Survey: Apr 18, 20176 questions
A snap General Election has been called for 8th June 2017. If you want to support us in Barnet, please fill in the form at the foot of this page today.
Commenting on the Prime Minister's call for a General Election, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:
"This election is your chance to change the direction of our country.
Article: Apr 4, 2017
The Mill Hill Liberal Democrats took Spring cleaning to the local park this weekend to make safe the popular playground and preservation area and to highlight the problem of park and street cleaning in Barnet.
Mill Hill playground, preservation area and the surrounding Daws Lane pathways were cleared with a variety of hazardous materials including broken glass, used nappies and laughing gas canisters found.
Article: Mar 9, 2017By Councillor Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
Barnet Council voted on its 2017/18 budget plans last Tuesday.
What strikes me about the Conservatives is how complacent they are. They claim 75 per cent of residents feell the council is doing a good job. Yet my email inbox is overwhelmed with complaints. Street cleaning, broken pavements, car parking, planning enforcement, housing: the list is endless. Many relate to the council not responding.
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Our latest newsletter features articles on local and national campaigns including our position on Brexit, Local schools cuts, news from Cllr Cohen on Barnet Council and much more!
Article: Feb 24, 2017
At the Barnet Planning Committee meeting last night (Wednesday 23rd February) Labour and Conservative councillors voted 6-5 in favour of the Hasmonean School development on greenbelt land in Copthall, Mill Hill. Planning Officials recommended the rejection of the development plan on the basis of its, "location and its excessive footprint, [the Hasmonean School plan] represents inappropriate development within the Green Belt which would cause substantial harm to the fundamental intention and purposes of including land in the Green Belt."
Article: Feb 23, 2017By Alasdair Hill in Barnet Times
WHAT do the Tories have against our pupils? First they cut the libraries. Now they cut the schools budget. Why are the Barnet Tories hell-bent on attacking opportunities for future generations? As a secondary school director of studies I see first-hand the struggles that schools face when their budgets are squeezed. The ability for me to fund enrichment activities for my students alongside funding for resources is reduced which, alongside the threat to recruiting, maintaining and training teaching staff, is a disaster for the education of our next generation. Whilst nobody will deny greater funding for schools elsewhere in the UK is a good thing, it should not be at the expense of others; why can't all schools have a boost in funding? Indeed whilst the Liberal Democrats were in government we increased the funding to schools in Hendon by over £17.5 million via the pupil premium. Now the Tories are slashing this by £500 per student per year across Barnet; and the local Conservative Party are openly supporting this! Let it not be forgotten that the Barnet Tories' record on supporting children is diabolical and their lack of backbone when challenging central government is astounding. For future Barnet pupils the prospect of reduced access to books and study space in libraries and a threat to resources and teaching staff at schools is a grim prospect indeed.
Article: Feb 16, 2017
Across the country Liberal Democrats are campaigning to guarantee EU citizens who live and work in the UK the right to stay following Brexit. Here in Barnet many hundreds of EU citizens contribute massively to society through their work, businesses and their taxes. EU citzens are also our wifes and husbands, partners and children, parents and friends. Their part in our open and tolerant society should never be questioned.
Article: Feb 16, 2017By Alasdair Hill
Dozens of Liberal Democrat activists were out delivering the Spring edition of Childs Hill News across the ward this week. Highlights include;
- Cllr Jack Cohen's concerns over ineffective planning enforcements
- Dismay at the Tories' plans for Childs Hill Library
- News from Lord Palmer's work in the Lords on protections for tenants and renters.
Article: Feb 9, 2017By Rhys Handley in Barnet Times
(Reporter Rhys Handley, Barnet Times (04/02/2017))
A prominent figure in Barnet's Labour party has defected to the Lib Dems due to his "massive disappointment" with Labour's response to the Brexit vote.
Richard Logue, of Hammers Lane, is the former chair of Mill Hill Residents Association, a leading activist in the Save Barnet Libraries and was involved in the EU Remain campaign.
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The latest edition of the newsletter from Cllr Jack Cohen and the Liberal Democrats to residents in Childs Hill ward
Article: Dec 22, 2016By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
Scientists say it is a fact the older you get the quicker time appears to pass by. It is something to do with having so many memories stored in the brain. So here we are again another year drawing to a close.
In trying to recall the events of 2016 or looking forward to 20217, I am reminded of an exchange in the film Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart is asked "Where were you last night?" He replies "That's so long ago I don't remember." The next question "will I see you tonight?" He replies "I never make plans that far ahead."
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Article: Nov 10, 2016By Councillor Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
Barnet Council presented me with a vellum of appreciation at last week's full council meeting.
This is in recognition of 30 years' service. The mayor read out a very, very, very long list of council committees I had served on. It has been a privilege to serve residents for so long.
I must add that in the 30 years I have worked with some fantastic, hard-working councillors from across the political spectrum.
