Dec 20 2013

Gareth Says: Final 2013 Newsletter

gareth_thomas_headshotCost of Living:

Cost of living has been a popular topic nationally and locally. In Harrow, residents will be faced with further train fare increases on January 2nd, with zones 1 – 5 annual travelcards rising to £2,160 a year. In the last few years, tube fares have consistently increased. This above inflation increase, alongside rising fuel costs will mean that more people in Harrow are struggling to make ends meet.

If you are struggling with your finances, you might want to go to the Money Advice Surgery here.

I know from the large number of e-mails and letters I have received that rising energy prices continue to be one of the most pressing issues for local households, particularly as the cold weather hits.

I have been urging the Government to stand up to the energy companies, to introduce a temporary price freeze and to take action to reset the broken energy market to stop consumers being overcharged in future. The Government, however, continue to reject this.

Harrow Council have produced some information on how to save on your energy bills, click here.

Northwick Park Hospital – A&E

I have raised the issue of A&E waiting times on several occasions. This week, I raised the issue once again during a debate in the House of Commons.

Six Month Performance Report for NHS Harrow CCG states that they have failed to meet its targets on waiting times, cancer treatment times and A&E standards. In regards to cancer treatment specifically, Harrow CCG is not meeting the 31 days to treatment and 62 days to treatment targets.

Given that Harrow CCG is already failing to meet their targets, I will continue to champion more funding for Harrow’s NHS budget.

Harrow police under pressure:

In 2010, Harrow police had 519 police officers and community police officers tackling crimes across the Borough. However, the most recent figures released by the Metropolitan Police show a 25% cut with police numbers falling to just 391.

I recently met with Harrow’s Borough Commander to discuss crime and anti-social behaviour, in particularly in South Harrow where recently there has been a series of burglaries. If you have a crime to report and it is an emergency, you can call 999. If it is not an emergency, you can call 101.

If you would like to raise any concerns with me regarding police numbers or safety, please email me on gareth.thomas.mp@parliament.uk

Fuel Poverty in Harrow: 

Recent data published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that Harrow has the highest percentage of homes which suffer from fuel poverty in London.

The Government have defined a household as in ‘fuel poverty’ if their costs are above average, leaving a remaining income that is below the official poverty line.  In Harrow, the Government’s Energy Department have said that 12.7% of households are in fuel poverty. To learn more about fuel poverty or to look at some detailed statistics, click here.

Councillor Glen Hearnden:

In the November by-election, residents of Harrow-on-the-Hill elected Mr Glen Hearnden to be their new local Councillor.

I understand that Glen has already started campaigning a number of issues that are important to you such as the redevelopment of the Grange Farm Estateanti-social behaviour and supporting small businesses on Shaftesbury Circle.

You can contact Glen using the details here.

Meetings and events

It has been a real pleasure to meet with so many community groups and attend so many events in Harrow during the last 12 months, notably the Christmas in the Community party at the Beacon Centre, the Elmfield Church 80th anniversary and an event celebrating Navratri at the SKLPC.

I regularly visit primary schools across Harrow, including Vaughan and Marlborough Primary School which will soon be rebuilt. In addition I have been pleased to help thousands of constituents with individual problems and policy queries, if I can be of assistance my contact details are above.

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