Sunday, 13 July 2014

Is Watermeadow Court Suitable For Fulham Boys School?

Following this decision taken by the government on 1st July the search for Fulham Boys School to find a permanent local site has been the key issue.

In the last ten days I have twice met with the head teacher and vice chair of governors, proposed a new permanent site to the DfE, which I am advised by borough officials is “not unrealistic”,  and met with the MP for Chelsea and Fulham, the DfE’s director of Free Schools and the vice chair and head teacher of FBS again. I will report more on this later.

On Wednesday afternoon, I went with the chair of governors, the local MP and H&F Council officials to the DfE to lobby Lord Nash for a reconsideration of his decision.

The attached joint letter (click on the picture to read) formed part of a press release as well as an open, public letter which was emailed to me on Friday. It is from the Rt Hon Greg Hands MP (Con) for Chelsea and Fulham and Cllr. Greg Smith (Con), H&F Council's leader of the opposition. In it they make their suggestion for saving Fulham Boys School (FBS). The background and means of this approach raises serious questions about their seriousness and sincerity which I raise with them in the email below.

Despite that, I immediately checked out the viability of Watermeadow Court with the borough's Executive Director of Housing and Regeneration. He said he believed it had already been transferred to an ill-advised joint venture company which the former Conservative administration had set up in partnership with a developer. It has a variety of legal agreements including how to split the profits from the flats they expected to sell. I called Greg Hands and told him that on Friday lunch time but said I was waiting for more details. Later that day, the executive director wrote and said "The Conditional Land Sale Agreement was duly completed on 28th March 2014 and as such the council is no longer free to dispose of the site for an alternative purpose."

Time is of the essence for the Fulham Boys School. So at the same time as checking about the ownership of the site I also asked the borough's education officials to check out whether this site would be viable from the Department of Education's (DfE) point of view. On Friday afternoon an education official wrote to me to say that the DfE had "just confirmed with me that Watermeadow Court is not a viable option".


The borough's education official also told me "The Mayor is meeting the Secretary of State about GLA site options on Tuesday, so I will find out more after that meeting." I hope that is productive.

I've worked with politicians from other parties on many business issues on many occasions. Every other time there has been an understood etiquette that involves putting aside party politics and focussing on the business at hand. If you have an idea you pick up the phone. You certainly don't go to the media or look for fabricated opportunities to blame the other in public. In this case, that is exactly the etiquette the parents and governors behind the Fulham Boys School are relying on all of us observing.

Looking at today's Twitter it appears that there has been a tremendous amount of guff generated about Watermeadow Court over the weekend - a lot of it from people who should know better. It appears to have come almost exclusively from those that see all of this as some sort of political game and taking advantage of an atmosphere where parents, children and FBS school governors are all in an understandable state of anxiety and stress about the future of FBS and where children will go to school in September.

I will discuss FBS with officials tomorrow morning when they return to work. Meanwhile, this is the email I sent to Messrs Smith and Hands on Friday afternoon:
 
From: Cllr Cowan Stephen
Sent: 11 July 2014 16:12
To: 'HANDS, Greg'
Cc: Lord Nash; Cllr Smith Greg; Cllr Macmillan Sue; Cllr Cartwright Michael; [others]
Subject: RE: Proposed possible new site for the Fulham Boys School


Dear Greg and Greg

Thank you for this proposal. I found out about it on my way into the Town Hall when a journalist called me. I have since also been asked for a TV interview about it by the BBC and I'm told that many of your friends and colleagues have got themselves into a very excitable state about this on Twitter. I am a bit perplexed why you thought this was a serious way to carry out such important business with me? Greg Hands texted me at 12.55 and I called him back as soon as I saw his message at 13.44. It would have been wiser to call me about this first thing this morning or earlier. Surely you must have written the attached letter and your press release yesterday?

As I mentioned to Greg Hands, I raised this matter with the Borough's Executive Director of Housing and Regeneration who told me that the Watermeadow Court site was sold in the dying days of the former Conservative administration. I had recalled objecting to this and urging a re-think when this item came to the relevant Select Committee. Cllr. Greg Smith was the deputy leader of that administration so I find it hard to believe that he was not aware of this or could not have checked any of this before your press release.

