Archive for the ‘Kingston Council’ Category

Coombe Vale by-election – candidates and polling stations

15 December 2011

Polling day has arrived in Coombe Vale with two vacant council seats up for grabs.

The candidates (you have TWO votes)

There are eleven candidates standing for the two seats:

  Name of Candidate   Party Information
Labour Candidate Info
Party website
Conservative Candidate Info
Party website
Roger Edmund
Christian Peoples Alliance Candidate Info
Party website
Philippa Lucy Eleanor
  Christian Peoples Alliance Candidate Info
Party website
Liberal Democrat Candidate Info
Party website
Rupert Colin Frank
Liberal Democrat Candidate Info
Party website
Labour Candidate Info
Party website
Conservative Candidate Info
Party website
Dr Tariq
  Green Party Party website
Green Party Party website
Michael Gerard
  UK Independence Party Party website

Where to vote

Note – you can only vote at your appointed polling station

Polling District Polling Place
S Dickerage Adventure Playground
Dickerage Lane
New Malden
SA Caravan at Coombe Girls School
Darley Drive Entrance
New Malden
SB Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School (*)
Chestnut Grove
New Malden

(*) Note that this venue is being used as an alternative to Christ Church New Malden CoE Primary School. The formal notice of this alteration is available to download.

Coombe Vale Ward map

Click image to view ward map with polling districts

Pre-election representation

Three Conservatives (two vacant)

Three Conservatives

Don’t forget to vote!


Council strikes – the greediest people in Kingston? Part 2

30 November 2011
Bruce McDonald

£222k? Because he's worth it!

Those striking to retain a fair deal on the pensions they’ve worked for should not be confused with those who have displayed excess.

As The Guardian (not exactly the public sector’s harshest critic) reports “a senior local government officer on £100,000 a year will pick up £52,900 a year plus a lump sum of £123,750. Similar middle-class professionals in the private sector can only dream of such payouts, which would cost upwards of £1m to fund.”

Whilst strikers have every right to fight for their pensions (which average £5,600), there can be little argument that pensions for senior public officials have become an obscenity. However, they are a mere symptom rather than the cause. The pension arrangements in local government were clearly never designed with the expectation that any public employee would be drawing such obscene wages (in some cases dwarfing the salary paid to the Prime Minister). Unfortunately an unhealthy culture has been allowed to grow in what used to be considered public service.

Let’s call it the “L’Oreal culture” . Why? Because they think they’re “worth it”.

When New Labour looked at local government it declared that councils needed to learn from the private sector. Stuffy town halls could do with a bit of enterprise and business know-how to create a more modern, efficient form of government. But how could this be achieved? New leadership was, of course, seen as the answer.

Modern leadership. Business leadership. Expensive leadership.

If the giants of industry and the city were to turn their expertise towards shaking up local councils, they would have to be attracted with salary packages that could tempt them away from the private sector. A council would raise its chief executive salary to attract “a new kind of chief executive” and all the surrounding councils would use this as an excuse to raise their senior directors pay as they had fallen “below the local average” (which of course would continually rise with every pay bump).

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” became the justification for a pay spiral ever upwards for chief executives and their directors. No one ever dared to ask, if you have previously been offering “peanuts” and have by this logic therefore only attracted “monkeys” to your senior positions, what is to be gained by now paying these same long serving simians in caviar?

Let’s look at Kingston. In this time of economic downturn, public sector spending cuts and redundancies, how have Kingston’s senior management rewarded themselves?

In April, the Surrey Comet reported that Bruce MacDonald, chief executive of the council, had become Kingston’s highest paid public servant with a a total remuneration package of £222,000 a year – £179,000 in salary and £43,000 in employer’s pension contribution.

In February the council’s Senior Staff committee gave the personnel manager, or “Executive Head of Organisational Development and Strategic Business” in its native council jargon, an £18,000 (‘max’) pay rise. That’s right, at a time of cuts, pay freezes and job losses, the leadership of Kingston council thought that giving a massive pay rise to the officer responsible for handing out redundancy notices to dozens of council staff should be a priority. 

Then, most recently the council’s most senior managers were asked to consider taking a voluntary pay cut of 10% by councillors. A good opportunity to show real leadership by saving costs, protecting services to residents and possibly even some of their lower paid colleagues’ jobs? Not a chance. Cost cutting clearly only applies to the lower orders.

How can they possibly justify this?

Easy. “Because they’re worth it”.

Council strike – the greediest people in Kingston?

30 November 2011


Work longer, pay more, get less…
Who could refuse such a tempting offer?

Up to two million public sector workers across the country have taken industrial action today in protest over proposed cuts to pension schemes. Locally, schools across Kingston have closed as teachers unions have joined the one day walk out.

