newsletter


Leaving the EU
Child refugees
School funding
The ‘gig’ economy
Housing and the Homelessness Reduction Bill
Crime and policing

Local round up

Short lets
Please help save our youth services
Church Street
Leaseholder advice
St John’s Wood issues
Porchester Spa
Councillor reports
(…there’s always lots more I don’t have room for…do ask if there is something you are interested in)

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Leaving the EU


The last few weeks in Parliament have, of course, been dominated by Europe and the short Bill to trigger Article 50 and start the process of negotiating our departure.

I voted against triggering Article 50. I am very aware of the arguments in favour most specifically, the outcome of the referendum. I am also conscious that even in Westminster, an area which voted heavily for ‘remain’, 1 in 3 of those taking part voted ‘leave’. It is impossible to please everyone. However, I could not ultimately support entering the process with no meaningful way of saying ‘no’ to a final deal that is not in our interests. Here is the statement I sent to the hundreds of constituents who contacted me before the ‘2nd reading’ debate. 

Last night I voted against the trigger for Article 50.  I did not find this an easy decision, since it involved balancing two very fundamental principles-respect for the majority decision of those voting in last year’s referendum, and what I believe to be in the best interests of the country. There is, unfortunately, no way to meet everyone’s expectations - 24,000 people voted ‘Leave’ in Westminster, even though the large majority (54,000) voted remain, and there are others who voted remain but who now believe we need to deliver on the outcome. I am grateful to the many hundreds of people who have written to me in the last week alone, and I have reflected on the range of views expressed. I am also very conscious of the fact that Westminster has the highest number of resident European citizens anywhere in the country, and I have heard about the potential impact on their lives, families and businesses. But ultimately my colleagues and I have to exercise our judgement as to what is in the national interest. As I have previously argued, the ‘Leave’ was certainly a point of departure - what it did not provide was a destination upon which most people could agree.

In the final analysis, I feared that voting for Article 50 now commits us to Brexit in two years’ time with no idea as to the shape of the deal and absolutely no guarantee that we will be able to say no to what is on offer if it is not good for the country.  A good deal may be possible, and it is in all our interests to ensure this is the case, but we could be about to commit this country to a path which will leave us weakened and damaged. We are effectively being asked to sign up to the unknown, on whatever terms the government agrees, or risk not having a deal and defaulting to WTO rules, which could have disastrous consequences for jobs.

During the coming ‘committee’ stage of the Bill, I will consider and support any amendments which secure a proper choice on the final deal, in the hope that improvements can be made. I will also support amendments that aim to ensure that the negotiations secure the protections – environmental and consumer protection, employee rights and so on- which are essential to a decent society. It is vital that future trade deals with Europe or other countries do not lead to a ‘race to the bottom’ on any of these issues. I don’t believe this is what the country voted for, and I don’t believe it is in the interests of my constituents.

During the short ‘Committee stage’ of the Bill a number of amendments were put forward and voted on - all of them were defeated by the Government. They included a commitment to deliver the promised ‘£350m a week for the NHS’, which featured heavily in the ‘Leave’ campaign, the cost of leaving the single market, and parliamentary oversight of the deal the Government secures.

Together with Harriet Harman MP, I backed an amendment to the Article 50 Bill guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in this country. This was in line with our report from our Select Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights. (It is here, in case you missed it.)


Child refugees


I was delighted when Lord Dubs, himself a child refugee from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, won Government backing for a scheme to help up to 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children last year. So far, 350 children have been admitted, but last week the Government chose the day of the Brexit vote to bring out a written statement ending the admissions. We forced the Home Secretary to come to Parliament to answer questions and, as there are now once again children with families in the UK who are on their own in Europe and in a desperate situation. This is what I asked: 

Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North

French centres are closing, and there are children in Dunkirk—in today’s freezing weather—who have families in this country and were hoping to be considered. Will their needs be assessed if the Dubs scheme is not closed? If not, what does the Home Secretary expect will happen to them?

Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The French have transferred the young people—indeed, all the people—from the Calais camp to centres, where they were given beds and food, so that their applications for asylum could be considered. The hon. Lady is right that some camps are now beginning to form in northern France. I am in constant touch with my French counterparts, and we are helping them with money, support and advice to ensure that another camp like that does not emerge. The French are committed, and they have a responsibility to allow the people there to apply for asylum in France, which is where that should happen. We will continue to monitor where we can help and act on the Dublin arrangements.

There is now a petition calling for the Government to fulfil the promise made to Lord Dubs, should you want to sign:


Raising cuts in schools funding in Parliament


London schools face a double whammy. First, a new funding formula is being brought in which has the effect of moving more money away from London and the cities to English counties. Then, the general squeeze on public spending will take £3 billion out of the schools budget in the next couple of years, while costs rise. The effect of the funding formula varies between Westminster schools, with some gaining and some losing, but all will be hit by the cash squeeze on top.  This is estimated  to amount to just over £10 million locally, or the equivalent of £562 per pupil.

Some of the schools facing the worst pressures (combining the impact of the formula changes with the cash freeze and rising costs) include:

Hallfield -£162,000 (6%)
St Luke’s  - £153,000 (13%)
Essendine  - £149,000 (7%)
St James+St John - £134,000 (13%)
Barrow Hill - £112,000 (10%)
St Stephen’s - £91,000 (9%)
Wilberforce - £87,000 (5%)
St Mary of the Angels - £79,000 (6%)
St Saviours - £76,000 (8%)
Robinsfield  - £74,000 (8%)
Christchurch Bentinck - £73,000 (6%)
Queen’s Park - £59,000 (4%)
St Augustine’s - £59,000 (5%)
St Edwards - £51,000 (3%)
Our Lady of Dolours - £41,000 (35)
George Eliot - £225,000 (11%)
Mary Magdalene’s - £9,000 (1%)
Westminster Academy - £1,000,018 (14%)
Paddington Academy - £873,000 (13%)
St George’s - £770,000 (14%)
Quintin Kynaston - £665,000 (9%)
St Augustine’s - £449,000 (9%)
Ark King Solomon - £443,000 (9%)

Other schools just outside the constituency are also hit, with Hampden Gurney and St Mary’s Bryanston Square losing 10% each, and schools in Kensington and Chelsea face even steeper cuts.

I am deeply concerned about this, as Westminster schools have been transformed over the last 15 years, with London schools as a whole moving from being the worst performing to the highest performing. I introduced a debate in Parliament on this issue in early February. You can read this and the Minister’s response here.

Self-employment and the ‘gig economy’


My Select Committee (Work & Pensions) is carrying out an inquiry into self-employment and the new ‘gig economy’- the good side and the bad. I would be really interested in hearing views from constituents - in confidence. Self-employment can be a great experience with lots of flexibility, but some companies seem to use it as a means of avoiding their duties to their employees, as we have seen in some recent court cases. How should we best support self-employed workers and protect them from abuses? What is the role of the tax and social security system? How can we make sure that people are helped to protect their long-term interests, such as by saving for a pension? If you have thoughts or experiences on this topic, I would love to hear from you. You can find out more about our Committee Inquiry here.

Housing and the Homelessness Reduction Bill

Lots of people have been writing to me about the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which I supported and served on the Committee for. Homelessness has risen by a third since 2010, and rough sleeping has doubled, yet so many people are turned away by Councils and get no help at all. You can read my speech from the final Commons stages of the Bill here.

As we are all to aware, housing support is still being cut, and the number of ‘social rented’ homes is expected to fall by 120,000 over the next few years as more and more properties are sold off. I asked the Minister about this:

Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North

Constituencies such as mine will be stripped of desperately needed social housing by the proposals in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 for the forced sale of high-value properties. In the spirit of what the right hon. Gentleman is saying today and the White Paper, can he confirm that he will no longer proceed with that policy?

Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

I cannot confirm that, because we are committed to allowing people who live in housing association homes the right to buy. We have started a process of pilots, as I think the hon. Lady will be aware; some 3,000 homes, I think, are involved in that. Once that is complete, we will decide how exactly to take the policy forward.

We should be building more secure affordable homes and ending the policy of selling yet more off!

