My report from City Hall, November 2016

No.37:   7th October 2016 to 7th November 2016


May I firstly wish all my Hindu readers a Happy Diwali? I attended various Diwali events, including Diwali on the Square, Age UK Barnet, and of course at Neasden and   Kingsbury temples.


This month also saw the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, when Eastenders combined to resist successfully the attempt by the fascists to march through their area. I attended the commemoration and signed the London Jewish Forum pledge with my colleagues Navin Shah and Tom Copley.


October is also the London Film Festival fortnight. As well as several unusual films I attended as an avid BFI member, I was also invited to the Mayor’s Gala film, ‘Their Finest’. It’s got mixed reviews, but I recommend it for a wonderful performance by Bill Nighy, when it comes out on General Release.

Also on the film front, for Black History Month with the Mayor I hosted at City Hall a screening of a new ‘crowd funded’ film, ‘Every Cook can Govern’ about the life, work and legacy of the famous West Indian political and cricket writer, CLR James.

Having had the embarrassment of seeing my photo prominent on the posters of the Assembly pasted up in most tube stations to advertise Sadiq Khan’s first People’s Question Time, I attended the event, this time in Brent.

This month’s London quiz question: (answer at the end):

Q:. Which London University has been attended by Mick Jagger, David Attenborough and President John F. Kennedy?

Contents and just some of the highlights:

Please click the links to the issues that interest you:

1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

2 Economy Committee

Transport and HS2


Planning, Housing, Regeneration

6 Environment

Fire Authority

Mayor’s report

Written questions to the Mayor

10 Problem solving and casework

11 Quiz answer 

1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

I have put a couple of new briefings on my website, on the impact of Brexit on SMEs, and on financial services.

These follow the discussion we had at the Economy Committee on aspects of Brexit.

During the Assembly Plenary with London and Partners (the organisation charged with attracting inward investment to London) and the Deputy Mayor for Business, I questioned them about some of the Brexit implications for jobs in the capital.

I attended the new Mayor and Assembly’s first People’s Question Time, held in Barnet, when I commented on Brexit, particularly to welcome the decision of the High Court to require the Government to obtain Parliamentary approval to trigger the formal Brexit process under Article 50.

I tabled quite a comprehensive series of Brexit oriented Written Questions to the Mayor.

You may be interested in these handy infographics setting out  the process and each EU member countries’ domestic interests that will inform their position on Brexit, (courtesy of  the Cicero Group).

In my last City Hall report, I wrote of my appointment to the Congress of Europe, to represent London regional government. To clarify, the C of E is not part of the EU, but is a body of the Council of Europe, which comprises all the 47 European countries. Its main mission can be summarised as the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which is particularly  of relevance to some of the countries in the east and Balkans- though there are lessons for more developed democracies such as the UK too. There is no suggestion that the UK should withdraw from the Council of Europe.


I have just attended my first Congress, and have been appointed to the Regional Government chamber and the Monitoring Committee. I made three speeches.

Andrew Dismore AM at the Congress of Europe

Andrew Dismore AM at the Congress of Europe

The first was on the issue of the UK’s non-compliance with the European Social Charter, when I gave examples of how in London we are trying to address some of these central Government shortcomings, regionally. Please see video here, from 1:39.


Commenting on the Congress’ priorities to 2020, I also spoke on the need to see human rights as not an issue for lawyers, but as necessary to inform the delivery of public services at all levels, for example treating the elderly or those with physical or learning disabilities with dignity and respect; seeing people who have been trafficked as victims, not criminals; and to ensure that minorities are fully included and not discriminated against, either directly or indirectly.


In the debate on good governance in metropolitan areas, I also spoke of our efforts to secure further devolution to London, in light of the Brexit vote.


See also Congress Of Europe Report October 2016.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please complete my post Brexit EU survey of opinions online by clicking here.

2 Economy Committee

The central government Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has updated the rateable value of all business properties. The rateable value is used to calculate business rates, which are then collected by councils. London as a whole will see very high increases, but especially so for businesses in central London.

If you are a business owner you   should go online to check their draft rateable value by 30 November to check that the information the VOA use to calculate the rateable value of your property is correct, otherwise you may be paying more than you need to. It is much easier and faster to check the draft rateable value now, rather than appealing your business rates bill in 2017. Checking the draft rateable value now could mean errors will be addressed before 1 April 2017, whereas a business rates appeal process can take a number of months. Please visit this website.

The London Living Wage is to rise to £9.75 an hour from next year, an increase of 35p – well above the national living wage rate brought in by the Government this year. More than 1,000 businesses in the capital will now pay the new rate after 300 new firms signed up. The living wage is different from the new compulsory so called National Living Wage of £7.20 for adults. Sadiq Khan  has asked his deputy mayors to make sure all staff working across the City Hall ‘family’ are paid the LLW after discovering that a handful of Transport for London subcontractors were not.


During this month’s Assembly Plenary, I spoke on the successful motion on the rights of hospitality industry workers.


