My report from City Hall – September 18


This report covers a longer period than usual, due to including the summer period, when the Assembly has few meetings. it is also a little late, due to difficulties with my mailing list due to the new GDPR rules, for which I apologise.

In addition to the events mentioned below, I attended the unveiling of Barnet’s second pavement plaque to a WW1 Victoria Cross winner, Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby, VC in New Barnet.

I also spoke at Alyth Synagogue’s Rosh Hashanah event at the Sternberg centre; and at a Lobby for Cyprus meeting.

This month’s London quiz:  

Q: Which Underground line had a branch that was closed during World War II, to store treasures from the British Museum?

Contents: (please scroll down to the sections which interest you)

1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

2 Economy Committee

3 Transport and HS2

4 Policing

5 Planning, Housing, Regeneration

6 Environment

7 Fire Authority

8 Education

9 Health

10 Mayor’s report

11 Written questions to the Mayor

12 Problem solving and casework

13 Quiz answers

1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

As the deadlines for a Brexit agreement with the EU comes ever closer, the implications of ‘no deal’ become ever more worrying.

There are serious implications for policing and security: I questioned the  police commissioner and deputy commissioner and the deputy mayor over Brexit ‘no deal’ and policing.

With so much of our food imported from the EU or under EU trade agreements with other countries, I questioned the Mayor on food security post Brexit.

The LSE have also produced a series of reports on the implications of Brexit for different parts of the country: in London they selected Barnet for study.

The Government are also issuing sectoral advice on the impact of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.

I commented on Theresa May’s speech and the Salzburg Summit.

At the Assembly plenary, I spoke on the need for a ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit, calling on the Mayor to back the campaign.

I was pleased to see that the Mayor has now come out in favour of the ‘People’s Vote’ too.

2  Economy Committee

I have expressed support for workers in fast food companies over their campaign for a London Living Wage.

I also challenged Barnet Council on their failure to be accredited as a London Living Wage employer.

Barnet Council’s privatisation of services to Capita has come under the spotlight for fraud and incompetence.

I attended the Chinatown protests against heavy-handed immigration raids and successfully moved a motion on this at the Assembly.

On a happier note, I spoke at the Chinatown Moon Festival celebration.

I objected to the Post Office over their Camden Town closure scheme.

The Mayor has recently launched the second round of his Skills for Londoners Capital Fund.

The Economy Committee report ‘What works for microbusinesses’, we have just published surveyed over 150 microbusinesses about their main concerns. There are 1 million microbusinesses across London, which make up 96 per cent of companies in London. They generated £277.3 billion of turnover last year and created at least 282,000 jobs in the last five years.The survey found that:

  • microbusinesses the Committee surveyed spend on average 53 per cent of their turnover on rents, salaries and other overhead costs.
  • The top three immediate concerns of microbusinesses are attracting new customers or expanding into new markets, the cost of doing business in London and dealing with income volatility
  • Microbusinesses say they are finding it hard to access business support in London. Almost two thirds of the firms that responded to the survey had not heard of the London Growth Hub, the Mayor’s flagship business support website.
  • New businesses want face to face contact and tailored support, whilst established businesses are keen to receive online support or access workshop events.

Finally, the Mayor’s answers to my questions about the economy.

3 Transport and HS2

Noise from the tube remains a major issue affecting residents living near the lines and I am pursuing this with TfL and the Mayor.

I have also written on the inadequacies of HS2’s draft prolonged disturbance compensation scheme.

I am sure you will have seen the news about delays to the opening of Crossrail.

TfL are proposing a lot of changes to the bus network. I met with them to discuss some of their immediate proposed changes.

I have called for a rethink to their Finchley Central Bus plans and made a preliminary response to the bus service consultation.

TfL say that “parts of the central London bus network no longer meet the needs or expectations of our customers. Some routes can be inefficient, unreliable, or overly complex, particularly where we’re not matching the number of bus services to the level of customer demand. For example Kingsway and Park Lane, are now served by more than 100 buses an hour, many of which are significantly underused. This oversupply of buses not only impacts on bus reliability and journey times, but also plays a role in adding to London’s problems of congestion and poor air quality.”

They are proposing changes to thirty-four routes across central London and the withdrawal of three routes and the creation of one new route within central London.

The public consultation is now open and will close on 9 November. To give your views on these proposals, please visit here.

TfL Overground are also proposing changes to staffing at their stations, which would affect = Camden Road, Finchley Road & Frognal, Gospel Oak, Hampstead Heath, Kentish Town West, South Hampstead, and West Hampstead, I have commented myself. London TravelWatch is also seeking views on the ticket office proposals.

I organised a site visit with TfL at Falloden Way (the A1), to look at possible road safety measures, given the recent fatal accident and the number of previous accidents too.

The rail industry compensation scheme Phase 2 is now open. Eligible season ticket holders can now make an online claim for delays and cancellations including Thameslink and Great Northern passengers. Full details including Frequently Asked Questions are available at

I was concerned to see that TfL poster sites have been the subject of illegal flyposting.

