Technical Skills Academy opening

Archive for October, 2012

Technical Skills Academy opening

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

It was great to be able to open the new Technical Skills Academy in Barking town centre recently. I was joined by Ed Balls MP and we were given a guided tour of this fantastic new facility in the heart of Barking.

When I first became MP, Marks & Spencer was just moving out and the town centre was unwelcoming. There’s more to do, but today we have the Learning Centre and the Barking Enterprise Centre together with new housing and a more pleasant and welcoming public space opposite the town hall.

We also have the Creative industries quarter in Abbey Road home to the Malthouse and the Granary building.

The Technical Skills Academy is part of the changing face of Barking town centre.

Technical skills opening

Locally, there are nearly 7,000 people out of work, with 7 people chasing every job. The figure for those people without a job for more than 12 months has doubled from 930 in May 2010 to 2,155 people today and there are 1,830 young people looking for work locally.

Getting the right skills is more important than ever. It’s even more important to help young people develop their skills so that they can progress into the job market.

Barking is becoming a more attractive place from which to run your business. We’ve got some good businesses in the borough and they are looking for people with the right skills, training and commitment.

I want to see more vacancies being filled by local people and the Technical Skills Academy will play a vital role in helping to achieve this.

East London Business EXPO

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

It was great to see so many business professionals at the Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce’s EXPO, which I opened recently.

The exhibition was aimed at all businesses not only in Barking & Dagenham, but across East London to help them to engage, do business with each other and drive up the level of economic activity.

There’s been a fantastic focus on East London with the Olympic Games over the Summer. Business is growing in Barking & Dagenham. There have been more than 100 new business start ups in the last two years. There is some evidence of businesses moving from other parts of London – take the Granary development in Abbey Road, Barking.

Barking Enterprise Centre, which provides free advice and support to any business based in the borough – is fully occupied. The Dagenham Business Centre has also been completed.

Businesses around the Creekmouth have also benefited with the reopening of Renwick Road bridge.

I’m pleased that The Chamber plans to hold more Exhibitions like this in future and I wish them every success in doing so.

Spending cuts are hitting local residents extra hard

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

The Government cuts are not good news for us in Barking and Dagenham. We are in the longest recession since the War, and we are feeling the effects.

Just take jobs and local health services.

You only have to glance at the latest unemployment figures to see the way some families are struggling. There are nearly 7000 people out of work with 7 people chasing every job. However, even more worrying is the number of long-term unemployed which has doubled from May 2010 to 2,155 people today.

1,500 families are going to be hit by the Tory-led Government’s housing benefit cuts.

This is one reason why I organised my second jobs fayre of the year at the Barking Learning Centre last Friday. More than 200 young people came which was really pleasing.

The National Apprenticeship Service DABD (UK), Lifeline Community Projects, the Council’s Job Shop,UniversityofEast London, Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, Barclays, HSBC, McDonalds were all on hand to offer advice and tips. I’m especially grateful to Barking & Dagenham College for their help.

The Government’s cuts are also the real reason behind the changes being made to our local health services. The news that they’re going to close King George’s maternity services in 2013 followed a recent visit I made to the Hospital. They are justifying the closure by saying that mums can travel to Newham and Barts as well as Queen’s.

The reality is that the Trust which runs Queen’s and King George has run out of money. Over the summer, the Department of Health announced that Queen’s would receive £17m a year to help pay for the building. But the Trust is still having to find massive savings. It’s £40m in debt and is cutting services by £23m alone this year. They need to cut their total budget by a quarter from £400m to £300m in the next 5 years. That means longer waiting lists, longer waits in clinics and at the A&E and longer journeys for many Barking and Dagenham residents.

It’s crazy to close maternity services at Queen’s when we have nearly 4,000 births in the borough. And it’s just as mad to close the A&E at King George when more people are choosing to live here – but that is what they will end up doing.

We all know that the state of the economy means we have to take hard decisions. But One Nation Labour would make sure that decisions are fair to everybody and that disabled people, the elderly, the sick and the young are protected from the impact of the recession.

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Friday, October 5th, 2012

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Putting a stop to hospital bus confusion

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

I’m so pleased that I’ve managed to clear up the confusion over which bus stop serves the new Barking Hospital site on Upney Lane.

I was contacted by Barking resident Anne Wear, who was concerned that the stop for the number 62 bus signed ‘Barking Hospital’ was at the junction of Sandringham Road and Upney Lane – some 200 yards away from the hospital’s main entrance.

The previous stop on the number 62 route, which serves Upney tube station, is located directly outside the entrance to the hospital. Anne spotted that the bus stops needed to be re-signed and asked if I could help.

I got in touch with Transport for London, who agreed to change the signs on the bus stops. As a result, the stop at Upney station has been re-named ‘Upney Station/Barking Hospital’ and the old drop off point has been re-named ‘Sandringham Road’.

It wasn’t right that patients were being told to alight the bus at a stop which was not the nearest one to the hospital entrance, particularly if they have difficulty walking.

I want to thank Anne for bringing this issue to my attention and I would urge local residents to contact my office if they have an issue they would like me to take up.

You can contact my office on 0208 594 1333 or by emailing [email protected]. Residents can also write to me at 102 North Street, Barking, Essex, IG11 8LA.