Article: Sep 15, 2016By Councillor Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
I have to put my hands up. I set up an out of office automatic response on my council email account for part of August. I was not away but decided I needed a rest.
August is usually a quiet month but not this year. A couple of residents thought I was unwell or something because my out of office had no return date. There is no full council meeting in August, September and October. The last one in July convinces me, if I ever needed convincing, that council meetings are becoming more and more irrelevant.
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The latest news and updates from Barnet Liberal Democrats
Article: Jul 15, 2016By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
Given the turmoil in both the Labour and Conservative parties, it feels so refreshing to be a Liberal Democrat.
Looking back now, the five years in coalition was a period of stable government.
I suspect many people are now realising how well the Liberal Democrats actually performed, especially in keeping the Conservatives in check.
Article: May 20, 2016By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
So Barnet is to set up an independent inquiry to investigate the voting fiasco. I was alerted to something wrong almost as soon as the polls opened. I thought it applied to only one polling station in my ward. I soon discovered that voters were being turned away at polling stations across the borough.
Article: Apr 8, 2016
Former Councillor Duncan Macdonald is the Liberal Democrat Candidate in the by-election for Underhill Ward on 5th May. The by-election, which was caused by the resignation of a Labour councillor, is taking place at the same time as the Mayor and GLA elections.
Duncan Macdonald was a Barnet Councillor from 2005 to 2010. He has lived in Underhill for 23 years.
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The latest news for Childs Hill
Article: Mar 21, 2016
- A third of councils in London (10 boroughs) failed to prosecute a single landlord for providing unsafe accommodation in 2014/2015
- A further half of London councils (18) prosecuted fewer than 10 landlords for providing unsafe accommodation in 2014/2015
- The one London Borough (Newham) with mandatory licensing in place for the entire year of 2014/2015 was responsible for over 70 per cent of all prosecutions in London under the Housing Act (2004)
- There is significant variation in the level of enforcement activity by London boroughs, with some councils inspecting one in 14 private rented properties for hazards, and others only inspecting one in five hundred properties.
Time to end the brain drain of talented young women excluded from London's workforce - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Mar 17, 2016
In 2013 just 63.3% of mothers in London were in employment, compared with 72.9% nationally, the lowest level of employment for any UK region
Since 2012 the cost of a part time nursery place for an under 2 year old has risen by 10.5%, in contrast to an increase of 7.7% nationally
The number of registered childminders in London has recently fallen by 13%, from 9900 in 2010 to 8585 in 2013
Article: Mar 16, 2016
At Boris Johnson's last Mayor's Question Time Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group examined the Mayor's real record in tackling knife crime over his two terms of office.
The Mayor made tackling knife crime one of his key pledges back in 2008, claiming he would lead the "fightback" against violent crime.
Secrecy over West Ham deal is incompatible with claims of value for money for Olympic Stadium investment - Stephen KnightArticle: Mar 4, 2016
Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, speaking after questioning the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) Chairman and Chief Executive at City Hall today said:
"While no one denies many great successes of the Olympic Park there still remain questions as to whether the best deal has been struck for the taxpayer.
Article: Mar 4, 2016
Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on this week's decision by TfL to not scrap the Woolwich Ferry, but instead to purchase two new vessels to replace the three existing life-expired craft said:
"I very much welcome this back down by TfL.
"In the rush to push ahead with the tolled Silvertown Tunnel and other road crossings TfL were willing to sacrifice the free Woolwich Ferry, which is not only popular locally but incredibly helpful for pedestrians and cyclists.
Article: Mar 3, 2016By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Times
Barnet Council looks set to increase council tax by just under two per cent. In reality, central government controls the purse strings.
For 2016/17, councils are limited to a two per cent hike in council tax - so any higher amount triggers a referendum.
However, the government this time will permit an additional two per cent rise ringfenced for adult social care services. The Conservatives' proposed tax increase uses the ringfenced allowances, so council tax for all other servicer is frozen.
Article: Feb 11, 2016
- Number of incidents of tube delays caused by overcrowding has doubled in the last two years
- Tube passengers lost 280,355 hours in 2015 due to tube overcrowding - in 2013 tube overcrowding resulted in 130,813 lost customer hours
- Jubilee Line is the worst London Underground Line for tube delays caused by overcrowding
Article: Feb 3, 2016
The Mayor's decision to extend funding for the work of the charities RedThread and Oasis Youth, which support young victims of knife crime, has been warmly welcomed by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, who personally urged the Mayor to support these organisations last December. The need to support such organisations was a key recommendation in Caroline's report on tackling knife crime in London, which was published last November.
In a letter sent to Caroline this week the Mayor has stated that MOPAC (Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime) has now secured funding to maintain the vital services provided by RedThread and their youth workers in London's four Major Trauma Centres for the next three years. Another positive development is that MOPAC will also be funding Oasis Youth enabling them to extend their services and place youth workers in Middlesex Hospital until the end of 2016/17.
