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Your Brent. Your Community. Your Services.

I’m sure most of you followed the Scottish referendum vote closely, like I did. The number I took away from it was not 55 per cent and 45 per cent but 84.5 per cent.

This was the incredible percentage of the electorate who turned out to cast their vote. I hope that next year’s General Election will see a similarly large number of people engaging in our political process.

To make your voice heard next year, you must register to vote. The system has changed and is now an individual voter register as opposed to the current household register. If you are registered to vote in Brent, you will have received a registration form in the post: please fill this in and return it as soon as possible. If you are not registered to vote, go to www.gov.uk/registertovote

We launched the Borough Plan consultation last week – this is your chance to have your say on the shape of local public services given the challenges we face – those of rising and more complex demands and significantly less money. By 2018, Brent Council’s funding from the government is predicted to be cut sharply by between a third and a half over the next four years. We will have to make tough choices and we need your help with this. This is your Brent, your community and your services so please get involved as we are listening www.brent.gov.uk/boroughplan

Last week saw our monthly Cabinet meeting take place in Roundwood Youth Centre. This is the first time it has taken place outside the Civic Centre. Cabinet meetings are open to the public, which not many people know about, and it was great to see such a good turn-out. At the meeting, it was decided to award the contract for domestic violence services to Hestia which we hope will improve the services provided to the most vulnerable victims in the borough while saving £80,000 over two years.

Domestic violence is a very difficult subject for people to talk about and victims can be both men and women. Hestia is renowned for providing excellent education, prevention and support which I hope will improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence in Brent. For more information http://brent.gov.uk/council-news/september-2014/domestic-violence/

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