The Betrayal of Waltham Forest

Councillors Y and Z – and their “coalition” colleagues past and present – have some very serious explaining to do.

Read the Waltham Forest Guardian’s take on Waltham Forest Council’s Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF)/ Better Neighbourhoods Initiative (BNI) scandal HERE and the BBC’s report HERE.

Download and read the independent report (which only scratches the surface) HERE.

THURSDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2009 UPDATE – HERE and HERE.

FRIDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2009 UPDATE – HERE.

MONDAY 11TH JANUARY 2010 UPDATE – HERE.

FRIDAY 15TH JANUARY 2010 UPDATE – HERE.

THURSDAY 21ST JANUARY 2010 UPDATE – PRIVATE EYE (22 January – 4 Feb. 2010 (No.1254), Pg 13, Rotten Boroughs section – reproduced below)

‘Munificent Seven

Question: WHEN millions of pounds of public money go missing, what does any self-respecting council do? Answer: Hold an inquiry. Unless the council is Waltham Forest, where so much dosh has gone astray it has held seven.

The most recent, headed by Sir Peter Rogers, chief executive of the London Development Agency, has concluded that money is still going awol due to poor procedures, lack of accountability and fraud. It remains a mystery where millions of pounds – no one is sure how much – of government money handed out under the Better Neighbourhoods Initiative (BNI) to help children in deprived wards ended up.

When auditors investigated allegations that several millions has been diverted from its intended purpose and spent on the Olympics instead, they found files that had been doctored and were “incomplete”.

Another inquiry conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that of 105 contracts awarded under the BNI, only three were done by the book. For example, a one-day event for teachers, organised by “community cohesion adviser” Munir Zamir, cost £26,000. Guest speakers were paid £6,000; “marketing”, “refreshments”, and a “Q&A session” all cost £3,000 each. Which makes a grand total of £15,000. Where the other £11,000 went has not been explained.

So far Waltham Forest’s hunt-the-money game has itself cost at least £100,000.

Kerrrching!’

THURSDAY 28TH JANUARY 2010 UPDATE – HERE.


SUNDAY 31ST JANUARY 2010 UPDATE – HERE.

TUESDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2010 UPDATE – HERE.

WEDNESDAY 17TH FEBRUARY 2010 UPDATE – HERE.

For Simon Tucker

julia-andrew-miranda-at-london-marathon

An absolutely lovely day out on Sunday supporting good friend Andrew Lock in his first ever London Marathon bid.

Andrew (pictured above after the race with wife Julia and I) is (amongst many other things) a superb runner and it was therefore no surprise to us that he managed to complete the race in an excellent 3 hours and 54 minutes.

Simon Tucker, good friend of Leyton and Wanstead CLP

But this year, the cause Andrew was running for made the event even more special.

Back in January, Simon Tucker (pictured above), a local Councillor in neighbouring Newham and a former councillor for the London Borough of Waltham Forest, who was also an extremely popular Leytonstone solicitor and community activist, suddenly passed away aged only 48.

Those of us who knew Simon (Andrew had served alongside Simon as a local councillor in Waltham Forest in the 1990s) were really shocked and many of his friends and comrades from Leyton and Wanstead still can’t believe he’s gone.

It was testimony to how loved Simon was that his funeral, held at St John’s Church in Leytonstone, was absolutely packed and was attended by both Harry Cohen MP and Lyn Brown MP, Sir Robin Wales and his Deputy Cllr Christine Bowden, Newham’s Greater London Assembly Member John Biggs, 33 Newham Councillors (including councillors from the opposition Respect and Christian People’s Alliance Party), at least 10 Waltham Forest councillors and umpteen former Waltham Forest councillors, representatives of local community groups, the Leytonstone business forum, and many many more.

Simon suffered from asthma and so Andrew thought it only appropriate to run for the charity Asthma UK, which supports British asthma sufferers and their families.

We know it might be too late to bring Simon back but Andrew hopes that some of the funds raised may be able to help other asthma sufferers.

Rest in Peace Simon.

You may be gone but you will never be forgotten.

Lots of love,

Andrew, Julia and Miranda

– To find out more about the work of Ashtma UK, go to: www.asthma.org.uk

Mayor of Waltham Forest’s Charity Dinner

Mayor's Invitation to Charity Dinner

Last week, I attended the Mayor of Waltham Forest’s charity dinner to raise funds for diabetes and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan.

Many of my council constituents in Leyton ward come from Pakistan and many people living in my ward (including most of my close family) suffer from diabetes. It was lovely to celebrate Pakistan’s birthday with all the residents who came, as well as to learn more about what we can do to combat this serious illness. Continue reading “Mayor of Waltham Forest’s Charity Dinner”

Waltham Forest Mela 2007

With Cllr Afzal Akram, Jennette Arnold AM and Neil Gerrard MP

I had an absolutely smashing day out at the Waltham Forest Mela 2007 on Sunday.

The sun were shining, the bhangra was pumping and the yummy yummy food was hot, hot, hot!

Many thanks and a huge well done to the excellent organising committee, of which my good colleague Cllr Asim Mahmood is a key member.

I know that Cllr Afzal Akram, Waltham Forest Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Community Safety; Jennette Arnold, Waltham Forest’s Labour Member of the London Assembly; and the excellent Neil Gerrard MP, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Walthamstow (all pictured with me above, left – right), all had a very nice time too :-)

On the Fast Track with the Leadership Academy

The FastTrack Crew

Just got home from Coventry, where I spent the weekend on the final module of the ‘Fast Track’ programme of the Improvement and Development Agency’s (IDeA’s) excellent Leadership Academy for local councillors.

Since January, myself and other “young” councillors from all over the country have travelled up to the University of Warwick for some really great training on our role as councillors and almost everything involved Continue reading “On the Fast Track with the Leadership Academy”