The Government has spent a considerable amount of effort in recent days moving ministers from microphone to microphone loudly declaring the strikers to be everything from greedy, misled by miltant union leaders to irresponsible wreckers who needlessly risk damage to the economy. Meanwhile, the opposition (didn’t they used to be the “Labour” party?) meekly suggests that strikes should not be going ahead as they will “inconvenience parents and children”.

Are the public sector workers being greedy?

Well, the average private sector occupational pension in the UK is reportedly £8,740, whilst about half of all public sector pensions are below £5,600. The Government’s own Hutton report stated that they were far from the ‘gold-plated’ myth peddled in the media. Further, the local government pension schme was reformed only three years ago to ensure its long term viability. That was before the Government unilaterally wiped 15% off final benefits by changing the indexation for public sector pensions from RPI to CPI without any consultation. Even with no further contribution increases, unions point out that the local government pension scheme could pay all of its liabilities until 2031. The NHS pension scheme currently has income far exceeding its outgoings to the tune of £2 billion. Additional contributions in many cases will go directly to the Treasury rather than to pay for anyone’s pension.

According to estimates, union members will sacrifice up to £100 million in pay by striking on 30 November.

Is it the politics of greed or the politics of envy that is really at play here?

Putting aside the economically illiterate attempts to confuse some contributory pension schemes which currently contribute more than they pay out to the level of public sector borrowing (the cost of pensions making up 1.7% of GDP and falling), the clear line coming from the Government is that private sector pensions have been so devalued by employers that the public sector should follow suit. “Why should they keep what you haven’t got any more?” is the spin, the line people are supposed to take away from the repeated soundbites on the news.

But it’s simply not true. There are still some excellent private sector pensions out there, at least there are if you’re on the board of directors (FTSE 100 directors increased their total earnings, including pension perks, by 49% last year). MPs, finally shamed into reducing some of the excesses of their own pension scheme after kicking reforms into the long grass for well over a year, don’t do badly either (even without their outside jobs). However in the private sector, the closure of final salary schemes has seen only 35% of workers now sign up for a pension. The 14m people not currently saving for retirement is the real problem and encouraging public sector workers to do likewise will not make this better.

Politicians should be careful when attempting to play the ‘them and us’ card. Nobody wants to look at their older years with uncertainty and few would wish it onto others. There is always the danger that the public, when faced with a stark choice, will decide that they have a different definition of who “us” includes…   

The full list of Unions taking part are as follows: The Association of Educational Psychologists, Aspect, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the First Division Association, GMB, National Association of Head Teachers, Napo (family court and probation staff), the teachers’ union NASUWT, Northern Ireland Public Service Association, National Union of Teachers, Public and Commercial Services Union, Prospect, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, the Society of Radiographers, UCAC (one of the Welsh teachers’ unions), Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, University and College Union, Unison and Unite.

Council Strike – List of Kingston school closures

30 November 2011
Up to 2 million to strike

Ahead of what is expected to be the largest industrial action in the UK in over thirty years, Kingston Council have announced the following school closures and expected disruptions for Wednesday 30 November 2011:

Primary schools due to close
  • Alexandra Infant
  • Burlington Infant & Nursery
  • Burlington Junior
  • Castle Hill School
  • Knollmead Primary
  • Maple Infant
  • Our Lady Immaculate
  • Robin Hood Primary
  • St. Agatha’s Primary
  • St. John’s Primary
  • St. Joseph’s Primary
  • St. Luke’s Primary
  • St. Pauls Junior
  • St. Paul’s Primary
Primary schools due to be partially closed
  • Christ Church NM Primary
  • Christ Church Primary
  • Fern Hill Primary
  • Grand Avenue
  • King Athelstan
  • King’s Oak Primary
  • Lovelace Primary
  • Malden Manor Primary
  • Malden Parochial
  • St Mary’s Primary
  • Tolworth Juniors
Primary schools due to be open
  • Coombe Hill Infants
  • Coombe Hill Junior
  • Corpus Christi
  • Ellingham Primary
  • Green Lane Primary
  • Latchmere School
  • St. Andrew’s & St. Mark’s Junior
  • St. Matthew’s
  • Surbiton Children’s Centre ((Open for extended day services only)
  • Tolworth Infants (Nursery closed)
Secondary schools due to close (Schools will be open for students sitting exams)
  • Chessington Community College
  • Coombe Boys
  • Coombe Girls School
  • The Holy Cross School
  • The Hollyfield School
  • Richard Challoner School (Academy)
  • Southborough School
  • Tiffin (Boys) School (Academy)
  • Tiffin Girls’ School (Academy)
  • Tolworth Girls School (Academy)
Special schools due to close
  • Bedelsford School
  • Dysart School
  • St. Philip’s School
Pupil referral Units due to close (Schools will be open for students sitting exams)
  • Malden Oaks
  • Mecklenburg

Coombe Vale By-election – Labour candidates announced

19 November 2011
Labour candidates

Ian Parker and Nick Bown

The Labour Party has announced that its candidates for the Coombe Vale double by-election on 15 December 2011 will be Nick Bown and Ian Parker.