These youth workers provide vital support for young victims of knife crime and other violent offences and help to end the tragic cycle of violence we see too often on our streets.
The Mayor also accepted another long standing recommendation by Caroline Pidgeon to ensure that MOPAC adopt the 'Cardiff Model' across all A&E's in London. The 'Cardiff Model' is an approach to sharing and using anonymised data on violent offences obtained through A&E admissions to inform and develop crime reduction policies by the police and local authorities. In areas where the Cardiff Model has been implemented there has been a 42% reduction in A&E admissions due to violent crime.
Welcoming the Mayor's announcement Caroline Pidgeon said:
"This announcement is incredibly welcome.
"Sensible and much needed policies to help young victims of knife crime are now being given the support they so desperately needed.
"Finally every A&E department across London will share anonymised data to help reduce violent crime across the capital."
Article: Jan 29, 2016
- New report recommends a smarter, more flexible system of congestion charging that reflects the level of congestion when a person enters the zone
- Introduction of an additional diesel levy on the Congestion Charge could be a 'game changer' in tackling London's appalling air pollution
- Huge potential to encourage a higher take up of the Congestion Charge Autopay system by removing the charge for registering and developing a free, easy to use App
Building homes affordable for Londoners must be the top priority of the Mayor's budget - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Jan 27, 2016
Building more affordable homes must be the top priority of the Mayor's budget is the central message of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group amendment to the Mayor's draft budget for the next year.
Their amendment to the Mayor's budget, which will be considered later today (Wednesday 27th January) , sets out ambitious plans to dramatically increase housing investment in London by converting the current Olympic precept, which is typically £20 a year for most householders, into a new 'housing precept'.
Article: Jan 21, 2016
The Mayor's obsession with the New Routemaster is forcing Transport for London to purchase more of the expensive buses for the sole reason of keeping the production line running at Wrightbus it has been revealed today.
Transport for London's Finance and Policy Committee is set to purchase 30 more New Routemaster buses so as to "enable Wrightbus to maintain the operation of one of the two current production lines" confirming that there is no market for the New Routemaster buses outside of London.
People power has been successful in persuading TfL to drop plans to close Caledonian Road Tube station - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Jan 19, 2016
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on Transport for London's withdrawal of controversial plans to close Caledonian tube station for eight months to replace the two lifts said:
"This U-turn by TfL is a great victory for people power. I congratulate Nigel Scott and the organisers of this excellent campaign and everyone who got behind it.
Article: Jan 19, 2016
The Liberal Democrats have picked youth counsellor and housing campaigner Zack Polanski to fight for the Barnet and Camden seat in City Hall this year.
Mornington Crescent resident Zack Polanski has worked tirelessly in leading the campaign to save the famous Black Cap pub on Camden High Road and was selected by the local party due to his focus on the difficulties facing private tenants across Barnet and Camden.
One third of hospitals in London are still failing to help the police to tackle knife crime - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Dec 21, 2015
Over a third of hospitals in London are still failing to take part in a scheme which has been proven to dramatically reduce knife crime. The admission that many hospitals are still not sharing anonymous data collected from knife victims was made last week by Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.
Next step in extension of Bakerloo Line is a great Christmas present for South East London - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Dec 21, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on Transport for London's confirmation that it will be taking further steps to extend the Bakerloo Line to Elephant and Castle and Lewisham via Old Kent Road, with detailed technical work starting in 2016 said:
"This is a great Christmas present for many parts of South East London. For far too long South East London had a poor deal in terms of its transport links so it is good news that new steps will be taken in the technical work required to deliver an extension to the Bakerloo Line.
Article: Dec 17, 2015By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
"Can robots be the victims of harassment in the workplace?" - this headline caught my eye.
The article that followed points out that the Bank of England has warned up to 15 million British jobs are under threat from automation.
The article argues that managing a mixed workforce of both humans and virtual employees throws up a number of ethical issues, but that perhaps robots' entitlement to human rights is a debate for the future.
Commitment to retain PCSOs is a victory for everyone who values community policing - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Dec 17, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the commitment that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe made to her at today's London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that that Police Community Support Officers will be maintained in London and that one Police Constable and one Police Community Support Officer will remain in every ward in every London Borough said:
Record usage on the Tube does not have to go hand in hand with record closures and delays due to overcrowding - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Dec 11, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on figures released today by Transport for London showing that Friday 4th December 2015 was the busiest day ever on the London Underground said:
"The increasing use of the Tube is a clear sign of London's growth in both its population and popularity as a place to visit. In many respects it is something to celebrate.
Article: Dec 10, 2015By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
A normally mild-mannered resident was angry when he attended my ward surgery.
