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, 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.
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: https://www.gareththomas.org.uk/town-centre-police-team-campaign/
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
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 inv
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.
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 [email protected]
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 of Parliament.
If you would like to join an upcoming tour of parliament please fill out the form using my website here.
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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