Newsletter from Gareth Thomas
The 2022-23 session of Parliament officially started with the State
Opening on 10 May 2022. The Queen’s Speech sets out the
government's policies and the proposed legislative programme for the
new Parliamentary session. You can watch my speech here
[[link removed]], which covers the cost of living,
energy bills, financial regulation and the local election result in
Harrow. This update will cover a number of themes addressed in my
response to the Queen’s Speech.
TOWN CENTRE POLICE CAMPAIGN
[Harrow v London stats]
Hundreds of residents have now signed my petition calling on the Met
Commissioner for our own Town Centre Police Team. As many will know, I
welcome the announcement of a dedicated team for Uxbridge and Wembley
but given that Harrow is both a significant commercial district, has
an increasing nightlife and is an important transport hub
with Harrow Bus Station and Harrow on the Hill Station both within
the town centre, I struggle to understand why it hasn’t been
prioritised for its own dedicated team of police officers.
Please help apply pressure on the Met Commissioner and sign my
petition calling for a dedicated town centre police team:
[Harrow Council Jubilee]
With the Queen’s Jubilee almost upon us, events are taking place
across Harrow over the next month – take a look at some of the
events taking place here, including the excellent exhibition by
Headstone Manor Museum on show at Harrow Arts Centre until June 7th.
[Bank holiday bins]
Due to the double bank holiday this week, some bin collections will
not be taking place on their usual day. Please see the above chart for
when to expect your bin collection.
Earlier this month, Labour lost the elections for Harrow Council for
the first time in 12 years. The Conservatives now run the Council.
I and my colleagues in the local Labour Party have much to reflect on,
think through and change about our approach. We are already beginning
conversations with those who didn’t vote for us this time and would
welcome any thoughts and ideas you’re willing to share.
In time there will I’m sure be much to be proud of but one key
question we have to confront now is whether, despite cuts in
government funding of more than £50 million or over 90% in funding,
whether we could have provided better services. In order to maintain
balanced budgets over the past decade, the various administrations
have had to find £150 million of savings as well as ways to raise new
income, and as a consequence have had to decide between making cuts to
services or raising council tax. It has been able to make savings and
efficiencies of some £98 million over that time, but many will know
it has had to reduce services and consistently to increase council
tax in line with this Conservative Government’s expectations.
There is no doubt too that the revelations that a small number of
Council staff were responsible for a big fraud shook the confidence of
many in how the Council was run. People in Harrow are right to be
angry about such abuse, after all the Council’s money comes from us
as residents via Council tax or other taxes. We all have a right to
expect that money to be protected and used well to provide the Council
services we all depend on.
Labour Councillors did act, investigating and sacking those
responsible. They brought in the police and were working to get back
the money that was stolen from us. I expect the new leadership of
Harrow Council to continue that work and I have written to the Head of
Legal insisting on an update on how the council is getting on at
getting OUR money back to invest in key services. I will also be
writing to the Met Police Commissioner to ensure that election
literature circulated by local Conservatives has not jeopardised their
I will work with all those who have been elected as Councillors,
Labour or not to continue to make Harrow West a great place to live.
SURGERY AND PARLIAMENT TOURS
I have now returned to my regular advice surgery, taking on casework
at my constituency office at 132-134 Blenheim Road, the surgery is
usually appointment-based and appointments can be made by calling my
parliamentary office on 020 7219 4243 or e-mailing me on
As I return to in-person surgeries, I plan to continue my roving
surgeries across Harrow West. In recent months, these have been held
in local churches and community centres across the borough. If you
have a suggestion of where you would like me to host a surgery, do
please drop me a line.
After two long years - Following the restrictions put in place during
the Covid-19 pandemic, I am now resuming my own tours for residents of
Harrow West, while paid tours can also be arranged through the Houses
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN AN UPCOMING TOUR OF PARLIAMENT PLEASE FILL
OUT THE FORM USING MY WEBSITE HERE.
CAN YOU PROVIDE SUPPORT?
LONDON'S COMMUNITY KITCHEN (based at The Bridge, next to Harrow
Leisure Centre) run a Free Surplus Food Market open to everyone every
FRIDAY FROM 3-5PM. At the height of the pandemic, this operation
served over 10,000 people across Harrow and London. Please consider
donating or getting involved in any way that you can with this
incredible Harrow-wide response to the cost of living crisis:
If you’re ever in need of their support, the Community Kitchen want
to help - they won’t ask you for any details, or anything in return,
just turn up and they will provide you with food.
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