I attended The Real Junk Food Project event in Burnt Oak, as they are aiming to establish a project based on the success of their operations elsewhere in the country. The idea is to intercept food that would otherwise go to waste from supermarkets, restaurants and a number of other sources, and turn it into healthy, nutritious meals for anyone and everyone on a pay-as-you-feel donation basis.


The Mayor has announced Amy Lame will be his new Night Czar. You can see more about her here.

3 Transport and HS2

I organised a visit with Tulip Siddiq MP for Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport and TfL officers to come to West Hampstead to look at solutions for the step free issue at the Jubilee Line tube station.

Cllr james Yarde, Val Shawcross, Andrew Dismore AM and Tulip Siddiq MP

Cllr james Yarde, Val Shawcross, Andrew Dismore AM and Tulip Siddiq MP

I met with City Hall planning officers to discuss HS2 matters that come within the GLA framework.


I again asked a number of Mayor’s questions about CS11.

I presented a petition to the Assembly against the proposed cut to the 13 Bus route.


Andrew Dismore AM with 13 bus petitioners, including Cllr Richard Olszewski

Andrew Dismore AM with 13 bus petitioners, including Cllr Richard Olszewski

I continue the campaign for a safe pedestrian and cycle crossing at Stirling Corner. TfL have confirmed to me that the designs for the scheme include a controlled pedestrian and cycle crossing on the southern side of the junction with the A1 and Barnet Lane, where pedestrians currently regularly cross with no such provision. They say these proposed measures will be taken to a public consultation in the financial year 2017/18, subject to confirmation of funding for the scheme and final approvals.

The launch date for the Northern Line night tube services is 18th November; the Piccadilly Line night tube will be 16 December. I remain concerned about the potential impact on residents living close to the Tube.

I went on two of the free ‘Walk London’ guided walks sponsored by TfL, which are excellent and I think need to be publicised more widely. A further two weekends of guided walks are planned for 2017. ‘Winter Wanders’ will take place on 28-29 January ‘Spring into Summer’ will take place on 20-21 May. Further details and how to book will be on the TfL website nearer the dates.


I continue to chase the Brent Cross oyster card top up machine delay.


Finally, a full list of my Mayor’s questions on transport.

4  Policing

The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee’s meeting held on 6 October 2016 which was used for a question and answer session on preventing extremism are now available here.


It was clear from our session, that there are a lot of shortcomings in this programme.


Locally, I understand that the merger of Camden with Islington borough police has now gone ahead, with the new combined borough commander being Chief Superintendent Catherine Roper, who was the commander in Islington.


Mayor Khan has invited Londoners to take part in the consultation about the 2017 Police and Crime Plan which will shape the Met’s future funding and strategic direction. The public consultation closes on 16 November 2016.

The Mayor’s priorities for the next plan include the following manifesto commitments:

  • real neighbourhood policing
  • keeping young people safe
  • tackling violence against women and girls
  • hate crime and counter terrorism

The Mayor wants to hear from Londoners who had been victims of crime and those who had interacted with police, as well as finding out how safe they felt in the capital.


Lord Toby Harris’s wide-ranging review of the capital’s resilience has been published. The review was commissioned in May by the Mayor to ensure London’s emergency services had the training, equipment and funding necessary to keep London safe and respond to any incidents. In his  report he commends the services for their improved major incident readiness and says responses are now “substantially faster and more effective” than was the case five years ago. He also praises the work done by the intelligence agencies and the counter-terrorist police who he credits as being “amongst the best in the world.”


The review’s 127 recommendations aim to build on the existing resilience capability. and include trialling public alert technology, allowing authorities to alert Londoners of a major terrorist attack by sending messages to mobile devices, the permanent inclusion of the Mayor in all COBRA meetings that affect London and the installation of CCTV on all underground and mainline trains and ensuing live and recorded footage is more easily accessible to emergency services.

We questioned Lord Harris at a special meeting of the Police Committee, where I focused on his proposal that British Transport and the City of London Police forces should be merged into the Met.

In her first major interview London’s deputy mayor for policing Sophie Linden said that victims of crime would not be left to “suffer in silence” as she announced plans for an online “live chat” to provide extra support. For the full Evening Standard interview, please click here.

Ms Linden also:

  • Warned Londoners not to expect the Met to “enforce our way out of” the rise in hate crime since the Brexit vote and criticised the Government for putting communities under pressure.
  • Called for a limit on the number of armed police on London’s streets, the day before an independent review into the capital’s preparedness in the event of a terror attack.
  • Urged politicians not to be afraid to “call it like it is” on radicalisation by urging Muslim communities to do more to tackle the scourge.
  • Demanded more Manchester-style powers over criminal justice, possibly including youth offending, supporting victims and probation.

The issue of hate crime remains a serious challenge and I backed Hate Crime Awareness Week.

I have also been supporting an individual in his claim against the Met. for homophobic discrimination. He has now secured an impressive victory in this 9 year legal battle against the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCC) with a full apology, commitment to further action, and compensation.

Assistant Commissioner Helen King has announced her retirement from the Metropolitan Police Service to be the first police officer elected to an Oxbridge College. AC King will take up the post of Principal of St Anne’s College at Oxford University in April 2017.

