• June
  • 29th
  • 2009

5 things Labour is doing to lead the way on Green issues

1. Climate Change Act – We have made sure Britain leads the world in ambition on targets to reduce carbon emissions by introducing this Act.  It make us the first country in the world to put carbon reduction targets into law, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to 80% less than 1990 levels.

2. Renewable energy – This has doubled in five years and the Labour’s aim is to generate 15% of our energy from renewables by 2020.

3. The Great British Refurb – Labour has insulated 5 million homes since 2002 and, by regulating the energy companies, we are insulating a further 6 million homes between now and 2012, with every suitable loft and cavity being insulated by 2015.

4. Smart Meter - Our aim is that every home will have a smart meter by 2020. Smart meters mean the end of estimated billing and waiting for the meter man. Smart meters give people the power to cut their energy use, save money on their bills and cut their carbon emissions.

5. Transport – Labour has led in the EU by setting the toughest mandatory car emissions standards in the world, and accelerated the commercialisation of electric vehicles, many of which we now see around London’s streets. We have imposed the toughest emission standards for aviation in the world and we are introducing Crossrail which will increase rail capacity and give more local control of bus services.

  • June
  • 27th
  • 2009

Soaking up the summer sun!

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As this weekend’s summer heat wave descended over London today, Chuka took some time out with Cllr Florence Nosegbe (far right), Labour’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Youth in Lambeth, to catch up with residents of Blenheim Gardens Estate at their fantastic Fun Day in Brixton Hill ward!  Here they are in the estate garden, overseen by Simon Ghartey (crouching).  Chuka finished up the day at the Abbeville Fete in Clapham, once again successfully organised by The Church of the Holy Spirit.

  • June
  • 24th
  • 2009

An innovative new sports hall for Dunraven

New buildingDunraven School has opened a landmark new sports hall complex, constructed from recycled shipping containers. The innovative building has been shortlisted for Britain’s top public architecture prize, as one of the 24 buildings vying for this year’s Prime Minister’s award for Better Public Building.

The sports hall, which took only three months to construct, was built under the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme. Dunraven has benefitted from £20 million of investment under the programme, and a large-scale redevelopment and rebuilding programme at the school will begin next year.

Because of the structure of trade between the developing world and the west, the number of sea containers being shipped to Europe is significantly more than the return traffic and it is not worthwhile shipping back empties. Re-using them as building materials is an environmentally-friendly way of solving this problem, and is extremely cost effective: Dunraven’s sports hall would have cost an additional £0.75m using conventional materials.

Many environmentally-friendly features were incorporated into the building. These include a rainwater harvesting system, weather-controlled heating and motion-sensor lighting controls.

Last year, Chuka was honoured to be invited to speak and present prizes at Dunraven’s annual student awards ceremony.

  • June
  • 20th
  • 2009

What are you going to cut Mr Cameron and who is going to pay?

The Conservative Party has let the cat out of the bag and revealed that they plan to make spending cuts of 10 per cent across the majority of government departments.  Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last week revealed what David Cameron did not want the rest of the country to hear: the Conservatives would cut public spending in the majority of government departments by 10 per cent.

“We are going to increase the resources for the NHS, we are going to increase resources for international development aid. We are going to increase resources for schools. But that does mean over three years after 2011 a 10 per cent reduction in the departmental expenditure limits for other departments.”
(Andrew Lansley, BBC Today Programme, 10 June 2009)

There is a choice between Labour which believes we must grow our way out of recession – and the Conservatives who have revealed that they would cut the vast majority of public spending by ten per cent.

  • June
  • 13th
  • 2009

Chuka at Number 10 to support Chance UK

Chuka was invited to No. 10 Downing Street by Sarah Brown last week, attending an event to help promote Chance UK, the mentoring charity.

