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Ham&High in-depth analysis: candidates quizzed by community (part10)

PUBLISHED: 11:45 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 07 September 2010

12) What will you do about the degradation of the High Streets and the increasing numbers of coffee shops and chain stores at the expense of independent shops? GL: We have already said a number of things about supporting small local businesses. We woul

12) What will you do about the degradation of the High Streets and the increasing numbers of coffee shops and chain stores at the expense of independent shops?

GL: We have already said a number of things about supporting small local businesses. We would introduce a Wedge Card like in Camden and make parking easier, we have covered that. I support local businesses, not for the sake of it but there are two strands to it. One is jobs the other is the sense of local community which comes from small local shops. They are part of a community and its identification. They are a place for the members of the community to go for a chat etc. That is why I support local businesses, not just for business per se. SCORE = 1

JS: We've already mentioned business rates I'd like to use compulsory purchase orders to bring derelict shops back into use - such as the burnt out shop at the bottom of Camden High Street which has been there for 10 years and is a real eye sore. SCORE = 0

NB: We think that we should be able to strengthen council's licensing powers so that they can support and maintain local businesses. Local businesses employ six times more people per pound spent than big companies likes Tesco. They also keep money in the local community. SCORE = 0

FD: The fact is that the chains have lots of money and can afford to pay far more rent than the local traders can afford. You need changes in the planning system so the council can give priority to genuine local businesses rather than the chains of coffee shops. At the heart of all this is rents - I knew a group of people from the Bangladeshi community who worked very hard to turn a restaurant into a success story. In three years the rents went up from £6,000 a year to £60,000. SCORE = 1

13) A) What would you do about the current proposals from NORTH Central London NHS which could see the closure of A&es including the Whittington?

B) Would you serve in a government that allows the closure of the Whittington A&E?

GL: We are the only party that has come out and said we would stop that from happening. Our shadow health minister has been to the patch and made that clear. WE would ring fence NHS funding unlike Gordon Brown. I personally have been to the Whittington. I was inured in the Broadwater Farm Riots with many colleagues when I was in the police so the hospital has a place in my heart. I also campaigned against the creation of Polyclinics in the Regent's Park Ward and I campaigned against the closure of the Royal Free stroke unit. SCORE = 2

JS: A) I'm opposed to any closure of frontline services. I think it's madness especially [the proposals] to close A&E in a relatively deprived part of London.

B) No. SCORE = 3

NB: A) We think local people need local medical services and the whole process of centralisation is wrong. But even more fundamental than that is a House of Commons select committee said recently that the whole 20-year split between purchasers and providers of medical services has failed and we need to re-think about the way we organise medical services. We need to ensure they are publicly owned and publicly run.

B) No. A government that was doing that sort of thing would just not be my type of government. SCORE = 2

FD: A) I believe the Whittington Hospital's A&E cannot be closed. It would cost more money because money has been invested in the buildings and the equipment whereas the bureaucrats are proposing to carry out work in clinics in Islington which have not even been built yet. We all accept for certain super specialities they won't be available in every hospital. Would I serve in a government that allows the closure of the A&E?

B) No I wouldn't. SCORE = 4

14) In my experience one of the things that most strongly mitigates against social cohesion in Camden is Section 44 Stop and Search procedures used by the Police disproportionately against black and Asian young men. Do the candidates agree that this is a serious issue and what would they do to ensure that law and order enforcement is just and fair?

GL: I was an ex policeman and a founder of the Black Policeman's Association so dealing with issues like racism is part of what I have been doing. I was also a race relations advisor. Yes there are issues and potential training issues with some police officers. We need to tackle crime and anti social behaviour and it needs to be tackled with the community and my approach is diversion, education, enforcement and prevention. We need to use some of their energy and get them out of the estates and peer groups they are in. There's loads of other things we can do with the young people. We need to discipline students and increase standards with smaller class sizes. We also need to support them and give them the counselling they need. We need to put more police on the streets with better training. In terms of sentencing we need to get rid of the early release problem which makes a mockery of justice system. There are parents out there who need help to be good parents so we need to put on parenting classes to help them understand kids. We also need to get the community involved. SCORE = 1

JS: I do agree it's a serious issue. There's an overlap between police, civil liberties and community cohesion. I think the police do a very good job in Camden but we need more police on the streets. One of my party's policies is to scrap ID cards to have 3,000 more officers on the street.

I've also campaigned to get young people's DNA removed from the Data base.

Justice and fairness is down to the training of officers, before they start work through to them working as an officer. SCORE = 3

NB: Yes I think it's a serious issue. The police need to work with the community to ensure that when policing measures are taken they are necessary and proportionate. SCORE = 1

FD: It's clear there's a disproportionate number of black and Asian people being stopped and I don't think changing the law makes very much difference either way. It's the police process that needs to be changed. They need to be more thoughtful, careful and have genuinely targeted people they have reasonable suspicion of doing something wrong. SCORE = 4

15) Funding for Royal Parks has been cut dramatically in recent years. Can you guarantee funding for the Royal Parks organisation.

GL: I cannot guarantee funding for anything other than the NHS and foreign aid. We are not getting involved in this at this stage. SCORE = 0

JS: Personally, no I can't. But I agree it's an important issue and will do everything I can to ensure there's sufficient funding. SCORE = 3

NB: I can't guarantee it, but I'd certainly fight for it. We need open spaces and natural environments for our health and well being. SCORE = 3

FD: The parks do continue to be funded. The question is what level they should be funded at. The facilities in Regents Park are now much better than they used to be. The football pitches and changing facilities have had lots of money invested in them. I don't accept that there's been any running down of facilities in Regents Park or Primrose Hill. SCORE = 0


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