CROYDON CLEARING MORE THAN 50 FLY-TIPS A DAY / FREEDOM PASS RENEWALS IN BROMLEY / HAVE YOUR SAY ON LANDLORD LICENSING SCHEME / 400 FIRMS NOW PAYING LONDON LIVING WAGE / BMW BENEFIT CHEAT FACING JAIL
CROYDON CLEARING MORE THAN 50 FLY-TIPS A DAY
AN AVERAGE OF 50 fly-tips a day are being cleared by Croydon council contractors across the borough.
Latest figures for July to September also reveal the council’s contractor Veolia has cleared 4,894 fly-tips leading to 135 fines being issued and a further 30 investigations under way for environmental offences.
More than 80 per cent of fly-tips removed within the target time of 48 hours, say Croydon.
A council spokeswoman said: The numbers reflect progress being made as part of the council’s Don’t Mess With Croydon campaign to crack down on fly-tipping and clean up the borough.
“More and more residents are also coming forward to throw their weight behind the campaign” said the spokeswoman..
“Street stalls held in various locations across the borough have seen more than 120 people sign up to become community champions in the last three months, where they act as ambassadors for the campaign in their area and report any fly-tipping incidents to the council.
“It has also become much easier to report fly-tipping.
“The My Croydon smartphone app allows people to take a picture of a fly-tip, provide a few basic details such as location, and then send to the council so action can be taken straightaway.
“Following the launch of the campaign, an email address email@example.com was also set up exclusively for the reporting of fly-tipping.
Cllr Stuart Collins, cabinet member for Clean, Green Croydon, said “We’re taking a hearts and minds approach where we are trying to promote a greater responsibility among residents, and encouraging them to take pride in the area they live in.
“The council cannot be everywhere at once, which is why we depend on residents being our eyes and ears, and letting us know of any fly-tips in their area.
“They can be assured that we will follow up reports immediately, and in the vast majority of cases ensure fly-tips are cleared within 48 hours. “It doesn’t end there either, as where there is evidence, we will pursue offenders and take them to court if necessary.”
You can report fly-tipping by downloading the My Croydon app, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the flytip hotline on 020 8604 7000. The council is only able to take action against fly-tipping on council-owned land. (Source: Croydon council press release.)
FREEDOM PASS RENEWALS IN BROMLEY
Bromley residents with Freedom Passes expiring at the end of next March will soon receive a letter explaining how to renew their pass.
The Freedom Pass allows older adults to travel on public transport for free across the capital – as well as on local bus services throughout England at certain times – and is Europe’s most comprehensive free travel scheme.
Around 860,000 of the 1.3million older person’s Freedom Pass users across London will renew their passes between November and December – including 55,000 in Bromley.
Pass holders are being encouraged to renew online between November and December. The process takes only a few minutes and has been carefully designed to be as straightforward as possible.
Anyone unable to renew online can do so through the post using the form enclosed with their letter, though renewals are no longer possible at the Post Office.
Anyone whose older person’s pass expires on 31 March next year is entitled to a new one, provided they still live in London – all they have to do is wait until their letter arrives and then follow the instructions.
New passes can be used as soon as they are received, there is no need to wait for the old ones to expire though these should be destroyed. People are advised not to panic if others have their letters and they are still waiting – all letters will arrive by the end of December.
Executive member for resources Cllr Graham Arthur said: “Bromley spends nearly £10 million a year on Freedom Passes, so this is an incredible benefit for our older people.
“Once residents receive their renewal letter, they should go online and follow the simple instructions to renew the pass if they still need it. “Those without internet access at home can do so in the borough’s libraries.”
For more information, visit www.freedompass.org (Source: Bromley council press release.)
HAVE YOUR SAY ON LANDLORD LICENSING SCHEME
People in Croydon borough are being invited to have their say on a landlord licensing scheme which the council say will protect tenants and crack down on rogue landlords who provide poor quality housing.
‘A Better Place to Rent’ will improve conditions in private rented accommodation by requiring every private landlord to obtain a licence, whereby they will have to demonstrate they have met a series of health and safety checks, said a council spokeswoman.
“The scheme will also require stringent “fit and proper” checks of landlords for any criminal convictions.
“Those renting out a property without a licence face fines of up to £20,000, while those who fail to comply with licence conditions can be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.
“Private renting has increased significantly in Croydon with one of the negative consequences being poor quality homes, noise, litter, fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour.
“The scheme aims to tackle these problems by bringing in tougher controls of private landlords.
“Croydon has approximately 30,000 privately rented properties, and this scheme aims to ensure they are decent and safe places for tenants to live” the spokeswoman added.
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We want to make Croydon a better place to rent. I have spoken to many tenants who fear reporting their poor housing conditions as they feel they risk losing their homes.
“Similarly, I have spoken to many residents, up and down our borough, who say their lives are blighted by poorly kept rented accommodation on their streets.
“We want to get a better deal for private tenants – and for landlords too. A landlord with a licence means a landlord who is responsible, takes care of his/her property, and tenants too.
“We’ve looked closely at how a similar scheme has worked in Newham, which was very well-received, with no evidence of rent levels changing.
“We realise this proposal has already triggered a lot of debate, and so we urge both tenants and other local residents to have their say by taking part in this consultation.”
Consultation begins on 17 November and runs until 12 December. People can take part by visiting www.croydon.gov.uk/betterplacetorent
A forum event will also be held at the Conference Centre in Surrey Street, Croydon, from 6pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, 27 November. People must register if they wish to attend, as numbers are limited. Visit http://www.m-e-l.co.uk/croydon.aspx or call MEL research on 0121 604 4664.
(Source: Croydon council press release.)
400 FIRMS NOW PAYING LONDON LIVING WAGE “Need to get more on board” says Mayor
THE NUMBER of employers paying the London Living Wage has doubled in the last year – but there is a need to get more on board, especially in the retail and hospitality sectors.
That’s the message from Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
There were just 27 employers offering the Living Wage when I became Mayor in 2008. Now more than 400 London businesses of all shapes and sizes have recognised the benefits of fair pay.
But we still need more to get on board. Paying a living wage is a win-win scenario for workers and employers alike.
Announcing the increase, Boris said that not only had the numbers gone up, but the London Living Wage has gone up from £8.80 to £9.15 an hour. (Source: Mayor of London’s office)
BMW BENEFIT CHEAT FACING JAIL
A property-owning benefit cheat could go to jail after being convicted of fraud, say Croydon council.
The 44-year-old woman from Thornton Heath, drove around in a new BMW and sent her children to private school.
Meanwhile she claimed housing and council tax benefits without declaring that she was married to her landlord, and failed to tell the council that she owned a Thornton Heath property.
was found guilty of nine offences taking place from 1999 to 2009, when she pocketed £43,000 in benefits she wasn’t entitled to.
Jurors at Croydon Crown Court heard she was also given council housing, as she told the council that she was homeless and forced to live in overcrowded conditions with a friend.
The woman has been found guilty of eight charges of dishonestly making a false representation and a single count of obtaining property by deception and was due to be sentenced yesterday (Thursday 13 November.)
Cllr Simon Hall, cabinet member for finance and treasury, said: “It is people like her who abuse the benefits system that gives the system a bad name.
“Her criminal lifestyle went on for 10 years, but this case goes to show that eventually, fraudsters will be caught and punished, and made to pay back the benefits they have illegally claimed.”
(Source: Croydon council press release.)