I am troubled that by putting this proposal out in the media before checking out these basic facts you have both caused unnecessary stress and confusion to the parents and founders behind FBS.

The Executive Director of Housing and Regeneration has now written to me to confirm that the former Conservative administration took this matter to the borough's cabinet on 3rd February 2014 where its members approved this recommendation: "That approval be given to the freehold or virtual freehold (999 year leasehold) disposal of Watermeadow Court and Edith Summerskill House to the Joint Venture or respective Special Purpose Vehicle in accordance with the terms of the Conditional Land Sale Agreement (Appendix 6)...". I note from the minutes that Cllr. Smith was in attendance.

I am sorry to also confirm that the Conditional Land Sale Agreement for Watermeadow Court was duly completed by the former Conservative administration on 28th March 2014 and as such the Council is no longer free to dispose of the site for an alternative purpose.

I also asked LBHF's education team to check out this site who have just emailed me to say the EFA has also confirmed that Watermeadow Court is not a viable option for FBS.

I am happy to work with you both on this and many  other issues in the coming years but I think any reasonable by-stander viewing today's events might doubt the sincerity or seriousness of your approach.

Best wishes

Cllr. Stephen Cowan
Labour Councillor for Hammersmith Broadway ward
Leader, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
The Town Hall
King Street
London
W6 9JU

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Grove Neighbourhood Centre Summer Fête: Saturday 19th July

The Grove Neighbourhood Centre is hosting a July summer fête next Saturday 19th July. The stalls and attractions include:
  • The raffle
  • Men's, women's and children fashion stall
  • Home baked goods
  • Jewellery stall
  • Bric-a-brac stall
  • Tombola
  • Spin-n-win
  • Hook-a-duck for the kids
  • Hot and cold food
  • And much more...
There is even a rumour of a Pimm's Tent.
  
Please pop along to the Grove Neighbourhood Centre, 7 Bradmore Park Road, Hammersmith London W6 0DT. It begins at 1.00pm and finished at 3.00pm.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Fulham Boys School

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (Con)
Secretary of State for Education
On Tuesday, 1st July the government wrote to Fulham Boys free school to say they intended to block its opening which until then had been scheduled for this September. This is an extremely disappointing decision and one which leaves 92 boys, some 55 of which are Hammersmith and Fulham residents, in a very difficult position. The head teacher sets out his view here. It’s one I agree with.

I have asked H&F Council officers to do everything possible to support those children and their families and I hope that the government will change its mind and allow Fulham Boys School to open on its temporary site in Gibbs Green.

Cllr. Sue Macmillan (Lab), the council's cabinet member for children and education, and I met with Fulham Boys School's deputy chair of governors and head teacher for just over an hour and a half on Friday afternoon to see what we can do to help.

I should stress that free schools are totally free of their local council – the clue is in the name. To that end this decision is nothing to do with H&F Council. It was made by the
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (Con), the Secretary of State for Education. It is and has been Mr Gove’s responsibility, via the Education Funding Agency, to ensure that the school can be properly housed and funded. The government wrote to H&F Council on Wednesday, 2nd July (a day after they informed the school) to formally tell us of their decision although by then we had already heard the news.

Fulham Boys School had been given a temporary site in Gibbs Green for 2 years. On Tuesday, after the government had made its decision, a rumour emerged that the government could immediately reverse the decision if the lease on the temporary site on Gibbs Green can be extended from 2 to 3 or even 4 years. The government has since contradicted this and told us that the length of the temporary lease will make no difference to their decision. But I guess it is plausible that different people in government could be giving out different messages.

Sue Macmillian has been trying to get this rumour substantiated since Tuesday as it potentially offers a glimmer of hope that there might still be a chance to get the government to re-think. On Friday evening we were given the name of the Conservative MP who this rumour is alleged to have originated from. I have written to him seeking clarification of whether this is true and asked for an urgent response. At the time of publishing this I am yet to get any reply. I will report back when I have a satisfactory answer.

