Thursday, 21 March 2013

A Budget for an Aspiration Nation

Yesterday, under a gloomy economic outlook, George Osborne delivered his fourth budget that focused on helping those who work hard and want to get on.

Critics on one side have argued that he needs to make much harsher cuts to get the deficit down quicker as national debt is scheduled to stand at approximately £1,400bn in 2015- roughly £25,000 for every household in the country. Unfortunately with a bleak international economic outlook, Osborne rejected this option.

On the other side, critics believe that he should now borrow more, thus increasing the deficit to pay for tax cuts, more spending or a combination of the two. However after not living within our means for the past decade the time has come to balance our books.

It is entirely right that during times of austerity the Conservative-led Government helps hardworking families who are struggling to make ends meet, which is why yesterday’s budget set out a range of measures to support people who work hard, save and aspire to a better life for themselves and their families.

Highlights include:

- Tax-free childcare- Government will pay 20% of a working family’s childcare bills every year- up to £1,200 per child. A family with two children will be up to £2,400 a year better off

- Personal allowance raised to £10,000- from April 2014, 2.7 million workers will be taken out of the tax system altogether. This is a tax cut for 24 million people, resulting in individuals paying £700 less in income tax than they did in 2010

- Fuel duty frozen- this creates the longest freeze in 20 years. Petrol prices are now 13p lower than they would have been under Labour’s plans, creating a saving for motorists of £170 more every year

- Help to buy scheme- helping people get on the housing ladder by a £3.5bn investment in government loans to financially stretched homebuyers and a £12bn scheme to increase the availability of mortgages to people who cannot afford a large deposit

- Boosting employment- from next April, the employer National Insurance bill of every business will be cut by up to £2,000. This means that they’ll be able to take up to 4 full time employees on minimum wage, without increasing their National Insurance bill

- Corporation Tax cut to 20% - giving Britain the lowest Corporation Tax in the G20 group of the world’s major economies


1p is being taken off the price of beer so cheers to us all and well done to Osborne for putting forward a budget that helps people who work hard, save and aspire to a better life for their themselves and their families.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Pilot programme for deaf children a resounding success

Last night I was invited to watch and participate in a pilot sports project for deaf children at the newly built Waddon Leisure Centre. The project has been coordinated by James Dixon and Jonathan Moore from Croydon's newest sporting co-operative JAM Total Sport Limited (JAM) who are working in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Sensory Impairment and Croydon Deaf Children's Society (CDCS). 

This multi-sport programme was developed to introduce young deaf people to exercise and team games as normally they do not get the chance to participate in main-stream team games. JAM sports coaches incorporated British Sign Language into the games and it was great to watch the children engage and participate as a team in an area of sport that they don't normally get to play. 

JAM are keen to work with other agencies and organisations to develop and design multi-sport programmes for their members as design their programmes for young people wishing to engage with sport, either as a leisure or competitive activity and who may not have found any one sport that fully meets their needs.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Croydon

This week is International Women’s Week and Friday marks the 102nd International Women’s Day, where once again people from around the world will celebrate female success and achievement.

International Women’s Day will call for action to end violence against women that both men and women  across the globe must do more to address. We must all be part of the solution to this heinous human rights violation and barrier to tackling global challenges such as extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS and conflict.

Here in the UK, the Coalition Government has provided nearly £40 million of ring-fenced funding for specialist  domestic and sexual violence services, and national helplines. They have also invested in changing attitudes and behaviours and are reforming legislation by introducing two new stalking offences to better protect victims and better support the police and prosecutors who bring about justice.

However more still needs to be done and March 8th provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of women and to highlight the needs and concerns of women.

In Croydon, the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Forum (DASV) will be celebrating International Women’s Day on Friday at the CVA Resource Centre, London Road, CR0 2TB, 12pm-5pm with an empowering event attracting local women as well as professionals working with them.

The event will offer a range of informative stalls from statutory and voluntary sector agencies providing information about local services for women, inspirational speakers, music and more.

To confirm your attendance please register your place with:   

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Old Town Masterplan Workshop - 26 March

As a follow up to October's meeting on The Old Town Masterplan, Croydon Council is inviting local residents to an ideas workshop that will be held on Tuesday 26 March, 6.30pm-8.30pm at Matthews Yard for people who live, work and shop in Old Town.

The workshop will be an opportunity for local residents and business owners as local experts, to provide Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners and Croydon Council with valuable local opinions and information on the buildings, streets, public spaces and transport in the Old Town area and also let us know what you believe are the important issues and opportunities for the built environment.

Attendees will also be able to discuss and explore options for the future of the area with the masterplanning team and other local people. The information gained at this event will be used to inform the emerging options being developed through the masterplaning process.

To confirm your attendance please email: