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Tice: Big Ben situation is pathetic
Brexit Party MEP Richard Tice says it is "pathetic" that Parliament can't get Big Ben to ring on Brexit day.

GLA Conservatives: 'People don’t want more City Hall staff'

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Leader of the GLA Conservatives, Susan Hall, has criticised the Mayor of London for increasing the spending on City Hall Staff by 82%.

Staff costs in Boris Johnson's final budget for 2016-17 were £36m, while the proposed budget for 2020-21 under Mr Khan show them to be at £65.5m.

At Mayors Question Time Mrs Hall said: "You should be looking at where you are spending the money.

"I say to you people don’t want more people in this building. They want police officers out there keeping people safe."

Woman sought over widespread holiday bookings fraud

Hayley King
Met Police

A 34-year-old west London woman is being sought by detectives in connection with numerous "travel" frauds.

Hayley King, who had been living in the Feltham area, is described as 5ft 10 in, medium build with a scar on her left arm.

It is alleged Ms King made bookings as an "internet travel agent" using a company called Around The World Travel.

Victims would subsequently find no bookings had been made or only a small amount of holiday had been paid for.

Detectives have identified 56 victims of fraud across the country with a loss of around £125,000.

They believe Ms King may have travelled to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands in March last year and hasn't returned.

Detective Constable Ryan Maginnes of the Met’s Economic Crime Command, said:“We urgently want to trace Hayley King and would ask anyone with information to contact police. If she is abroad you can contact the local force and give them your information.

“We would also ask anyone else who thinks they may have been a victim of this fraud to contact police. It is my fear that there may be other victims who are not yet aware that their holidays have not been paid for. Anyone with information should contact police or Crimestoppers.”

Harrow to focus on suicide prevention

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Men and young people have been identified as target groups as part of a suicide prevention programme in north-west London.

Harrow Council’s health and wellbeing board discussed a draft report into tackling suicide and improving residents’ mental health in Harrow and Brent.

It noted the comparatively low rates of suicide in the region, when compared to citywide and national averages, but stressed that more can be done.

The report referenced the impact of social media, particularly among young people, and board member Cllr Janet Mote said it is important to brief schools on how this can affect pupils’ mental health.

Efforts in this area increased following the death of 14-year-old Harrow schoolgirl Molly Russell in 2017 – her parents believe messages and posts on social media were partly responsible.

Paul Hewitt, director of people’s services at Harrow Council, said: “The schools network has a relatively good understanding of the issues and they try to work with parents.

“But we still need to do more and that’s why we need to identify this as a key theme.” The report also identified men – particularly young and middle-aged men – as the demographic most at risk.

Cllr Simon Brown, responsible for adults and public health at Harrow Council, said the borough should get on board with the Mayor of London’s plan to make the capital a zero-suicide city.

Exhibition to explore history of Dub music in London

Channel One Sound System
Eddie Otchere

A specialist record store is set to open in the Museum of London as part of its latest exhibition.

Dub London will explore the history of Dub Reggae music in the capital, looking at how its has influenced musicians from numerous genres as well as studying the cultural and social impact it has had across the city.

Other objects which will be on display include a speaker stack belonging to Channel One Sound System that has appeared every year at Notting Hill Carnival since 1983 and a selection of records curated by representatives of various independent record shops who have strong links to Reggae and Dub.

Supertone Records, Brixton
Museum of London

Dub music involves using a recording studio itself as an instrument and has its roots in Jamaican reggae.

As exhibition's curator Cedar Lewisohn explains: "Even though most of this music originated in the Caribbean and Jamaica, London quickly became important to Dub Reggae: Dub record labels were started in London, and Dub music was produced in London and exported to the rest of the world."

"This display will be a unique and impressive way to tell the story of how Dub culture has shaped the identity of the capital and us as Londoners," he said.

Dub London will open on 8 May and run until August.

Council builds 200 new homes in central London

Westminster City Council

Westminster City Council has launched a new housing development in the heart of Paddington Basin, delivering 197 new homes.

Dudley House is a £104m council-led, mixed-use development that "aims to encourage a more diverse community in central London by tackling the critical shortage of affordable housing in the City of Westminster", Westminster City Council said

Dudley house incorporates 197 council-owned residential in a modern residential block, it added.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, said: “Just 2% of homes in our City are for those on average or ‘intermediate’ incomes. We need to ensure that those who work here have a chance of living here - that means people like the families, doctors and nurses who keep Westminster moving.

“Dudley House is an example of how a local authority, working with partners, can build affordable and attractive properties in the middle of a capital city with an intense crush on its housing stock and sky-high rents.

"The City Council is leading an ambitious programme to deliver 1,850 affordable homes by 2023, and Dudley House is an important milestone in that work.”

