My report from City Hall November 2018

No. 54:  8th October to 30th November 2018




This report covers a bit longer than usual, as things have been a bit busier at City Hall (especially due to Brexit) and further afield, a pattern set to continue up to Christmas.

May I wish you a Happy Christmas:
2018 xmas card

My thanks to Kassandra, class 1, Woodcroft School, Burnt Oak, for the picture; and to all the other children of Woodcroft School, whose excellent pictures made it very difficult to choose the winner, when I went to the school to judge the entries.

As you would expect, Remembrance Day events were to the fore in my diary. I was one of the organisers of the Parade and Service at the Edgware War Memorial, as the former President of the now dissolved Royal British Legion Edgware Branch. My thanks to all the others involved, especially Rev Sally Baily of St Margaret’s Edgware. I also attended the AJEX service, the Barnet Council civic service of reconciliation, with the borough’s twin towns in Germany and France who sent representatives; and the Camden beacon lighting ceremony, as well as the GLA City Hall service, which marked the new Remembrance Gallery on level 2 of our building. I attended the Neasden Swaminarayan Mandir service to mark the contribution of Indian and Commonwealth service people in WW1. I also took time out to sell poppies for the RBL appeal

At the City Hall plenary debating the anniversary of the end of the Great War, I spoke up for the Chinese Labour Corps, more often than not forgotten, in support of the British Chinese Community campaign for a memorial to them.

I was also invited to speak at the London Chinatown Community Association anniversary dinner.

This period also included Diwali : amongst others, I attended the celebrations organised by Age Concern Barnet and spoke in the Assembly about the teaching of Diwali In London schools.

I attended, as London’s delegate, the Congress of Europe session in Strasbourg, where I spoke about the problems and impact of austerity on public services.

At Southwark Cathedral, I attended the memorial service for Dame Tessa Jowell, a dear friend; and also, the 100th Anniversary thanksgiving service for the Fire Brigades Union.

I attended the ceremony awarding the RAF Museum the Freedom of the Borough of Barnet.

I also attended and spoke at the Mill Hill Preservation Society’s Autumn meeting, the Kilburn Older Voices Exchange, and met the Bravanese Somali community, to discuss the issues they had concerning the Council’s terms to occupy their new replacement building, after the terrible arson fire a few years ago. I attended the LFI annual lunch.

Finally, my congratulations to Labour’s new Parliamentary candidates for Chipping Barnet, Emma Whysall and David Pinto-Duschinsky, for my old seat of Hendon. I look forward to campaigning with them.

This month’s London quiz:  

Q: Which Underground station has entrances on both sides of the River Thames?

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, Resilience and Emergency Planning

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’


Unsurprisingly, Brexit has taken up much of my efforts over this period, as it impacts on virtually every area of my work at City Hall.

At Mayor’s Questions on 22nd November I asked the Mayor about the position of EU Nationals post Brexit.

At the 29th November Assembly Plenary to approve the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, I also raised the impact of the Prime Minster’s Brexit plan on the strategy.

Looking at the Prime Minister’s deal, you may be interested in this high-level summary of key aspects of the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

….and on the other hand, my article on the implications for London of a No-Deal Brexit.

See also: U.K. suffers Brexit trade setback over copy-and-paste WTO terms.

The 22nd November Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee meeting looked at London Resilience, including on Brexit; the London Resilience Partnership also reported on Brexit.

Post Brexit policing and security is also a big issue, which I raised at the Assembly Plenary on 1st. November with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor.

See also my letter for publication on post Brexit security arrangements. I remain concerned at the complete lack of Brexit preparation in Barnet when compared to Camden Council’s work on the issue.

Finally, some written answers to Brexit Mayor’s questions.

2  Economy Committee

Apart from Brexit, other aspects of my Economy Committee work included our session on Universal Credit and self employed people, which was very worrying.

… and questioning the Mayor over the London Living Wage and in Work Poverty at MQT on 22nd November after the London Living Wage increase to £10.55.

I also commented on the Budget.