Chuka and Sarah - photo courtesy of Zoe NorfolkBoth Chuka and the Prime Minister’s wife are supporters of Chance UK, which provides one-to-one mentoring for children aged five to eleven with behavioural difficulties. Mentors help the children, many of whom are on the verge of being excluded from school, to build self-confidence, stability and to channel disruptive energy into attaining personal achievements, acting as positive role models. The charity has a track record of success in helping children overcome behavioural problems, helping them lead happier lives at home and motivating them in school. After passing through the Chance UK mentoring programme, 98% of children achieved a reduction in hyperactivity, emotional issues, conduct problems and problems with peers.

At the 10 Downing Street event, Sarah Brown praised the work of Chance UK, in particular its strength in being able to replicate its programme nationally. Chance UK is established in seven local authorities in the UK including Lambeth, where work commenced in May.

Chuka, commenting on the event, said:

“I am proud to be associated with Chance UK and it was an honour to be invited by Sarah Brown to Number 10 to promote its work. The charity has had a hugely positive impact for children wherever it has been involved, and I am pleased that last month Chance UK began operating in Lambeth.”

After the event, Sarah Brown tweeted Chuka to thank him for attending.

  • June
  • 12th
  • 2009

No Turning Back tomorrow with Compass

Chuka will be speaking at tomorrow’s “No Turning Back” Compass national conference.

In the morning he will be chairing the “Tax justice: the missing link in the fight against international poverty?” seminar, organised by the Foreign Policy Centre, ActionAid and Christian Aid. Speakers include John Evans, General Secretary, of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, Dr Claire Melamed, Head of Policy Coordination at ActionAid, Richard Howett MEP and Mark Ashurst of the Africa Research Institute.

In the afternoon, Chuka will also be chairing the “Change is coming: how online engagement changes campaigning as we knew it” seminar, organised by Blue State Digital who ran Barack Obama’s online presidential campaign.

At the end of the day Chuka will be speaking on the Question Time panel with the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, Professor Ruth Lister, journalist and broadcaster, John Harris, BBC Newsnight’s Paul Mason and Liberal Democrat MP, Dr Evan Harris.

Tickets for the event are still available – 1000 have already been sold. For further details visit the Compass website here: Compass.

  • June
  • 4th
  • 2009

Today’s Election

VoteOn the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, it is important for us to remember the significance of living in a democracy. In China and other states like it, people are denied the freedoms we take for granted – to surf the internet freely, to read and discuss what we want and crucially to choose who governs.

The right to vote was won through struggle and determination, in this country through movements such as Chartism and the Suffragettes. In more recent memory we might reflect on South Africa, where within my lifetime black people voted for the first time.

Despite recent events and the temptation for people to turn their back on politics, we must not take our rights for granted or forget the sacrifices of previous generations which allow us to cast our votes today.

Therefore I urge you to use your right to vote today. In the first instance, of course, to vote Labour, but crucially to vote. Apathy could be a route for the BNP to gain representation in London – which would be a huge blow to a city which is rightly proud of its diversity.

Chuka

  • June
  • 2nd
  • 2009

Chuka on 5 Live

chuka-5live-pic1Chuka appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live this week, taking part in Front Bench on the Up All Night show, discussing the expenses revelations alongside other candidates including pop star David Van Day.

To listen, follow this link (opens Real Player)

Or alternatively, listen on iPlayer – Chuka’s contribution is at 2hr30 in.

  • June
  • 2nd
  • 2009

Trees and Better Streets for Streatham

Lambeth Council is undertaking a programme of street improvement and tree planting as part of the borough’s £3.5m Better Neighbourhoods initiative. Pavements and roads will be resurfaced while outdated and uneccessary street furniture and signs will be removed to enhance streetscapes.

TreesThe programme includes major improvements for Streatham High Road, taking place this summer. Dozens of new trees will be planted along the road intersection while crossings and busy sections of the pavement will be widened.

Other neighbourhoods will benefit from more trees and better pavements, having been earmarked as being in most urgent need of environmental improvements. These include Streatham Vale, Brixton Hill and the Poynders Estate in Clapham.

Some of the initiative’s funds are targetted specifically for estates, bringing improved play areas and recycling facilities alongside tree planting. Across Lambeth, around 250 of the new trees will be planted on residential streets, helping to make our area greener and more attractive.