21/11/2017 London News


21/11/2017

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LineFromTo

be able to comprehend what's just

happened is when I wake

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Good evening, I'm Riz Lateef.

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First tonight, a BBC London

investigation has revealed

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the multi million pound bill facing

Councils to improve fire

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safety for tenants.

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Following the Grenfell tragedy,

a total of £383 million will be

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spent by local authorities.

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More than half of those contacted

by this programme say

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they can't meet the costs

and need financial help.

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The Government has yet to agree

to pay, but says it will listen

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to concerns over funding.

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Susana Mendonca has

this exclusive report.

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Hello, Mr Rahman,

very good to see you.

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How do you feel about

your new front door?

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A personal inspection from the man

holding the purse strings here.

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This family is among the first

to get a brand-new fire door

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in Tower Hamlets and it has made

them feel safer.

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I am very happy at the moment

because there is a new door coming

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in and it means more

safety and I am happy.

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His block is one of six towers

on the Cranbrook estate where fire

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resistant panels have also

been going in.

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The work is being done to improve

fire safety for almost 300 flats

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here after the Grenfell fire.

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But Tower Hamlets does not

have the budget to put sprinklers

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in right now and it says it is time

for the government to stump up some

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cash to help councils

in tomorrow's budget.

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We are spending £7.5 million this

year on urgent actions to these

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blocks and we are spending

about another 30 over the next few

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years to get up-to-date

with our basic fire safety.

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That does not include sprinklers

which we think will be

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about another 20 on top of that.

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That money does not grow on a tree,

we would either have to put our rent

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up or borrow it from somewhere.

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Safety is not negotiable.

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We need to get a move on if we need

to have sprinklers and, yes,

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we would expect funding for that.

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Following the Grenfell Tower fire

the government said it would do

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whatever it took to make high-rise

building safe, but our research

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shows that most London boroughs

are facing mounting costs.

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Councils across London have told us

that they are spending more

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than £383 million on fire safety

measures as a direct result

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of the Grenfell Tower fire.

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They include things like removing

cladding, installing new fire doors

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and also putting in sprinklers

and 15 of the councils we spoke

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to said they had written

to the government asking for help

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which has so far not

been forthcoming.

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In Wandsworth the council is fitting

sprinklers to 99 of its tower blocks

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at a cost of £30 million.

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Its Conservative leader says that's

what his budget reserves are for,

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although he too would like to see

the Chancellor offer some

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help to councils tomorrow.

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Wandsworth has been very

prudent with its management

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of the housing account.

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We have the resources in fact to put

money aside for the fire

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safety requirements.

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But we would certainly like help

so we could actually ease the burden

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and cover any other unforeseen costs

in the blocks.

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The government said it

would consider financial

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flexibilities for councils that

are doing essential safety work.

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Cash-strapped London boroughs

will be wondering whether that means

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they will have anything to cheer

about after the budget.

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It was a promise made to passengers

by transport bosses, that all

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stations would be staffed whilst

services were running.

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Well, we've seen documents showing

that underground stations

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are being left unattended,

in one case ten times

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in just a month.

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Here's our Transport Correspondent,

Tom Edwards, with the story.

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At Wimbledon Park Tube station lots

of passengers and trains, but not a

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staff member insight. It is just

coming up to midday at Wimbledon

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Park station and we cannot find any

station staff on duty. The barriers

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are all open, there is no one here

to help if you have got any kind of

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problem.

I cannot get in. The card

and the Freedom pass does not work

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on the machinery.

They are very thin

on the ground, but it is always

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staffed during the commuting hours.

These are incident reporting forms.

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They showed the station was left

unattended on ten occasions in

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October. In some cases for long

periods. The documents also show

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that in many a ten-year-old boy was

separated from his mother and got

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off a train and ended up on this

platform, but there was no one here

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to help as the station was

unattended. He was found later by a

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train driver who had to stop his

train to search for the boy. One

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document says there is an endemic

staff shortage. Using the Freedom of

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Information Act we asked Transport

for London just how big the problem

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of unattended stations is. They said

over a three-month period ten

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stations were left unattended. They

included Hornchurch, it can, North

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Harrow, Harlesden and Wimbledon

Park. Insiders say the real problem

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is much worse.