Back in Westminster, the situation is so bad that the Council is introducing a new policy which could mean local people seeking help as homeless could be sent to private accommodation as far away as Coventry (more details here).

and is if that isn’t bad enough, here are the latest figures for the number of over-crowded households in the borough:


Currently occupying

Additional Bedroom Required




3+ bed


























My office, councillors, local advice agencies and lawyers where necessary will fight to help people as best we can, and to challenge bad decisions by the Council, so the important thing is to get help as early as possible, but the situation is very grim.

Crime and policing

I met Westminster’s Borough Commander last week to discuss issues such as the future of Paddington Green police station, proposed changes to the borough command structure, gangs and serious youth violence, Safer Neighbourhood policing and making sure we have an accurate picture of hate crime.

The good news is that the Mayor is putting more police on to the front line, strengthening Safer Neighbourhood Teams after years of them being run down, and ‘back room’ operation costs are being cut to free up resources.

However, there is less and less money available for policing. Since 2010, the Met budget has been squeezed by £600m - but there is still another £400m of cuts to come. There has been a long term decline in crime over the last twenty years, which is very welcome, but some trends (gun crime and hate crime) are less positive, and the terror threat remains real. You can see the most recent figures here

The Mayor is now consulting on his first Crime and Policing Plan for London, with consultation closing on March 2nd. There is still time for you to have your say:


As well as ensuring there are clear standards of service the public can expect from the police and the criminal justice service, the Mayor has identified three new London-wide commitments:

  • keeping children and young people safe
  • tackling violence against women and girls
  • and standing together against extremism, hatred and intolerance

The draft Policing and Crime strategy includes measures to tackle these issues, as well as plans to crack down on knife crime and improve victims services.


Tell us what you think

We want to encourage views from communities and individuals across London. You can let us know what you think of our draft Police and Crime Plan in a few ways:

Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime
City Hall
The Queens Walk
London SE1 2AA

This consultation ends on 2 March.

Local Round-Up

Short Lets


The expansion of the short let industry continues to generate controversy, with evidence that too many lettings are in breach of the law and are reducing the availability of homes for longer-term rent. I contributed to the BBC London ‘Inside Out’ programme investigating this issue - here’s their news summary of their findings. 

Future of the Stowe Club (and you can help the Avenues Club too)


I have written before about how Westminster Council have pulled all funding from local youth services - a measure I think is deeply damaging for young people and with potentially serious consequences.

Now the Stowe Youth Club on Harrow Road is being forced to close almost all its services for local young people and lay off its hugely dedicated and experienced staff. The Stowe Centre is a vital facility in Westbourne Ward and is historically a place where young people from the Warwick, Brindley, Amberley Estates and beyond have come to get a break from tough home lives, and to take part in activities or just simply have some space. It was once the home to one of London’s most famous youth football training grounds, known for producing stars such as 1980’s Liverpool legend John Barnes. It was also the home of The Cut magazine, written and produced by local young people and created the hit YouTube series Chicken Shop Date as well as a host of other exciting projects. So as from 1st April the Stowe Centre will only be able to provide a replacement one night a week session for 11-19 year olds. This will be nothing near to what used to be provided and is a massive blow to the community and life choices of the young people in the area.

A new petition has been started calling on Westminster City Council to restore funding to the Stowe Club so that valuable services to young people can continue. You can sign here.

Meanwhile, the Avenues Youth club, serving Queen’s Park, is also surviving on a shoestring without Council help. They are holding a fund-raising dinner on March 23rd, so if you feel like contributing to a vital service, please help!

Here are the details.

Church Street

Ward Councillors and I held a ‘drop in’ in Church Street in January, and in addition to the usual range of problems, I was disturbed to hear so many residents asking questions about what has happened to the ‘Church Street regeneration’, which was balloted on back in 2013! In fact, the whole programme has been plagued by delays and changes, and it now seems that Westminster are looking at a whole new scheme for the area (and maybe even beyond the original boundaries) but are staying very vague about the details. I sent a long list of questions to the Council and was only told this:

As regards your other specific questions no decisions have been or will be taken on the regeneration before extensive further consultation with resident groups. We are trying to make sure we discuss ideas with residents at the appropriate time in the process so that ideas are tested with people but that we can also answer their detailed questions - this is always difficult to manage. The focus of the master plan will absolutely be how to deliver and manage the development works to mitigate the impacts of the inevitable disruption during the works.  The master planning team have a consultation specialist in the team to organise the next round of consultation and engagement. There will also be some targeted discussions with groups of residents and stakeholders to discuss proposals for specific areas of the ward. All of the questions you’ve laid out in detail will be answered as part of the draft master plan. I would like to take a moment to address the concerns about blocks being reconsidered – as part of our due diligence in producing a comprehensive master plan, the team are considering all potential development sites and how they relate to each other to ensure that we can adequately answer questions on the implications of the options taken forward – for example, quantifying the number of units a site could hold and considering this in the context of resident views, the number of leaseholders and deliverability.

Of course it is important not to let rumours run ahead of actual plans. However, too many residents have put up with a combination of uncertainty and neglect for the last four years and they deserve to know what is happening to their homes and communities. It is not as if Westminster haven’t spent a fortune on consultation already!

Support for leaseholders


Last week saw the fifth of my (now regular) free advice sessions for private and council leaseholders, led by lawyers from the LEASE team (the Government’s Leasehold Advise service).  With Major Works issues affecting lessees across Westminster, issues around lease extensions now coming up, and many private blocks having issues with managing agents, access to information and queries about charges, these sessions are always full! Please let me know if you want to be on the list to be informed about the next one. Meanwhile, the LEASE website is a good resource to start off with.

My update on St John’s Wood issues

Last month Transport for London issued their response to the consultation on the proposed north-south cycle superhighway - a matter which is of huge interest to St John’s Wood residents, and on which I have had a series of meetings over the last year. (The full document can be found online

In summary, TFL say that ‘ Having considered all responses to consultation, they intend to proceed to the next stage, namely full engineering design (‘detailed design’), of the majority of the proposals outlined in the CS11 consultation. However, they will be doing further work on the proposals for Regent’s Park before deciding on a way forward for this section of the route. A number of changes have been made in response to the original consultation, such as at the Swiss Cottage and Avenue Road junctions. An assurance has been given that the park gate closures originally proposed will not happen until after other changes have been made (such as at Swiss Cottage) so there can be a proper assessment of other ways to moderate traffic impact inside the park. At meetings I have attended, the gate closures were the main bone of contention and there was a strong wish that other ways of claiming traffic in the park be considered, so I had hoped this was a positive statement. However, I am aware that fears remain as to the possibility of congestion and rat-running north of the park if the Swiss Cottage proposals go ahead, and it is essential that an open dialogue continues to ensure these concerns are heard and responded to.

Not entirely unrelated is the rising concern about poor air quality in London - an issue I have been raising for many years, with particular reference to the dangers posed to children in Westminster schools. It is absolutely right that tackling this public health hazard and also deeply worrying that pollution levels in London earlier this month were above those of notoriously smog-ridden Beijing. Inner London boroughs like Westminster and Camden are particularly hard hit, with air pollution increasingly understood to be a factor in a number of serious health problems - and not only breathing conditions.

One local measure that is very welcome is adding Edgware Road (Kilburn to Maida Vale) to the growing list of Low emission bus zones, announced earlier this month. This means deploying the greenest buses on the capital’s most polluted routes to cut harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The zones are expected to reduce NOx emissions from buses along the routes by around 84 per cent. They form part of a package of measures to tackle London’s air, with major plans set to be implemented in 2017 to tackle the dirtiest vehicles.

It was wonderful to see so many St John’s Wood’s residents turn up to a public meeting organised to discuss the future of the local Post Office, following the announcement that Post Office Ltd intend to franchise the service ( which means it being run by a private provider or within another retail outlet). Westminster Council own the building and let the premises to the Post Office, which should potentially make it easier to reach a compromise solution, but it doesn’t seem to! As of the time of writing, however, Post Office Ltd have not announced a formal consultation on their plans, which seems to mean they haven’t identified either a provider or, potentially, the actual site (whether existing or elsewhere). I am in regular contact with them on this issue and will be letting people know as soon as I hear any more.

