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Friday, 11 July 2014

Apprenticeships give young people a chance to shine

I had the privilege of attending an Apprenticeship Dinner organised by Ealing Council recently. The event was attended by a mixture of current and past apprentices and employers who are thinking of taking on apprentices.

Quite simply an apprenticeship gives a young person the chance to shine whilst working for Ealing Council or many other companies based in and around the borough. As part of the apprenticeships, which last two years, training is given ‘on the job’ as well as some employers giving time off so apprentices can take up academic qualifications which will help them in their chosen field.

Lib Dem Gary Malcolm: supporting apprenticeships
The range of jobs that Ealing’s apprenticeships take up is very diverse. Some are office based. Others are in the building sector and some in local engineering firms.

On average, apprentices earn £100,000 more over their career than less qualified workers. They also help businesses. Over 80% of businesses who employ apprentices agree they make their workforce more productive.

Liberal Democrats have been at the fore-front of promoting apprenticeships, locally and nationally. We have helped create 1.8 million apprenticeships since the election in 2010. There are now more apprentices than ever before and 86% more than under Labour.

We are giving 40,000 businesses grants of £1,500 for each young unemployed person they take on as an apprentice and awarding £550m to colleges to improve their facilities for apprentices.

Employers have access to funding to cover training costs for apprentices. This is paid directly to the organisation that provides and supports the apprenticeship - in most cases the learning provider. Employers must make sure they pay apprentices at least the current minimum wage rate.

If an apprentice is 19 or over, and have completed their first year, they are entitled to the worker rate for their age. Over the past few years I have seen a number of apprentices who have gone on to do some wonderful work. Most are very hard working and really put in 100% Listening to their stories is very inspirational.

Ealing Council with the help of the coalition government is making a positive impact on giving young people more opportunities for them to do well in the work place so they can better themselves in life generally.

The Liberal Democrats support getting more apprenticeships started. Lots of employers have already provided apprenticeships. If you are an employer or you would like to become an apprentice see how you can started...

  • Ealing Council is looking for business owners and managers who can offer apprenticeships to 16-24 year olds.
  • If you are 16-24 years old and you do not have a degree or level 4 qualifications, you can apply to become an apprentice.

I hope you can see that becoming an apprentice would be beneficial to your future prospects as well as the local economy. If you can provide an apprenticeship then please do so. Everyone will benefit!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Why we should be concerned about the rise in betting shops

Wherever you are in Ealing the large number of betting shops can be seen in our seven town centres.

Many areas in the borough have not just a high density of betting shops but many of the anti-social problems that appear to come with these establishments. Residents are concerned about the effects that a cluster of betting shops can have on our high streets and local shopping parades.

Some of the reported problems include street muggings, drug dealing, vandalism, littering, harassment and intimidation from customers outside on the street, underage gambling and street drinking. Then there is the issue that gambling in many cases makes poorer people, poorer. More and more betting shops have opened due to a loophole in the law that allowed the big bookmaking chains to open branches in many locations without planning permission.

Lib Dem Jon Ball
Ealing Central and Acton Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate Jon Ball spotted the loophole in action when Ladbrokes opened a betting shop in the former Sitar Restaurant in South Ealing Road - a short distance away from the existing Corals and Paddy Power betting shops.

Jon Ball succeeded in persuading the government to make it harder for betting shops to open on our high street. He initially raised the issue at a Liberal Democrat national conference which agreed with his proposals. He then successfully lobbied coalition government ministers to introduce new powers to crack down on the large increase in betting shops. Now bookmakers will have to make a planning application which local councils will be able to refuse if they are worried about the numbers of shops in the area.

Across the country many people are concerned about the explosion in the number of betting shops in high streets. Liberal Democrats in Government are determined to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with healthy and diverse high streets that aren’t dominated by betting shops. This is why we are now giving councils tough new powers to prevent the proliferation of betting shops in their area.

This is a powerful example of a Liberal Democrat campaigner championing a local issue which will have a positive impact across London and the whole country. This is why Ealing needs a Liberal Democrat MP.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Liberal Democrats remain intact after tough local election campaign

It was certainly a tough local election campaign. So many leaflets delivered, so many people spoken to and so many roads walked on. And pairs of shoes (and legs) worn out!

Me with new Councillor Gary Busuttil and Andrew Steed
Thankfully the Southfield and Ealing Common ward Liberal Democrat Councillors retained their seats as the Tories were punished. The number of Conservative councillors was halved.

Gary Busuttil topped the poll in his first election in Southfield! Well done Gary as you have been a great local campaigner. So many people agreed with the campaign you led to stop the Council from closing day centres.

In Southfield ward three Liberal Democrat councillors were returned with an increased share of the vote compared to four years ago.

Further west in Ealing Common, Councillor Jon Ball was re-elected and there was nearly a second Liberal Democrat councillor elected, but Jenni Hollis missed out narrowly. They worked so hard and with all elections some great people miss out.

Ealing Council's CEO announcing the Southfield result
The only Lib Dem loss was in Elthorne where the energetic and hardworking Councillor, Nigel Bakhai, lost his seat to Labour as voters across Ealing turned their anger mainly on the Ealing Conservative party.

The Conservatives lost 12 councillors and their leader has since stepped down.

The Liberal Democrats locally have avoided what some said would be a wipe-out because we work locally and have policies that will help the residents of Ealing. Protecting vulnerable residents from the impact of any cuts is one of our top priorities, for instance protecting the vulnerable users of Carlton Road Day Centre.

