Letters to the Editor: 11/08/16

(11 August, 2016)

You lot just can't stop talking about the EU

Claim back unused Oyster card money

Do you have an Oyster card you haven’t used for months or perhaps even years?

If so you are not alone.  If fact there are millions of Oyster cards that haven’t been used over the last year.  Yet most people have paid a deposit for their Oyster card as well as having some credit left on them.

Recently I revealed that Transport for London has now accumulated over £223 million due to the deposits and credit sitting on these dormant Oyster cards.

With the advent of contactless payment which offers the same fares as Oyster Pay As You Go some people are finding that the reasons they might once have kept hold of a spare Oyster card no longer applies.

So if you really don’t think you have a need any longer for your spare Oyster card you should be aware that you are entitled to a full refund from Tube station ticket machines or by contacting TfL’s customer services team on 0343 2221234.

It is after all your money that TfL is holding. It you want to claim it back you have every right to do so!

Caroline Pidgeon AM,

Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member

 

Southwark’s performance is mixed at best

In your interview last week, Peter John, the Labour leader of Southwark Council, left important points unmentioned.

On housing, Southwark is one of the worst three boroughs in London when it comes to delivery of social rented housing. Only 3% of the total homes delivered in 2014/15 were affordable and there was a 5% reduction in the number social rented (more were knocked down or sold off than were built).

The council also repeatedly pushes over-development (e.g. in Elephant and Castle, Canada Water and Old Kent Road). In my view it has not achieved value-for-money from developers, which I believe is a major reason for the loss of affordable and social rented homes in Southwark.

Under the Care Act 2014, the council is responsible for facilitating the market for care and support.  Provision of care services in Southwark is at breaking point, with three quarters of local care homes assessed as Inadequate or Requiring Improvement.  There are concerns over the quality of domiciliary care as well, which is unsurprising when many private sector care workers are underpaid and overstretched.  The council is now starting to look at how it will address these issues, but it is too little and too late.

Tellingly, there is no mention of the major environmental issues facing Southwark. The council does not require new housing to be zero-carbon, meaning that we will soon need to expensively retrofit these vast new tower blocks.

Development is also allowed to destroy our trees.  At Elephant Park, for example, 300+ maturing trees were destroyed, and the developers seem to have been allowed to renege on their commitment to replace them.

Finally, the council has failed to divest its pension fund from fossil fuels and is supporting the expansion of Gatwick Airport, and is not doing enough to address air pollution and increase cycling, walking and public transport.

In summary, Southwark Council’s performance is mixed at best, and only some of this is as a result of central government constraints.  I therefore do not believe that Peter John is providing the leadership needed to achieve a greener, healthier and fairer Southwark for all.

Colin Boyle, Southwark Green Party

 

EU result has led to uncertainty

The result of the EU referendum result has led to some uncertainty and questions from consumers making spending decisions or planning their investments and retirement arrangements.

Are my savings still fully protected? How will my consumer rights be affected? Should I buy a car now or later?

To help answer some of these questions, Which?,  the consumer association has launched an online Brexit Hub which aims to answer a wide range of such questions.

The site aims to provide clear-eyed assessment and impartial answers rather than offer scare stories or engage in gloomy speculation.

It is free to access and has been developed to provide independent consumer advice. Your readers can find it at www.which.co.uk/brexit

Syed Kamall, MEP for London, Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group

 

Take part in our Memory Walk

I am delighted to see the positive response to Memory Walk from Londoners this year.

Almost 3,000 people have already signed up, which is three times the number of sign ups we had this time last year!

To meet this unprecedented demand, we have now added a second walk, starting at 3pm, on Saturday 3 September at Potters Fields Park in Southwark.

Memory Walk is a great day out, bringing together people of all ages and abilities from across London, while helping raise money to support people with dementia. Memory Walks are taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in September and October.

To register, visit: memorywalk.org.uk

Tim McLachlan, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Director for Greater London

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