The October Economy Committee was a session on the Mayor’s inward investment organisation, London and Partners. We are concerned about the lack of transparency in this body, and have issued a summons to them to produce extensive documentation, which is now being analysed.


3 Transport and HS2


The good news is that the Mayor’s has announced his TfL fares freeze will continue next year as it has since his election in 2016.  (TfL fares increased by more than 42 per cent in the eight years before, under Boris Johnson). Pay as you go journeys on the Tube, DLR, Emirates Air Line and rail services where TfL fares apply are all also frozen, as well as the cost of hiring a Santander Cycles bike.

The Mayor has also confirmed that the technical testing and approvals for introducing ‘Monday to Sunday’ (weekly) capping on Oyster are now being completed. Once introduced, the cap, which is already available for contactless users, will ensure that customers are never charged more than the cost of an equivalent 7 Day Travelcard. TfL and the Train Operating Companies are now finalising plans to introduce the cap by Spring 2019. A weekly cap will be available for adult bus and tram users earlier than this, however, from 10 December. This will mean that anyone who only uses the bus or tram will never need to purchase a 7 Day Bus & Tram Pass, which costs £21.20, again as their travel will be automatically capped when their fares reach this amount.

As with previous years, Travelcards and associated caps, which are set in agreement with the train operating companies under fares regulations set by the government, will increase, by 3.1%.  It is wrong that the train operating companies, like Govia Thameslink and Great Northern are increasing their fares at all, especially in light of the rotten service they have been providing.

Road safety issues were a big feature in this reporting period, with TfL following up my site visit to a notoriously dangerous stretch of the A1, with the announcement of the Falloden Way Road Safety Review.

… and TfL finally agreeing to Stirling Corner safety measures, a campaign I have fought for 20 years.

Tube noise continues to be a major issue, with the mayor and Deputy Mayor for Transport having a rather different account to what residents tell me on the ground:

See also: Response from Heidi Alexander on tube noise. Tube Noise MQT Answers October 18. Tube Noise MQT Answers November 18

I am concerned about the bus services locally and centrally. I have received a petition from those opposing the changes to bus route 384, which I have passed to TfL

384 bus campaign

See also my letter To TfL re the central London bus service consultation.

On a more positive note, Edgware Road/A5 is set to see new cleaner buses.

I find the continuing service on the Barking- Gospel Oak Line appalling.

I have supported the ‘Access for All’ step free access bid for Mill Hill Broadway Station. The Department for Transport has acknowledged receipt of the nomination and have advised Govia Thameslink, and Network Rail that they will make their funding decision in April 2019.

I attended the community meeting organised by Sir Kier Starmer MP, to get feedback and offer advice and information about the latest on HS2.

Finally, the Ultra Low Emissions Zone is coming on 8 April 2019. London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) The ULEZ will require vehicles driving into central London to meet new emissions standards or pay a daily charge. The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, within the existing Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ), in addition to the existing Congestion Charge.  London’s toxic air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation. Around half of London’s air pollution is caused by road transport and the ULEZ is one of a range of measures to clean it up.

4 Policing


Through my questions to the Mayor (see below) I have established the impact of the unfunded extra demands caused by police pay rises and changes to pensions announced by the Government in addition the already known budget pressures, as the Chancellor’s October Budget did not announce any increase in police funding. As a result of Government cuts so far the Metropolitan Police have been forced to make savings of £720m over recent years with a further £325m savings required by 2021. Last financial year, police officers’ deserved pay rises cost £28.1m. This equates to approximately 468 officers. This financial year the cost to the Met of the police officer pay increase was £28.8m. This equates to approximately 480 officers.

Home Office officials have informed police forces that they expect the pension contribution changes to result in increased employer contributions, which the MPS have estimated will represent to them a £43 million unfunded cost in 2019-20, then £108 million in 2020-21 and the years which follow.  On top of this there are likely to be further costs associated with an increase in employer contributions to police staff pensions. These costs are less clear at this stage, but the Met’s current estimate is around £9 million in 2019-20, then £22 million in 2020-21 and beyond. This approximately equates to over 850 officers in 2019/20 and over 2,150 officers from 2020/21 onwards.

