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Helping the borough to thrive

The festive season is almost upon us and there are lots of exciting things going on in Brent. This is an important time for local shops and businesses and the council is doing everything we can to ensure that local traders thrive during over the Christmas and New Year period.

For example, we are supporting Small Business Saturday, a nationwide campaign encouraging residents to shop locally on Saturday 6 December – traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

Many of us buy things online these days, but the care and dedication that goes into many local businesses simply cannot be replicated online and you are supporting local jobs when you find a bargain on your local parade of shops. So, if you haven’t already, please try out your local shops and see what they can offer you. To make this experience easier, the council is offering free parking for shoppers in ten council run car parks.

Christmas is a vitally important time for businesses, but also an important time for families. If you want to do something special with your family this year, Wembley and the London Designer Outlet is a good starting point. In addition to the vast array of shops and restaurants, there is for the first time an ice-rink and a Christmas market. I have managed to navigate both without any slip-ups and would encourage you to try them out if you are looking for a fun day for all the family.

We are also coming to the end of the Borough Plan consultation process and I’m very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to give us their views. All of your responses are being collated and will help inform the priorities in the Borough Plan, with a first draft due shortly and a final version due in the spring.

I am also proud to have been appointed chair of the West London Alliance which is made up of the six west London councils of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow and am looking forward to sharing ideas to make our part of London an even better place to live, work and do business.

Looking ahead to 2015, it is going to be an important year with tough choices to make given that we need to save £54million, due to cuts imposed on us by central government. This is no mean feat, when we have rising demand for services and an ever-changing, growing population with complex needs. But I remain optimistic and hope that by working together we can still enjoy a brighter future and build an even better Brent.

I wish you all a happy Christmas and a happy New Year.

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