H&F Council does not own the Gibbs Green site that would have temporarily housed Fulham Boys School. That site was sold off by Hammersmith and Fulham’s former Conservative administration to Capital and Counties Properties Plc (CapCo). The borough’s new Labour administration has been given a clear mandate by local voters to negotiate a number of
important issues with CapCo and I would happily add this issue to that list if the extended use of a temporary site did in fact turn out to be a critical factor in saving Fulham Boys School.

There has been much nonsense put around about this saga mostly by former and current Conservative councillors. So for the record I am happy to clarify that this administration is determined to support all good schools and sees the need for more of them – particularly secondary schools. That includes free schools which are for all intents and purposes the same as academies – an idea developed by the last Labour government. I supported academies/free schools then and still do now. Looking for and choosing good secondary schools is difficult and I’d hope to do everything possible to make that easier during our term of office. Although this free school decision is nothing to do with H&F Council my colleagues and I are happy to do all we can to help.

I appreciate that it may take some time for local Conservatives to come to terms with their resentment that 22,163 local people voted them out of office. They have said some quite frankly crazy things in the weeks since the election most of which has had little effect on anything but in this case I do think it would be much better for all if they put aside their ill-advised mischief making and instead work with us to support the children and families affected and get the government to reverse this decision.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Sulivan Primary School Statement

Yesterday at Sulivan Primary School
Here's the BBC London News report and here is the official council statement below about the future of Sulivan Primary School:

"Hammersmith & Fulham Council has announced its intention to review the decisions, taken in February, to close Sulivan by effectively merging it with a newly-expanded New King's School. It now intends to publish proposals to revoke those decisions.

This follows the new Administration’s intended change to its housing policy that could see demand for primary school places rise in the local area.

The change in housing policy, signalled in the new Administration’s manifesto, places a greater emphasis on the need for new affordable homes to rent which could have a particular impact on the South Fulham Riverside development where 1,000 extra homes are being built.

A decision to merge the two schools was taken in January in order to reduce the number of surplus places across the two schools by 15 per year group. A significant change in housing policy could mean those places are now needed.

Council officers will be reassessing the likely future demand for school places and a decision paper on whether to publish proposals for the two schools to stay open is likely to be presented to the next Cabinet meeting on June 23.

If proposals are published, all affected parties and the wider community will have the opportunity to make comments in response".

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Thank You - Now The Work Begins

Charing Cross Hospital opened on the 22nd May 1973.
Exactly forty one years later people voted to send the
Prime Minister a very clear message that it needs to
stay open. The government now needs to listen.
Having had very little sleep and a maelstrom of activity during the last week it is beginning to dawn on me that it’s true – the residents of Hammersmith and Fulham really did elect my colleagues and me into office on Thursday, 22nd May.

It may be a cliché but it is genuinely humbling to find myself in this position. Thank you.

In the run up to Election Day I lost count of the numbers of people who told me they usually vote Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green or even don't usually vote but this time were all intending to vote Labour - many for the first time in their lives. I recognise that along with the thousands of Labour voters who always support my party there is an alliance of local people who have come together and hired us to deliver The Change We Need to see in this borough.

My colleagues and I will officially assume office at the council’s annual general meeting on 16th June.

Top of our list of priorities is defending Charing Cross Hospital. On 15th May David Cameron came to Hammersmith and Fulham to urge voters to back the Conservatives’ awful and dishonest hospitals plan. I understand Mr. Cameron was also telephone canvassing local residents pleading with them to vote to re-elect his favourite council on both the Election Day and the night before. They did the opposite. In fact, over 60% of the residents that voted rejected the Prime Minister’s appeals and with 22,163 votes Labour beat the Conservatives in the borough's popular vote for the first time since the 1990s. The people have spoken and if Mr. Cameron is a democrat he needs to back away from these life threatening hospital plans and listen to what the voters have said. If he refuses, I believe the consequences for his reputation, his government and the bureaucrats serving it will be dire.

Shortly after the results were announced on Friday morning I formally sent the Council’s Chief Executive our manifesto and instructed him to have his officials start work on its implementation. The due process of its delivery will form the council’s programme over the next four years. I will detail more as and when we deliver on our promises.

But we have already set much in play over the last week. That includes establishing a new council Hospital Unit to defend Charing Cross and its A&E, closing down hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of unnecessary council magazines and glossy propaganda that had been planned by the former Conservative administration and banning councillors from taking hospitality from those seeking benefit from their elected positions.

