Monday, 23 February 2009

Waltham Forrest Council bid to cushion residents from rent blow

Waltham Forest Council has launched a campaign to persuade the Government to lower rent increases this year.

The Council is facing the choice of raising rents by 5.8% and or finding £2.2million from another place, like the housing repairs budget.

The Council want tenants to take part in the ‘Don’t kick us in the crunch’ campaign to help persuade the Government to set rent increases at a lower level during the current recession.

Whilst the Council can choose to set its own rent, if it did it would have to take approximately £2.2million from elsewhere, for example the repairs budget.

Cllr Bob Sullivan said: “As a Council we are trying to keep Council Tax increases to a minimum to help out people in the credit crunch. These rent rises are unfair and penalise the people we are trying to help most. The Government has to take another look at this and come to its senses.”

The campaign will call on the Chancellor to lower the increase in the Government’s budget on the 22nd April.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Hackney father appeals over paralysed son's shooting

The father of a teenager paralysed in a shooting incident has joined investigating officers to urge witnesses to come forward.

Speaking from his son's hospital bedside Paul Smith said he knew people had information about those who shot and injured Raphael Smith, but couldn't understand why they had not spoken to police.

Raphael, aged 18, had been socialising with friends at a community centre in Shellness Road, E5, on 17 December 2008, when a group of youths burst in and fired shots.

The student was struck along with his 17-year-old friend. Both were taken to hospital and whilst his friend was later discharged to recover at home Raphael's condition deteriorated.

He suffered severe brain damage and is currently paralysed from the neck down.

Mr Smith said: "At first I was relieved to hear Raphael had survived but we had no idea how badly injured he was. He relies on a machine to breath and remains in a coma. We have visited the hospital every day since this happened and had to celebrate Christmas and Raphael's 18th birthday at his bedside.

"Raphael was so popular with so many friends. He loved his music and was hoping to train as a plumber soon. It's all been taken away and the whole family are devastated."

Raphael's father, who works for Hackney Borough Council and has another son and two daughters, said the local community should work together to ensure justice for Raphael and his friend.

Anyone who can assist is asked to call the team on 020 8217 7377; if you wish to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Crazy snow fall shows loopholes

The heavy snow has come and gone (hopefully) and, besides reminding some of us that we do need to get a pair of wellies, it caught local authorities with their pants down.

Borough councils were unable to carry out their usual waste collections because of the conditions of the roads, and there have been complaints about rubbish piling up.

Last week, Newham Council, for example, told residents that their rubbish would be collected a week later.

Then there is the issue of gritting – or lack of it rather. Newham Council confirmed reports that local authorities were caught unprepared by the snow when it said in a statement: “As you may be aware through publicity in the media, there is an issue about the availability and supply of salt/grit both locally and nationally.”
Perhaps, the next time a disaster strikes, they’ll be better prepared?