The next four years will be interesting and difficult but the 69 Councillors who were elected (30 new ones) only a few days ago, need to get on and do the job to help their resdients.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Lib Dems against Council selling the Carlton Road Day Centre

Gary Busuttil and the Southfield Liberal Democrats are against the Council selling the Carlton Road Day Centre in Chiswick.

The Council papers that the the Southfield Liberal Democrats have seen show that the Labour-run Ealing Council want to see the Carlton Road day centre, which would leave many profoundly disabled users, with nowhere to receive care.

Gary Busuttil
Labour-run Ealing Council has voted to close three day centres despite opposition from vulnerable users and their carers. They now plan to close even more day centres.

Read the article about this as seen on

The Liberal Democrats believe Ealing Council should treat the most vulnerable users with more respect.

Southfield candidate Gary Busuttil has been busy collecting signatures to show Ealing Council they should not sell of the Carlton Road day centre.

Please sign the petiton.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Liberal Democrats will treat vulnerable residents as a priority

In the run up to the local and European elections many residents in our seven town centres will be making the decision as to how they might vote.

The coalition government with Vince Cable’s assistance has turned around the economy with not only growth, lower levels of inflation and importantly more jobs.
Councillor Gary Malcolm

Locally while more people are gaining employment we see the current Labour administration continue to fail in a number of areas:

  • Closing day centres which means that many profoundly disabled or other vulnerable residents will suffer
  • Over the past few years it was reported that Ealing Council has fined residents £24 million in parking fines. Many residents contact me to say they were fined and when I investigate the cases I often find that they should not have received a parking ticket.
  • Too many people are kept waiting to get through on the phone as well as being forced to use the internet for many services when some elderly residents do not have a computer
  • Allowing our streets and parks to be un-swept and dirty. The recent re-negotiation means that the contractor gets the same money for doing less!

The Ealing Liberal Democrats have been active in making sure that we promise only what we can deliver. The Conservative party promise the earth and often do not follow through with positive actions.

One example was where the Conservative party in Ealing have twice refused to sign up to measures that would reduce the number of deaths for cyclists. Liberal Democrats want to see our streets safer for all users. Sadly this does not appear to be true for the Conservatives who will allow dangerous trucks to be on our roads.

Alongside the backdrop of the elections is the need to continue the campaign to protect our hospitals that residents across the borough use. Having saved the Accident & Emergency wards in Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals we need to carry on the fight.

So the Labour party have failed in Ealing. What would my party, the Liberal Democrats do? We have our published manifesto but a summary is listed here:

  • Freeze Council Tax for the next four years
  • Invest more in our roads and pavements
  • Remove the garden tax and improve recycling facilities
  • Sell the Southall car park to fund vital projects
  • Protect our day centres
  • Get our streets and parks clean, free from uncollected waste
  • Make the Council easier to contact

Ealing Council has been selling off our day centres, left our streets and park s dirty and charged for collecting our garden waste. The Liberal Democrats will be tough as nails, with contractors who are providing a poor service and we will freeze Council Tax for the next four years to give some stability to residents' finances.

We are the only party who treat our vulnerable residents with a priority.

Only the Liberal Democrats would sort the waste contractor out and only a Liberal Democrat Council would be cleaner, safer and fairer.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Liberal Democrats release Local Election Manifesto

The Ealing Liberal Democrats launched their local election manifesto today. They are the effective opposition in Ealing, given that they are the only party who has costed policies to deal with the key local issues that residents are concerned about.

In Ealing we have a growing membership
Ealing Council has been selling off our day centres, left our streets and parks dirty and charged for collecting our garden waste. The Liberal Democrats are the only party who have costed policies. We will be tough as nails with contractors who are providing a poor service and we will freeze Council Tax for the next four years to give some stability to residents' finances.

The ten key areas of the 2014 manifesto where we will take action on include:
Protect the vulnerable - save day centres like the Carlton Road day centre and local health services
Freeze Council Tax for the next four years – cut costs not services
Cleaner streets and fine contractors for poor performance
Safer Ealing – more Bobbies on the Beat in high crime areas
Restore free garden waste collection
Freeze parking permits and vouchers
More investment in roads and pavements
Increase social & affordable housing supply
Make the Council easier to contact
Protect green spaces & prevent “garden grabbing

The Liberal Democrats have produced an alternative budget every year during this 4-year electoral term, while the Conservatives have not done so. The Conservatives have not done so, preferring instead to make statements about what they would do without proving that they could afford to do it. This is further evidence of how seriously the Ealing Borough Liberal Democrats take their duty to the electorate.

The Labour party have left Ealing far worse than we were in 2010 and the Conservative party's financial plans do not add up. Only the Liberal Democrats can improve Ealing giving fairness to how our council money is spent. We are the only party who treat our vulnerable residents with a priority.

On May 22nd vote Liberal Democrat to get hard working Councillors and a party that will focus attention on avoiding problems for the vulnerable in society.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Southfield Lib Dem Councillors help out in clearing up St Albans Church

On a cold Saturday morning, Southfield Lib Dem Councillor Andrew Steed and I helped out a large number of local residents to clear up St Albans Church.

Me removing a wooden pallet behind the church
This involved throwing away masonry, cutting back overgrown trees and lots of other rubbish that had accumulated over the years whilst the church had not been open to the public.

This community work followed the successful victory over developers who wanted to convert the church into ten luxury flats.

It is crucial for the site to be brought back into use. This type of work is vital and it has prepared the ground for future works to make repairs to the church itself.

Lots of overgrown trees were cut back.