He brought with him a bagful of road chippings. He was furious, first at the council for, in his words, "the terrible resurfacing of his road" and, secondly, the "appalling lack of response" when he complained.
Residents across the borough have been up in arms about this particular round of road repairs. I suspect she council was trying to save money.
However, it is not about money. In my opinion, it's about effective monitoring of contracts. I find residents are more angry about what they perceive as poor workmanship and lack of resposse when they complain to the council.
Unfortunately, often I don't seem to fare much better when I raise issues with the council. This is something I warned about when the Conservatives began their programme of outsourcing.
Because private companies are running what was traditionally the job of council staff, the role of a councillor is being diluted. What is more, when I ask for details of contracts, such as the resurfacing of roads, I hit the brick wall of "commercial confidentiality".
The council plans to outsource more than 90 per cent of its services. It can only get worse.
Chancellor's announcement on police funding must mean plans to slash PCSOs are dropped - Caroline PidgeonArticle: Nov 25, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Chancellor's announcement in today's Treasury Spending Review that police spending will now rise in line with inflation said:
"It is welcome news that commonsense has obviously now prevailed and that serious plans to slash the grant to the Metropolitan Police Service have now been dropped by government.
Article: Nov 25, 2015
Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly housing spokesperson, commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposals for housing in London which were announced in today's Spending Review said:
"The Government's housing policies are ultimately flawed as they are stoking demand, when the real issue is the lack of supply of affordable housing.
Article: Nov 23, 2015
New report reveals the scale of knife crime in London
Westminster politicians overlooked knife crime during the recent General Election
A range of policies rarely considered by Westminster politicians are now needed to make London safer for young people
Westminster politicians are hiding from the real facts about the level of knife crime in London and its impact on young people, is the hard hitting finding of a new report on knife crime undertaken by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon.
Article: Nov 18, 2015
The Mayor has today said he will consider a rush hour ban of HGVs on London's roads following questioning at City Hall today by Caroline Pidgeon AM, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson.
Today's questioning of the Mayor followed the presentation at City Hall of a petition organised by the London Cycling Campaign signed by over 13,000 people, calling for a rush hour ban on HGVs, better designed lorry cabs and stronger enforcement on current safety standards.
Article: Nov 12, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on the Mayor's fare proposals for 2016 said:
"I very much welcome the extension of National Rail free train travel to under 11-year olds, ending a long standing grievance for children living in South London.
'Under 11s already get free travel on the Transport for London (TfL) network but given that there are fewer tube lines in South London, children living South of the river have missed out for too long."
Article: Nov 9, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on reports in today's Financial Times that TfL is paying 500 additional workers £1.5 million a month since September for a new Night Tube that will not start until next year said:
"Soon the Mayor will be announcing the fare changes for next year and we will discover the real price that London commuters will have to pay for the long list of the Mayor's financial blunders and vanity projects.
Article: Nov 4, 2015
"Making Oxford Street a place to be enjoyed, not endured" - Stephen Knight
Petition calling for Mayor and Westminster to pedestrianise Oxford Street by 2020 presented to the Mayor of London today
A petition calling for the pedestrianiation of Oxford Street by 2020 was presented today to the Mayor of London by Stephen Knight, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson.
Article: Nov 2, 2015
Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly economics spokesperson, commenting on today's announcement of an increase in the London Living Wage said:
"I welcome the increase to £9.40 an hour, and I obviously welcome any new employer who signs up to pay the London Living Wage.
"However the big picture is that the number of Londoners paid less than the London Living Wage has soared during Boris Johnson's time as Mayor of London. The estimated number of employees paid less than the Living Wage has increased by more than 50% since 2008 and now stands at over 900,000 people.
Article: Nov 2, 2015
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on today's announcement that Lambeth council and the Garden Bridge Trust have reached an agreement over the public funding contribution from TfL towards the construction of the Garden Bridge said:
"While I welcome a reduction in Transport for London's payment towards the Garden Bridge, today's announcement simply raises more questions than it answers, especially in light of the continued evasiveness by the Mayor of London and TfL in answering Mayoral Questions, or responding to freedom of information requests.
Article: Oct 31, 2015By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press
Barnet's Conservative-run council has unveiled proposals for the future of the borough libraries. It makes for grim reading.
It is true no library will close but the reality is many will be shrunk to shadows of their former selves.
Take my own local library in Childs Hill. The plan is to reduce the opening hours to 15 hours a week. It is currently open five days a week. This means it will be open just three hours a day.
Article: Oct 30, 2015
At a time when the Met is facing serious budget pressures London's football teams are forcing the Metropolitan Police Service to pick up a policing bill of over £4 million a year.
Following a written question to the Mayor of London it has been revealed by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, that between the start of last year's football season and May of this year the cost of policing outside football stadiums generated a bill of £4.2 million for the Met.