Also ‘retired’ is the New Scotland Yard building. After 49 years, the Metropolitan Police has moved from one of London’s most iconic buildings as New Scotland Yard’s doors were locked up for the last time in The Broadway ahead of a relocation to slimmed down offices at the Curtis Green building at Victoria Embankment .

Finally, the latest answers (and non-answers) from my policing questions at October Mayor’s Question Time.


5  Planning, Housing and Regeneration

The Mayor has published a new vision for London: ‘A City for All Londoners’. This document outlines the capital’s challenges and opportunities across priority policy areas, as well as the changes that City Hall wants to deliver over the next four years. The Mayor is inviting Londoners to take part in his consultation on this until 11 December by emailing

I continue to raise the impact of the misuse of Airbnb on residential areas.

I have also continued to pursue issues relating to the Olympic Stadium, and the very poor deal negotiated by the former Mayor with West Ham. It now appears that the deal will cost the taxpayer £51 million more than originally admitted. The new Mayor has set up an inquiry into what went wrong and the lessons to be learned.

The principal item of business at the Assembly Regeneration Committee was a discussion on the Mayor’s Civic Crowdfunding Programme. The transcript is here. I particularly raised the lack of publicity about the scheme and an apparent bias against outer London in its awards.


I met with Hammersons, the owners of Brent Cross to discuss their ambitious plans for an expansion of the shopping centre. Their website has details: They are consulting on these plans  and you can comment  through their consultation questionnaire there.


I also visited Saracens, to see their plans for a replacement west stand at Allianz Park, Copthall. Their public consultation is underway.


I met with the Director of the Hendon RAF museum to see their ambitious plans for the 100th Anniversary of the RAF in 2018. You can see their Centenary Brochure here.

Andrew Dismore AM and Maggie Appleton MBE

Andrew Dismore AM and Maggie Appleton MBE

I also met the developers of the Pentavia site in Mill Hill. I regard their scheme as unacceptable and I am preparing formal objections to it. 

I have submitted objections to Ark Academy scheme to build on the Underhill former Barnet FC ground, as inappropriate for the Green Belt and having severe traffic implications.

6  Environment

The Strawberry Vale estate in East Finchley continues to have problems with a major rat infestation, which I have been taking up with local Councillors.

Cllr Arjun Mittra, Andrew Dismore AM, Cllr Alison Moore and Cllr Alon Or-bach

Cllr Arjun Mittra, Andrew Dismore AM, Cllr Alison Moore and Cllr Alon Or-bach

I continue to campaign over the flood risk in parts of Colindale, after the serious flooding last year. Barnet Council have been in liaison with the Environment Agency (EA) with regard to flood mitigation measures on the Silk Stream catchment area, with meetings held on 20th July and 27th September 2016 and a further meeting is scheduled for 8th November 2016. Full funding has still to be agreed, but the Council are anticipating that the Silk Stream project will be one of 8 projects to be allocated funding from the next tranche from the EA. The project scope has been agreed and the aim will be to make space for water during storm events by designating certain areas within open spaces of Montrose and Silk Stream Parks for flood storage. However, the hydraulic modelling and design of the project is likely to take between 18 and 24 months to complete.


Finally a reminder to  visit for further detailed information about  the Mayor’s proposals to improve air quality; and  to provide your views, please complete the online survey on our website or alternatively email directly at  The consultation ends 18 December 2016.

7 Fire Authority

Last month I reported on the review set up by the Mayor under Anthony Mayer former Chief Executive of the Greater London Authority, into the London Fire Brigade to ensure it has sufficient resources to keep Londoners safe. The review has reported recommending that there should be no further cuts to London Fire Brigade.

I am supporting the LFB campaign over the recall of defectively manufactured white goods, such as tumble dryers, which are responsible for many fires and losses. 108 fires such fires cost Barnet residents over £6 million and 49 such fires cost Camden residents almost £3 million.

I also attended the evaluation conference of Exercise Unified Response, the biggest exercise ever conducted by the fire service last February, on which I reported at the time. There is still considerable work to be done, but it is clear that this EU funded event, involving supporting fire services from other EU countries as well as other UK fire brigades, fully and successfully tested all the emergency and other public services’ response to such a major  incident.

8 Mayor’s report

The Mayor produces a report of his activities and announcements for presentation at each Mayor’s Question Time.

The London Assembly also published its annual report for 2015/16 in October.

9 Written questions to the Mayor

MQT answers to my questions for October are here.

If you have suggestions for questions that you would like me to ask the Mayor, please email me.

10 Problem solving and casework

Arjun Mittra is my City Hall assistant who manages incoming correspondence, casework and my diary:

11 Finally, the quiz question answer:

Q:. Which London University has been attended by Mick Jagger, David Attenborough and President John F. Kennedy?

(and also me!)

A: London School of Economics and Political Science


Best wishes,

Andrew Dismore AM

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

Twitter: @andrew_dismore

Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by Ammar Naqvi on behalf of Barnet & Camden Labour Parties both at 79 The Burroughs, London, NW4 4AX