The Pensioners' Lobby

On Wednesday several pensioners from Hornsey & Wood Green came to see me and lobby me as part of the Pensioners’ Lobby. Their very passionate argument is that the Government’s promise to link pensions with earnings which is promised for 2012 will see many of them dead – i.e. it doesn’t help those who are in poverty right now. So I will be tabling some questions to Gordon Brown. Moreover – the one-off payment of £200 to pensioners by him just before the last General Election has not been forthcoming again (surprise) and yet pensioners are expected on their tiny fixed incomes to cope with the rises that will come in April on Council Tax and the Mayor’s precept for the Olympics.

Then I had to accompany Ming to a meeting with Sir Ian Blair (Met Police Commissioner). The meeting was private – so sadly can’t reveal all – but I myself did raise the issues (which are not confidential) over the future of police properties in London – there is a big review of their use of property, the location of police stations etc. Our local Commander, Simon O’Brien, has promised he will consult – but in his most recent email to me said he need to get so far (including identifying the actual premises) so that he had something to consult on.

The other issue was my question to Sir Ian a while back off of one of my written parliamentary questions about the disproportionately high numbers of black and ethnic minority people being arrested by the police. Amongst those arrested but not then charged or cautioned, people from the black and ethnic minority communities make up 60% of the total – hugely more than their share of the population. 28% of London’s population are from those communities, but they make up 60% of people arrested but not cautioned or charged. In other words – an innocent black man is much more likely to be arrested than an innocent white man. Sir Ian will get back to me.