Planning issues continue to be a major concern in the area, as always. I responded to the recent Government consultation on basements, in support of tighter controls which have the backing of government and can when needed, resist challenges from the very deep-pocketed. Meanwhile I continue my campaigning against breaches of the rules in respect of short-lets, The recent announcement by Airbnb that they will restrict landlords who try and advertise properties outside the 90-day permitted maximum is very welcome, there are loopholes and I am particularly anxious that those looking to exploit them don’t simply switch between various online letting platforms. No one objects at all to owners making some extra money from a letting or exchange but too many short lets can cause real nuisance in an area, costs public money in enforcement and removes much needed homes from the residential stock.

The impact of the fall in government grant to Westminster Council continue to be felt across a number of services, from the libraries to the (now totally withdrawn) youth and play/after-school services. Perhaps most dramatic, in light of the pressures on the NHS which have dominated the news recently, is the impact of cuts in social care out-of-hospital support for the elderly and disabled people. St Mary’s Hospital is not alone in trying to respond to the equivalent of a ward of patients at any one time who could be cared for at home were support available. Westminster Council has cut social care budgets more than almost anywhere else in the country by £35 million (or almost a third of the total budget). This makes no sense at all, and is causing problems to back up into longer waiting lists, cancelled operations and in some areas, reduced access to treatment. We need to have a thorough debate about how we raise the resources to care for our ageing population - for whilst rising life expectancy is a wonderful thing, older people deserve to know there will be good care and adequate pensions.

Winds of change at Porchester Spa…but how welcome are they?


As a long-time devotee of the Porchester Spa, I am twitching nervously over the planned changes Westminster Council and Everyone Active are proposing. Some refurbishment is clearly necessary, but the worry is that what has been a rather traditional Turkish Bath will lose its unique character.

You can see for yourself (and make comments here.)

There’s also a petition here (it’s quite long, and these are just the first few lines below!)

We, the regular male and female users of the Porchester Spa, are not just a customer base, we are a London-wide, multi-generational, ethnically diverse community and as such we believe Westminster Council has a duty of care towards us and the traditions we represent. The Porchester Spa is the oldest spa in London and several members of our community have been going there for decades. In short, it has been a major feature of their lives.

The architectural plans for major refurbishment of the Porchester Spa include welcome and much-needed renovation but also misconceived changes of use that will be to the detriment of our community.

Looking after our neighbourhoods

Your local ward councillors and I are in a constant battle to improve the quality of life locally, taking up issues from fly-tipping to traffic calming. I’m trying to get the Council to take action against the owners of the Chippenham pub to keep it in good order - it’s a disgrace at the moment, and potentially dangerous (I witnessed a narrow miss when a pane of glass blew out of one of the upper windows). We are pressing for a resolution to the long-standing traffic problems around Chippenham Mews off Harrow Road, dumping where bins were removed on Queen’s Gardens in Bayswater, and lots more. Please do let us know if you would like something raised and we will do out best to help.

Here are some links to the more recent Councillor reports:

Maida Vale Ward



From Councillor Rita Begum and the Labour Action Team


Westbourne Ward




From your three Westbourne Labour Councillors David Boothroyd, Adam Hug and Papya Qureshi


Harrow Road Ward



From your Harrow Road Councillors Ruth Bush, Guthrie McKie and Tim Roca


Queen’s Park Ward



From your three Queen’s Park Ward Labour Councillors Paul Dimoldenberg, Patricia McAllister and Barrie Taylor

Thank you for reading and your comments are always welcome.


Karen Buck MP

Website: www.karenbuck.org.uk

Promoted by Robert Atkinson on behalf of Karen Buck MP at 4G Shirland Mews, Maida Hill, London, W9 3DY. The information used to supply this email is for the use of Karen Buck and will not be passed on to any third party organisation.

February 2017 E-Newsletter

February 2017 E-Newsletter Contents Leaving the EU Child refugees School funding The ‘gig’ economy Housing and the Homelessness Reduction BillCrime and policing Local round up Short letsPlease help save our...

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