Tony Colman MP for Putney writes

In this week's diary for our MP covers the extension to St Mary's Primary School, the Council Tax, immigration and Car Clubs........

St Mary's, Felsham Road, New Extension

In 1944, a bomb fell on the school and destroyed the upper part of the school. Finally on Thursday the war damage was restored - and the school now looks smashing. I was honoured to be invited to the rededication service at the school conducted by the Bishop of Southwark on Thursday 26 February.

Congratulations go to all at the school - particularly the Headteacher Rev Tim Marwood and the Chair of Governors Mrs Louise Bennett. Celebrations continued on through the day with a talent contest and a reunion of old boys and girls in the evening.

Wandsworth Council Tax

I understand from Eddie Lister that the Council Tax is not going to increase this year. Alongside this, the cuts to the voluntary sector - the luncheon clubs to go, the bereavement service to close, the Cancer Resource Centre - remain. Yet even on Eddie's calculations (conservative of course) there are still £10 million in Wandsworth Council's reserves (in Merton when I was leader I was proud to only have £1million in reserves and my District Auditor was happy with this). What does Putney think?


UNHCR - the UN Refugee Agency - announced on 24 February that the total number of asylum seekers arriving in 36 industrialised countries last year fell by 20% to 463,000 - the lowest total since 1997 and the third lowest since 1988. In the European Union the number of asylum seekers dropped 22% from the previous year, to 288,000. In the UK - which received 61,050 asylum seekers, the decrease was some 41%. These decreasing figures will hopefully let us focus on the important wider issues. My sentiments echo those of UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers:
"In Europe in particular, the heated debate on asylum and the hardening of attitudes were to a considerable extent driven by the high numbers that arrived during the 1990s. Now that the numbers have dropped back to the levels we were seeing in the late 1980s, I hope that the debate will focus once again on the vital need to protect refugees, as well as the need to find permanent solutions for them, and better ways to share the burden among states".

Car Clubs

I have been contacted by a constituent who is a member of the London City Car Club. She wrote to tell me about the scheme asking me to support the idea and its possible expansion. It seems an excellent idea to me. The club works by members paying a subscription of £12 per month. They can then book a car by phone or over the internet

and use a car for £2.30 an hour and 15p a mile, inclusive of tax, insurance and petrol. To find out more about the London City Car Club visit: . Currently the nearest location to Putney is Wimbledon. I would be interested to know if there was interest in the Putney area for this type of scheme - it would certainly help with the congestion on Putney streets!

Tony Colman MP

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February 27th, 2004

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