Tuesday October 2, 2012
Welcome to my first blog as Leader of Brent Council.
Over the coming months I will be letting you know about the things we are doing in Brent, the problems we face and the solutions we are working on.
I know that the workings of Government, both national and local, can sometimes seem removed from our lives. The language used and the bureaucracy can make it seem like there is a gap between us.
I want this blog to be part of bridging that gap. Please feel free to email me your comments. I genuinely want to hear your views. It's probably helpful to start by telling you a little about myself and what I stand for. I think it is easier to understand the decisions people make when you understand where they are coming from, and what they are trying to achieve.
I am a Brent boy, born and bred. I was born in Wembley, went to school in the borough and studied at the old Kilburn Polytechnic. I live with my wife and children in the ward I represent, Tokyngton. My children go to school in the borough. I started off as an engineer at BT, and worked my way up to a project manager. I am passionate about Brent people because I am proud to be one.
I got involved in politics by helping out in my community. I started by assisting people with what we call 'casework' - getting potholes fixed in roads and ensuring people have access to the services they need. Realising that it is possible to improve people's lives with hard work and experience changed my life.
I work in politics because I want to make Brent a better place, and absolutely believe it is possible. I have a passionate desire to see three things for Brent and its people.
1. Fairness. The inequality and injustice I see as I travel across our Borough makes me angry. It is unacceptable that a child growing up in Stonebridge will live ten years less, have a household income of £28,000 less per year and are 17 per cent more likely to live in poverty than a child in Queens Park. If we have one duty as parents and as a community it is to guarantee that where you are born does not determine the chances you have in life.
2. Jobs, growth and fair pay. I want all residents to have the opportunities and the tools they need to access work that pays a fair wage. I want to attract more jobs to Brent, guarantee our children leave school with the skills they need to access work and ensure people who are unemployed have the support they need to find work again. I also believe in a fair days pay for a fair days work - work must pay enough for a sustainable and fulfilling life.
3. A strong sense of community. Like you, I know my neighbours and we help each other out, but this is becoming harder in the modern world. People who know their neighbours and look out for each other are happier, healthier and wealthier as a result. The bonds that tie us together as a community are our greatest asset. I want to nurture and strengthen these bonds, so that no one in our community feels isolated or alone. I believe we all - the Council, residents, businesses and charities - have a responsibility to make this happen.
These are the things I believe in and fight for. Of course there are many things that make these difficult to achieve - the struggling economy, huge cuts from national Government, increasing fragmentation of society and our ageing population amongst others.
I will explore these in more detail in future blogs. But I guarantee you every decision we make and every penny we spend is trying to achieve one of the three things above.
These are our ambitions and together we will achieve them.