We've had a lot of community events happening locally over the past fortnight and I had the honour of laying a wreath on behalf of our community at our local Remembrance Sunday service last Sunday. In Parliament I've been pressing Ministers to get on with making sure the vacant platforms at Waterloo can be used to help ease overcrowding on our overland service, but as ever, there's a lot more going on that that so I here's my latest MP update.
Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day
The sacrifice of our servicemen and women in past conflicts but also presently in Afghanistan is one that is constantly in the news. Every week at Prime Ministers Question, all party leaders pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Last Saturday I joined other members of Putney Rotary Club at the Battersea Fireworks Display collecting for Help for Heroes (www.helpforheroes.org.uk) and it struck me how many younger people gave money and were wearing poppies. We managed to collect over £3,000, an amazing amount for one evening. On Remembrance Sunday I joined our local British Legion and other Putney residents at St Mary's Church to lay a wreath on behalf of our community. After a moving church service, I spent time at the Legion talking with ex-servicemen and women and also with members of our local Territorial Army. On Armistice Day itself I was with the British Legion as we held a 2 minute silence in the Putney Exchange Shopping Centre. Help for Heroes (www.helpforheroes.org.uk) is a great way to support our troops who have been wounded and as an MP in Parliament I have raised issues of how well we look after servicemen and women when they return home.
Waterloo Station and Vacant Platforms
As anyone who uses the overland train service from Putney knows, we've got a real problem with overcrowding on our local service. Part of relieving the overcrowding and congestion is to get the platforms at Waterloo Station, vacated by Eurostar two years ago brought into use for local services. I've been concerned about the delays on this and raised our concerns with Ministers, Network Rail and South West Rail on many occasions. Recently I tabled a parliamentary question to find out just how much we're spending on keep the platforms idle. It works out at £2m a year.
I think this money would surely be better spent on actually bringing the platforms into use, investing in the new carriages we need, and upgrading platforms at stations which need the work to take the longer trains. I will continue to press the Department for Transport to get cracking on making these platforms available for our local rail services but it certainly costs a lot to keep them idle.
Burglary rise locally
Last week I met with Inspector Martin to discuss a range of crime and anti-social behaviour issues that residents have raised with me. Locally we've recently also seen burglaries rise which is very concerning indeed. Burglary can be particularly a risk for people living in flats with a communal door, where once a burglar has got into the block they can break into properties more out of sight. Wherever you live, there are some simple steps that you can take to minimise the risk you'll be burgled (http://www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention/house.htm), and you can also get free advice on home security and fire safety via a service called Flash that is run by Victim Support Wandsworth and supported by the council. If you'd like to find out more you can contact Flash and Victim Support Wandsworth on 020 7223 1234 or email them on email@example.com. Residents often get in touch with me with concerns about crime or anti-social behaviour and if you have concerns about crime then do let me know and I can follow them up with our local police.
Out and About
I had chance to meet up with the All Saints Senior Social group at All Saints Church last Monday which I really enjoyed, especially getting chance to have a chat about not just local issues but also concerns about what's happening nationally. Last weekend I was also honoured to be able to attend an event with the women of our local Ahmadiyya community at the mosque in Morden to discuss womens' contribution to our society today from an Islamic perspective. It was very interesting indeed to hear different perspectives, and the event had women from across our local community - from churches, local councillors, voluntary groups, schools - it was great to see everyone together. This week I went to the Wandsworth Civic Awards ceremony to see local people who have worked hard for our local community for years and years get recognition for the wonderful efforts they have made. The award recipients have no idea they are going to get an award so seeing their expressions as they realise what's happening is very special.
Don't forget I'm always around as MP if you need my help. I have a weekly MP surgery and over the past four years, I've worked out that nearly 2,000 people have come along to raise issues with me. If you'd like to come along to my MP surgery, then give my office a call on 020 8946 4557 to find out which local library the next one is at. You can also write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch or have a local issue you need help with. I can't fix every problem, but I'll certainly do my best!
Justine Greening MP
November 13, 2009