All Tube stations

will be controlled and starved while

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services are operating.

When London

Underground closed ticket offices it

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promised every station that was

operational would have staff.

The

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idea that around London stations are

being left with no staff means

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passengers are being put at risk,

the gates are left open so they are

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losing ticket revenue and it looks

like the Tube service is

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short-staffed.

London Underground

says it is recruiting 320 more staff

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and stations are only left

unattended as a last resort.

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Wimbledon Park in October

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on ten occasions was left

unattended.

We operate the service

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364 days a year, we operate night

chips, nearly 5000 staff. In the

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context of the system we operate it

is a small amount.

The unions say

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this is an unsafe legacy and London

Underground now needs to get a grip.

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Underground now needs to get a grip.

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All eyes will be on Number 11

tomorrow when the Chancellor reveals

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his Government spending plans.

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Watching closely will be London

businesses, some of whom are growing

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increasingly anxious over

uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

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So what do they want

from Philip Hammond?

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Here's Katharine Carpenter.

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For London's small businesses

the pre-Christmas spending spree

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should bring plenty of cheer,

but at this festive fair at Olympia

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it is the traders themselves looking

for gifts from the Chancellor,

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particularly ones which will help

them meet the challenges

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thrown up by Brexit.

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I think it would be really great

if they could reduce the VAT

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rate back down to 17.5%.

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Everything is costing more for us

to buy but then we are passing

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the cost on to the consumer.

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From recently going to Spain

on a buyer's trip I noticed that

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at every conversation Brexit got

brought up and I think they are just

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worried to trade with not so much

the big businesses which are already

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established, but the small

businesses like us who are

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kind of up and coming.

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When Brexit happened

there were so many promises

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with regard to small businesses

and that probably swung

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a lot of the voters.

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At the moment we are importing

from Asia, but we want to switch

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to a European manufacturer

and we are very worried that post

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Brexit we will not be able to do

that because there will be larger

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import costs bringing it

in from Europe.

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It is not just smaller

companies hoping they will

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like what is unwrapped tomorrow.

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Big business has been setting

out its Brexit budget wish list too,

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including a timetable

for a transition period

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so the city can stay competitive,

and to keep up the momentum

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on infrastructure projects.

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He should probably focus on things

like better rail infrastructure,

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reduce congestion on the roads,

as well as better Internet,

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as well as more housing,

especially affordable housing,

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for workers in London.

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Back at the fair those

dependent on markets

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beyond Europe were more bullish.

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With a weaker pound it will help

exporters and I am looking forward

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to a continuation of it.

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Is there anything you are looking

for from the Chancellor?

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Not really, no.

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No, he can cut the tax rate

for us, that is for small,

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individual businesses,

but, no, good luck really.

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Whether businesses are excited

by the opportunities

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of Brexit or concerned by it,

there does seem to be agreement

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that this is a period of great

uncertainty and what they do not

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want from the Chancellor

when he unwraps his budget

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are any big surprises.

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That's it for now from me,

but lets find out what the weather's

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up to with Sara Thornton.

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It is looking rather pretty. I was

trying to brighten up what has been

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a cloudy day and there is more cloud

in the forecast for tonight as well

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and with that the mild air. But I

want to talk about the wind because

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they are becoming a key feature of

the weather through the next 36

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hours. An area of low pressure just

tracks its way off to the north and

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east. When you see these white lines

across the map that means we are in

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for some windy weather. The rain

will hold off for much of the day

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tomorrow but the wind will be

picking up and we have a Met Office

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weather warning which runs from nine

o'clock tomorrow morning until the

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early hours of Thursday and affects

us really towards the end of

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tomorrow. It is mild at 12 Celsius.

When the numbers go up that is the

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wind increasing. Up to 40 miles an

hour by the end of the day. It will

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be a mild day and it will stay dry

for the majority of the day. It is

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only in the evening that we will see

some rain. It is overnight tomorrow

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night into Thursday when we get that

real squeeze on the isobars and they

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really come through. We could see

wind gusts of 50 miles an hour for a

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time but as that system pulls away

on Thursday it should turn into a

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fine day. In the outlook you will

notice it stars to turn quite a bit

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cooler and by the weekend we will be

talking about frost and something

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maybe even

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