We want this new Labour administration to be one that works with residents so we have set about re-structuring the council’s processes to make them more open and democratic.

Prior to the election we carried out an extensive manifesto consultation. Hundreds of people read our manifesto which was emailed out to voters across the borough. That was the only manifesto produced by any political party that had a chance of winning the Hammersmith and Fulham council elections. The Conservatives told me they hadn't produced one because "people know what they'll get" – it turned out they were absolutely right.
 
We live in a time when politics is a dirty word for too many and too many people use voting just to protest - having given up on voting to change anything. My colleagues and I really hope we might be able to do things differently here in Hammersmith and Fulham. We will work with residents from all political persuasions and do our very best to make this the better borough we all want it to be.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Did David Cameron Mess Up Or Was He Deliberately Trying To Mislead Residents About H&F’s NHS?

Mr. David Cameron looking uncomfortable
in H&F as he talks about the new
new clinic that he wants to replace
Charing Cross Hospital. He kindly
pledged we could call his proposed clinic
"hospital" - although it isn't,
it's a small clinic.
A leading Conservative politician in his fifties recently told me he thought David Cameron was the most “policy-light” Prime Minister of his life time. Mr Cameron’s blasé approach was again on show last week when he made a last minute, change-of-schedule and rather panicky election visit to Hammersmith and Fulham – commonly known as “Cameron’s favourite council”.
 
It has apparently come as a surprise to Mr. Cameron that the public have seen through the Conservative/Lib-Dem government’s plan to demolish Charing Cross Hospital and replace it with a GP-led clinic just 13% the size of the former hospital. Rather cunningly the government and our local Conservative run council have agreed to call this new clinic a “hospital” - which I guess they must have thought would do the job and get them through this controversial hospital closure. It hasn’t and residents are rightly furious.
 
This is the deal Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative councillors signed up to.
 
They know what they’re doing is wrong. They put the attached letter (click to view) out on the 8th October 2012 criticising the government’s proposals which have barely changed. Back then Conservative councillors rightly wrote:
  • “Charing Cross Hospital’s A&E department would close, as would the hyper-acute stroke unit, intensive care, all surgery, and all major functions.
  • The nearest A&Es would be at Chelsea & Westminster and St Mary’s, Paddington.
  • Only the Urgent Care Centre and some local functions would stay at Charing Cross.
  • It is likely that the entire site would be rebuilt, with three-quarters of the land sold off and redeveloped as blocks of flats.”
This is what Conservative
councillors were telling residents
before they switched sides
That letter went out two months prior to a journalist telling me how they had briefed him that they planned to leave the residents-led, cross-party Save Our Hospitals campaign.

H&F’s Conservative councillors formally switched sides two months later on 7th February 2013 and became the only council in London to actively support the hospital closures. 

As you can see here, they then set about bombarding local people with tens of thousands of pounds of tax payer funded propaganda falsely claiming the Charing Cross Hospital has been “saved” and that our A&E has been “retained”. Mr Cameron’s emergency trip to our borough was no more that the latest chapter in this long line of subterfuge.

It’s not the first time David Cameron has taken this unusual approach for a British prime minister. In 2010 he said that H&F Labour’s exposé on the Conservatives' plans for social housing were “appalling lies”. I wrote and challenged him – he didn’t respond but within a year the Conservative/Lib Dem government he leads had introduced everything we said it would and our local council had confirmed proposals to demolish hundreds of council homes - which is what David Cameron had wrongly claimed we were lying about.
 
On the last occasion I took the view that David Cameron hadn’t been on top of the subject and didn’t know what he was talking about. This time, it really is very hard to give such a generous assessment of the reasons Mr. Cameron blatantly tried to misinform the residents of Hammersmith and Fulham.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Addison

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Addison. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Adam Connell
Adam was born in London and moved to Addison after graduating from the London School of Economics. He became involved locally by campaigning against the sell-off of the Milson Road Health Centre - raising a petition against its redevelopment into an oversized property development. Adam determined to stand for election when similar proposals to demolish Charing Cross Hospital were backed by his three local Conservative councillors.
 