Nick Bown has lived in New Malden all his life, works in publishing and volunteers at a local homelessness shelter. His campaign states his concern about “the impact that the Tory-Lib Dem Government’s cuts to police” will have on the area.
Ian Parker has lived in the Groves for over ten years. He is an advisor to Labour Shadow Ministers in Parliament and has highlighted the “Tory-Lib Dem Health Bill, now threatening health and care services in Kingston” as a key issue.
The Labour candidates have started their campaign by pointing out that the by-election caused by the resignation of two Conservative councillors 18 months into the council term will cost local taxpayers £25,000.
Further details on Nick Bown and Ian Parker can be found on the Kingston Labour Party website .
Details of the candidates standing in the double by-election can be found on the Coombe Vale election page.

Coombe Vale by-election – Lib Dem candidates announced

16 November 2011

Lib Dem candidates

Kamala Kugan(l) and Rupert Nichol(r)

The Liberal Democrat candidates for the two vacant council seats in Coombe Vale, Kingston upon Thames have been confirmed as Rupert Nichol and Kamala Kugan.

Kamala Kugan will be familiar with the ground having stood for election in 2010, finishing 290 votes behind the third place Conservative. Rupert Nichol stood for election in the North Kingston ward of Tudor at the 2010 local election.

Some background on both candidates can be found on their 2010 election Lib Dem biography pages: Rupert Nichol and Kamala Kugan.

Candidates have until 12noon on Friday 18 November to hand in their nomination papers to stand.

Details of all candidates standing for election will be listed on the Coombe Vale election page once confirmed.

Coombe Vale by-election – Lib Dems go on the attack

10 November 2011

Kingston’s Liberal Democrats have started their campaign for the two vacant Coombe Vale council seats by questioning the circumstances preceding the resignation of former Conservative councillor Robert-John Tasker.

Lib Dem councillor Mary Heathcote issued the following statement on the St Mark’s Lib Dem website:

“Conservative Robert-John Tasker has resigned as Councillor for Coombe Vale ward in New Malden. As I understand it, he has been working in America for several months while still claiming thousands of pounds of public money in councillor allowances, including his shadow executive member’s pay. I can’t see how he has managed to perform his duties from thousands of miles away”.

Fellow Surbiton councillor Neil Houston clearly agrees. So much so, in fact, that he also issued the exact same quote, word for word, in his own name on his Surbiton Hill website.

Spot the difference

Meanwhile, Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov suggests on his Living on words blog that  (working full time in the USA and not attending any council meetings since 14th July) ” Cllr Tasker still found time to claim £2,500 allowances from the taxpayer”.

I guess the Liberal Democrats feel that there’s some political (air?) mileage in this issue.

Coombe Vale candidates and election deadlines

Coombe Vale by-election – Conservative candidates announced

9 November 2011

Coombe Vale Conservatives have announced details of their chosen candidates for the double by-election to be held on Thursday 15 December 2011.

Coombe Vale Conservative candidates

Julie Pickering (l) and Lynne Finnerty (r)

The candidates are Julie Pickering, a Coombe Vale resident for 22 years, and Lynne Finnerty, who lists a new school in the New Malden and Coombe area as one of her main priorities if elected.

Full profiles are available on the Coombe Vale Conservatives website

Details of the other candidates will appear on the Coombe Vale election page as they are revealed.

Candidates have until 12noon on 18 November 2011 to submit their nomination papers.

Coombe Vale by-election – second councillor resigns

7 November 2011

Double by election

The Surrey Comet is reporting that a second councillor has now resigned his seat in Coombe Vale ward.

Following last week’s resignation of Mr RJ Tasker, Mr James White has become the second councillor in a matter of days to stand down. No details have been released as to the reason.

The election on Thursday 15 December will now be a double election to fill both of the vacant council seats.

Mr Adrian Holder remains as Coombe Vale’s sole councillor until 15 December (although perhaps someone should check with him if he has any plans he’d like to share!).

Planning on voting or standing in the election? Check out the key dates in the Coombe Vale election timetable

Coombe Vale By-election – Thursday 15th December 2011

2 November 2011

Updated – The date of the Coombe Vale By-Election has been confirmed for Thursday 15th December 2011.

This follows the resignation of Mr Robert-John Tasker.

Information from the council for those standing or voting in the election is listed below.

For candidates

Anyone wishing to stand as a candidate must complete a nomination paper and hand deliver it to the Returning Officer before NOON on Friday 18 November 2011.

For information about standing as a candidate and/or to request a nomination pack, contact Gareth Harrington on 020 8547 5035.

For voters

The deadline for registering to vote at the by-election is Midnight on Wednesday 30 November 2011

The deadline for applying for a postal vote is 5.00pm on Wednesday 30 November 2011

The deadline for applying for a proxy vote is 5.00pm on Wednesday 7 December 2011