Tony Colman MP for Putney writes

Richmond Park, pharmacies, school funding, carers and inevitably the Euro

Richmond Park

I met this week with the head of the Royal Parks Association and we discussed further the agency's traffic calming plans and the proposed reduction of Pen Ponds car park which so many constituents objected to. As many of you will know the car park is now to be reduced rather than closed altogether, so our lobbying did pay off. I have also been concerned, however, about the possibility of a new golf club house being built at the Roehampton edge of Richmond Park. I have made clear my very serious reservations about the plan not least the increased traffic it will create as well as possible floodlighting affecting local residents.

Local Pharmacies

Further to the petition I presented to the Speaker of the House of Commons on protecting our local pharmacies I spoke to a group of pharmacists last week. I feel strongly that we need to protect pharmacies that serve local communities and will continue to press the Government to ensure they do not implement the Office of Fair Trading's recommendations on this issue, and to press the Strategic Health Authority and NHS Primary Care Trusts to ensure that their actions do not threaten neighbourhood pharmacies.

School Funding

Some schools in Putney have been under real financial pressure. This is partly due to increased personnel costs including teachers' pay and pension funding. While this is a national problem the pressure in Wandsworth is greater because Wandsworth spends the least on education per pupil of all the inner London boroughs.

The Parent Teacher Association of Elliot School recently held a meeting to decide how they could help the school. I was not able to attend but Martin Linton Mp for Battersea and the leader of the Labour group on the Council, Tony Belton, did attend.

Carers' Week

The 9th to the 15th of June was Carers' Week. Putney has 7580 carers who do an extraordinary job. In the UK as a whole 1 in 8 people who work also care for a partner or a child meaning they have to juggle their responsibilities. Carers' Week is all about giving carers advice, support and forging links. I am attending an event at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability this Sunday to celebrate with local carers.

If any Putney constituents would like to find out more about the support available for carers feel free to contact me.

I was happy to attend the St Michael, Riversdale and Our Lady Queen of Heaven School Summer Fetes and the Summer Fair at Queen Mary's Hospital. I'd also like to congratulate the Wandsworth Society on holding a very successful summer soiree.

The Euro

The big announcement at Parliament this week came from the Chancellor who, as you all know, said that the time was not yet right for the UK to join the Euro. The issue of Euro membership is extremely important for Putney; a large proportion of Putney residents work in the financial services sector. I have no doubt that in the long term joining the Euro is the right path for Britain, but for the time being I fully support the Chancellor's decision to wait until all five economic tests have been passed this way we can ensure that our hard won stability is not threatened. This approach basically puts the British economic interest at the forefront any decision will be based on what is best for the economy of Putney and the national economy not any dogma or pre-conceived ideology.

I appreciate that the Euro is a controversial issue but I welcome comments from constituents on this and any other issues.

Tony Colman MP

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June 13, 2003

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