It can therefore be seen, that in the forthcoming police settlement for next year the Government must recognise that extra funding is needed.

The first Police and Crime Committee in this period on 31st October was a Q and A session with the Victim’s Commissioner.

Post Brexit policing and security is also a big issue, which I raised at the Assembly Plenary on 1st November with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor.

The 29th November PCC (transcript not yet out) was a Q and A with the Commissioner Cressida Dick, Sir Steve House, who is the Deputy Commissioner designate, and the Deputy Mayor. a number of issues came up, nit least the consultation the Met is holding over armed foot patrols, which you may have seen covered in the London news. This is an issue to which we will be returning. I also raised the issue of Section 60 Stop and Search ( this is the special power allowing the police for a limited period to stop anyone in a given area, if there is a threat of serious violence); the need to bear down on the ‘demand’ side of the drugs market for class A drugs, not just the ‘supply’ side (Camden police have just had a major success with drugs enforcement near Camden Lock); the poor emergency response times in Barnet; Brexit resilience; and  moped enabled crime: the Met have adopted successful new tactics in the fight against moped crime, including ’tactical  contact’ in which the perpetrator is knocked off the moped by a car driven by a highly trained driver.

These new tactics (not just ’tactical contact’) have had significant success, with

moped-enabled crime falling by 65% in Camden, which is a ‘hot spot’ for this crime.

Of course, violent crime is the major priority, and you may be interested in this article by Cressida Dick in the Evening Standard.

Other policing issues to report briefly: I attended the Committee meeting and the AGM of Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board; a briefing by the Home Office on the ‘Prevent’ strategy; and Barnet Police Independent Advisory Group AGM.

Quite a few people have been following the saga of Boris Johnson’s water cannon, now thankfully concluded.

The PCC has also published our annual report.

Finally, written Mayor’s answers which may interest you, including the cost of policing President Trump’s visit earlier in the year.

Police Plenary Written Answers Nov 18 and Policing Mqs Nov 18.

5 Planning, Housing and Regeneration


A good news development was the Mayor’s announcement of funding for new Council Homes In Barnet And Camden.

I have made a number of planning objections and interventions this month:

Midland Hotel, West Hendon, Cricklewood Tower, Golders Green tennis club and 141 High Street, Barnet.

I also urged a re-think about the future of the Phoenix Cinema.

I met Barnet Council to discuss the scheme for redevelopment of Colindale Tube Station. I will be doing more work on this in forthcoming weeks.

On a lighter note, you may be interested in this critique of the Boris Johnson Garden Bridge saga in the New Statesman.

6 Environment

The ongoing saga of the rubbish refuse collection in Barnet has been getting  criticism, and rightly so: Mayor Of London rubbished Barnet Council’s position on bin collections.

7 Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning


The consequences of the Grenfell Tower fire continue to be of concern. I was pleased to see that the Government has at long last empowered local councils to take action over privately owned tower blocks with Grenfell type cladding.

At the Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee in October, I questioned the Fire Commissioner over Grenfell issues, the delays in the Government’s new communications system (‘Vision’) which is affecting all the emergency services; the need for retrofitting sprinklers including in schools, and fire service recruitment.

The 22nd November Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee meeting looked at London Resilience, including on Brexit; the London Resilience Partnership also reported on Brexit.

I was concerned about safety after the major fire at the Grange Estate, East Finchley.

Finally, Mayor’s Answers, on fire related issues, November 18.

8 Education


The Mayor has announced a number of successful bids for grants to school and youth projects in Barnet and Camden; Hendon School, £150k To Belsize Park Youth Project, £130k To Camden Town.

I am a big supporter of Black History Month and at plenary, I also proposed a motion to support the teaching of Diwali In London schools.


9 Health

No news to report this month

10 Mayor’s report


Each month the Mayor produces a report on his activities: you can access his 25th and 26th reports here.


11 Written questions to the Mayor

Late September Mqt Answers, Covering Brexit And Appropriate Adults

MQT Answers October 18, plus late ones, and even more late ones.

MQT Answers Nov 18.


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 station has entrances on both sides of the River Thames?

A: Blackfriars

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