Finally, Mayor’s answers to my Transport questions.

4 Policing

The Police and Crime Committee has published its report on healthcare in custody.

Would you like to be a Police Officer? The Met is currently recruiting Police Officers. All relevant information can be found at

Violent crime, including knife crime remains a matter of great concern. The Mayor has announced his Violence Reduction Unit, based on the ‘public health’ approach.

The Mayor has also announced a strengthening of the Violent Crime Taskforce, which has had a high degree of success. the original 150 officers are being increased by another 122. So far, they have made 895 arrests, carried out 1,400 weapons sweeps, seized 212 knives, and removed nearly 200 other offensive weapons.

I have continued my campaign over London Football Clubs continuing to short-change the police on the costs of policing their games.

Contrary to what some people would have you believe, crime started to rise in 2013.

I was pleased to see that Barnet at long last has banned street drinking In Burnt Oak.

I attended the Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board public meeting; and the launch of Camden’s Youth Task Force report on keeping young people safe.

I also attended the unveiling of the memorial to the victims of the 7/7 terror attack in Tavistock Square.

At the 5 September Police and Crime Committee meeting I raised counter terrorism policy, Notting Hill Carnival, Brexit, (see above) and the IOPC investigation into the Met.’s professional standards unit. you can read the transcript on the Greater London Authority’s website here.

The 20 September Police and Crime Committee meeting was used principally to hold a discussion on tackling the rise of Violent Crime in London. Transcript  here.

The meeting on 4th October was a q and a session with the Met. I asked about the inquest into the Westminster terrorist attack; the delays in the new emergency services radio network which is long overdue, delays in answering the 101 number, and the use of Met police financial reserves.

I wrote a letter for publication on police funding.

Finally, the Mayor’s answers to my policing questions.

5 Planning, Housing and Regeneration

I have raised the impact of the delays in the Brent Cross scheme with the Leader of Barnet Council and received his response.

I have also submitted objections to the Midland Hotel West Hendon demolition scheme.

6 Environment

The Mayor is inviting Londoners, schools and local community groups to apply for 49,000 free trees as part of a mass planting of 75,000 trees over one weekend later this year. The event is being organised by the Mayor of London as part of his plan to help make the capital become a National Park City. The trees being given away include field maple, birch, hazel and hawthorn saplings, all attractive garden species that are great for wildlife and easy to plant and will be planted over the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December to help mark National Tree Week. If you want a tree pack (of two trees to plant at home) you have until the 5 November to apply, whilst community groups and schools with the space to plant at least 50 trees have until 22 November.

I have also taken up Barnet Council mismanagement in ending of food waste recycling collection.

7 Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning

Grenfell has continued to be a key focus, as you would expect. The 19 July Assembly’s Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee meeting

was used principally to discuss fire safety post-Grenfell. This threw up the real issue of privately owned blocks with dangerous cladding.

I found out that there is a private block with Grenfell type cladding in Edgware. An issue I also raised with the mayor, over the importance of dealing with privately owned blocks more generally:

I hosted a reception for the Fire Brigades Union in the London Living Room, to mark the FBU’s 100th anniversary.

I attended and spoke at the unveiling of the memorial plaque to Fireman Neill, who was killed on duty when a wall collapsed in a warehouse fire in St Pancras Way 40 years ago. Coincidentally, his was the first case of many I dealt with for the FBU, when I was in practice as a solicitor.

I attended West Hampstead Fire Station open day, which was also an opportunity to catch up with the plan to bring the cottages at the rear of the station back into use.

8 Education

At the Plenary, I moved a motion about children’s nutrition in holiday periods, when school meals are not available.

I welcomed the grant from the Mayor of £75,000 to the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn to deliver a programme called “Minding the Gap”, which gives a voice to young people newly arrived in the UK.

I also welcomed the announcement of £75,000 from the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund for the Arts Depot Trust in Barnet and the Mayor’s award to Whitefield School of £50,000 to help the most vulnerable local pupils with the transition to secondary school.

9 Health

The Mayor has published his final strategy to help tackle health inequalities, designed to make the capital a healthier and fairer city, reducing the health inequalities felt across London by ensuring all Londoners can access evidence-based support, and helping those most in need. But the Mayor has warned that the success of many health programmes relies on social care and public health services having the capacity and resources to deliver them. These include programmes like the healthy workplace charter, the widely-adopted healthy schools programme and new healthy early years programme, which promote health in education and work. These programmes are central to efforts to tackle issues like poor mental health and child obesity.

10 Mayor’s report

Each month the Mayor produces a report on his activities: you can access his 24th report here.

The London Assembly’s  Annual Report 2017/18 – ‘How the London Assembly works for you can be read here.

11 Written questions to the Mayor

More Additional July answers and additional late July answers.

MQT Answers for September and additional answers.

12 Problem solving and casework

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

13 Quiz answer

Q: Which Underground line had a branch that was closed during World War II, to store treasures from the British Museum?

A: The Holborn-Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line

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 104 E Barnet Rd, London, Barnet EN4 8RE