The project also includes a new permanent home for Marylebone Boys School, a church and a retail unit.

Second charge over Newham stabbing murder

A second man has been charged over last month's fatal stabbing of 29-year-old Leshawn Williams in Newham, east London.

Jerome Hyde, 28, was arrested after attending a south police station yesterday and charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.

He is due to appear in court later.

Mr Williams died after being stabbed in Hanameel Street, near London City Airport, in the early hours of 21 December.

Mr Hyde's arrest comes just days after his 28-year-old brother Michael was also arrested for the murder of Mr Williams.

Traffic reduction plans for Brick Lane considered

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Proposals which could see traffic access drastically reduced in the East End’s famous Brick Lane are being discussed by Tower Hamlets council.

Residents and business owners are being invited to workshops to discuss ways walking and cycling can be made easier in the area in a bid to improve air quality.

The council said a consultation last year found people wanted to see “improvements to traffic management as well as safer pedestrian and cycle access” in Brick Lane.

Plans to overhaul the area, famous for its many curry restaurants, as part of the local authority’s “Liveable Streets” programme are now being discussed and are expected to be revealed later this year.

A council spokesman said there are no “concrete proposals at this stage” but the workshops will discuss “the ideas we’ve received to date as well as relevant local data such as traffic flows, air quality and road collisions”.

Rent rise on the cards to pay for improvements

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Rents paid by council tenants in Brent could go up by almost three per cent to help cover improvement works and new fire safety measures.

Brent Council launched a consultation on the issue after it suggested a rent increase of 2.7% for 2020/21.

This represents an average of an extra 55p per week, with the cost of utilities, helpline and concierge services set to go up.

The council said the additional revenue will support improvements to council homes in the borough, day to day repairs and the installation of “new technology”.

It added the money would also be used to deliver a new fire safety programme. If approved, the council intends to spend £3 million on new fire safety measures in council homes.

A further £13.5 million would be set aside for building investments, another £10 million would cover day to day repairs and £500,000 would contribute towards estate improvements.

Rent levels have been frozen over the past four years and, according to the council, this proposed increase is in line with the regulator for social housing’s rent standard guidance. Resident have got until 26 January to have their say.

Two critically injured in Forest Gate double stabbing

Crime scene in Forest Gate

Two men are in a critical condition in hospital following a double stabbing in east London overnight.

Police were called to Forest Lane in Forest Gate shortly before midnight over reports of an attack.

Two men, aged 19 and 23, were found with multiple injuries. The Met said they were both in a life threatening condition.

A male in his late teens has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and is in custody.

New cycle route for south east London

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Artists' impression of cycle way
Artists' impression of the Greenwich to Woolwich Cycleway

Transport for London (TfL) says a new cycle lane in south east London will reduce danger on a road plagued by accidents.

The 6.5km Woolwich to Greenwich cycle path along the A206 Woolwich Road would connect Cycle Superhighway 4 to Tower Bridge.

There were more than 200 injuries in Woolwich Road over 2017 and 2018, including a number of deaths.

Under TfL’s new plans, Angerstein roundabout would be ripped out and replaced with a junction.

The transport body also wants to install a bike lane separate from traffic – now mandatory for new cycle routes on busy London roads.

There will be new pedestrian crossings, and pavements will be widened to make it easier for residents to walk safely.

And there will be two kilometres of extra bus lane on the A206 – speeding up journeys on the 161, 472, 180 and 177 buses.

A consultation on the first stage of the scheme is now open, and will run until 16 February.

CCTV appeal after fatal stabbing near Harrods

Met Police

Police have released CCTV of two men they want to identify after a student was stabbed to death near Harrods during an attempted robbery.

Omani national Mohammed Al-Araimi, 20, was attacked by as he and a friend made their way home from a restaurant in Knightsbridge just before midnight on 5 December.

Det Ch Insp Andy Partridge said Mr Al-Araimi, who was studying at King's College, had been killed during "a planned robbery that was truly shocking and extremely violent".

“I am convinced that the public can provide names for those males featured in the CCTV images we have released today," he said

A £20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of those responsible for his killing.

Met Police

Crossrail could be delayed until autumn 2021

Getty Images

London's Crossrail project might now not open until the autumn of 2021, according to Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown.

The project was originally supposed to be finished in December 2018 but has suffered several setbacks.

Last year Crossrail Ltd admitted that the line would probably not open until the spring of 2021.

Parts of the route, named the Elizabeth Line, are running already, but the central section is yet to open.

"The assumption we've made is, I suppose, at the pessimistic end, but it's at the pragmatic end and you would expect us to take that approach," Mr Brown told the London Assembly.

The cost of the project could reach £18.25bn, more than £2bn more than the original budget.

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