Adam is a human resources manager for a leading supermarket group. He is keen to use this experience to make the local council more efficient and take a better approach to customer service.
 
Sue Fennimore
Sue has lived in H&F for over 30 years. She is a governor of two local schools and was elected by all the parent governors in the borough to represent them on the Council's Education Select Committee. For the past twelve years, Sue has volunteered for the Youth Offending Service, working on restorative justice with young people who have become involved in the judicial system.
 
Sue also volunteers for the Hammersmith Winter Night Shelter for the homeless, which has seen a dramatic increase in use over the last two years. She has two children and lives in Shepherds Bush.
 
Khafi Kareem
Born and raised in Hammersmith and Fulham, Khafi serves as a special police constable and a school governor. Khafi has lived, worked and volunteered in France, Italy, China and America and speaks five languages (French, Italian, Yoruba and British Sign Language as well as her native English). She is a Multilingualism Ambassador for the British Council.
 
Khafi believes there should be opportunities for everyone to achieve their ambitions to build a better life. She is keen to reform local housing policies so new homes to buy or rent are available for residents rather than investors.

H&F Labour's Candidates For North End

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for North End. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Daryl Brown
Daryl is Irish and has lived with her husband and three children in the borough for 25 years. She is excited at becoming a first-time grandmother. Daryl has been a North End councillor for the last four years and is standing as a councillor again as she thoroughly enjoys meeting and helping people and wants to continue fighting for local residents.
 
Daryl teaches at Hammersmith & West London College. She has been actively involved in the Save our Hospitals, Save Earls Court and West Kensington and Gibbs Green campaigns.
 
Larry Culhane
Born in Hammersmith, Larry has lived in the borough his whole life. Since 2010, he has worked mentoring students at Phoenix High School, where he also serves as a governor. In summer months you’ll find him volunteering at Shepherds Bush Cricket Club, coaching 5-16 year olds.
 
Larry says: “I’m appalled Conservative councillors have refused to listen to residents and fight for Charing Cross Hospital. They gleefully approve luxury properties aimed at overseas investors, forcing young professionals and local residents out of our borough. I hope to give residents their voice back on May 22nd”.
 
Ali Hashem
Ali Hashem grew up and still lives in North End Ward, where he has campaigned on health, housing, youth and enterprise issues. He is a management consultant and community organiser and leads a voluntary team which won the Faith Forum for London Hope and Peace Prize for pioneering work in social enterprise.
 
Ali works with charities, social enterprises and NGOs and hopes to use his experience to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the council. He is a keen cyclist and last year cycled from the Netherlands to London, raising over £1,800 for the homeless and disadvantaged.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Fulham Reach

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Fulham Reach. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Iain Cassidy
Iain has worked for local MP, Andy Slaughter, for over five years from his office in Greyhound Road. As Andy’s Senior Caseworker, he has helped many of the poorest and most vulnerable local residents affected by the policies of the Conservative-run council.
 
Before working for Andy, Iain volunteered with young people with learning difficulties in his native Scotland and has also volunteered with Age UK in Brentford and Isleworth. He is a keen cyclist and wants to improve the borough’s cycling infrastructure to make it safer for cyclists of all ages.
 
Vivienne Lukey
Vivienne has lived in Fulham Reach on Ellaline Road since 1984. She was a hospital social worker and social services manager for 30 years, where she had a lead role in supporting victims of the 7/7 London bombings. She is a founder member of Save Our Hospitals.
 
Vivienne is Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Mind, the local mental health charity. A governor of Bayonne Nursery School for over 20 years, she is also a governor at James Lee School. She serves on the Fulham Reach Crime Panel. Vivienne loves the area, especially the local river walk.
 
Guy Vincent
Guy has lived in the borough for 35 years, most of that time practicing as a solicitor in central London. For nearly eight years, he ran a legal practice with a turnover of more than £30 million. He was a director of Hammersmith & Fulham Homes, the company responsible for renovating and upgrading the social housing in the borough.
 
Guy has been a governor of Woodlane High School for many years. He is an active supporter of the Save Our Hospitals campaign.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Fulham Broadway

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Fulham Broadway. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.
 
Ben Coleman
Ben has lived over 20 years in the borough, where he runs his own communications business. He is a governor of Queensmill School for autistic children in Fulham and was a governor for eight years at Jack Tizard School for disabled children in Hammersmith, playing Father Christmas every year. He helped found the Big Splash charity for disabled children and their families in west London.
 
An ardent supporter of small firms, Ben is on Labour's national Small Business Taskforce. He says, “We need to stop North End Road being swamped by betting and loan shops and get it thriving again.” He speaks French, German and Spanish.
 
Alan De’Ath
Alan lives in Fulham and is Head of Year at a local secondary school, St Thomas More Language College, where he has overall responsibility for the pastoral care and academic progress of the students in his year group. Alan has run basketball and cricket clubs for young people and is currently managing the school’s football team.
 
Alan has volunteered for the Scouts and for the mental health charity Mind. As part of the National Citizenship Service, he has mentored 16-17 year olds. Alan is a passionate Chelsea FC fan and enjoys watching Formula 1, reading and walking.
 
Sharon Holder
Sharon is proudly of Caribbean descent and was born and bred in Hammersmith and Fulham. She lives with her husband and two children. Sharon worked as a home help and housing caretaker before going on to become a national trade union official.
 
Sharon feels strong loyalty to the area and very much wants to represent residents’ interests. She believes local housing policies need drastic change so residents can afford to buy or rent new homes, which are currently being targeted at overseas investors. She is determined to fight for Charing Cross Hospital and protect our local NHS.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Ravenscourt Park

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Ravenscourt Park. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Jasmine Pilgrem
Jasmine has lived and worked in Ravenscourt Ward for 30 years. She ran her own music management company for 20 years and now works in arts administration for a local theatrical agency. She is married with two children.
 
Jasmine has been an active member of her local residents’ association and other amenity groups for many years, successfully campaigning on conservation, heritage, development and planning issues. For the last two years, Jasmine has campaigned with Save Our Hospitals against the downgrading of local hospital services. This inspired her to stand as a Labour council candidate.
 
Rowan Ree
Rowan has lived in Ravenscourt Park since moving to London as a student, initially in Verbena Gardens and now in King Street. He is a governor at Wendell Park Primary School.
 
An economics graduate and postgraduate, Rowan works as an adviser to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). A regular in the Cross Keys pub on Black Lion Lane, he enjoys walking along the banks of the river and visiting the ward’s excellent restaurants and cafés.
 
Alexandra Sanderson
Alexandra lives along King Street near Ravenscourt Park, where she likes to feed the ducks. She is a governor at Flora Gardens primary school and has been active in the residents-led Save Our Hospitals campaign.
 
After studying Archaeology at Durham University, Alex volunteered in locations from Lourdes to her native Bristol, working with children, the homeless and the elderly.  She is now senior manager at a charity that works to promote good money management.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Avonmore & Brook Green

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Avonmore and Brook Green. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Hannah Barlow 
Hannah’s family has lived and worked in Hammersmith and Fulham for many year and she has lived in Avonmore and Brook Green for the last two years. She works as a health consultant and cares deeply about public health. 
 
Hannah is standing because she is passionate about protecting and defending our schools, hospitals and other services now and for our future. In her free time she enjoys a cup of tea in one of the local cafes or a jog in Bishops Park.
 
Michael O’Sullivan
Michael was born in Hammersmith and Fulham and has lived here proudly for 20 years. He runs two businesses and hopes that his experience as an entrepreneur will benefit the council. He wants to bring a fresh perspective and an expert understanding of how to maximise income while reducing expenditure and waste. 
 
Michael is a keen supporter of Charing Cross Hospital and will fight to prevent the scandalous plan to close it. He understands what local people need and will work tirelessly to ensure our borough is a better and more inclusive place. 
 
Zarar Qayyum
Zarar has lived in Hammersmith & Fulham for over 15 years. He runs a welfare-to-work company, specialising in improving people’s skills and getting them into sustainable jobs. He has worked for public, private and third sector organisations.
 
Zarar has a proven track record of combatting youth unemployment in Hammersmith and Fulham and across west London and of partnering with local volunteer and community groups to tackle barriers to employment and economic regeneration.  He feels particularly strongly about the closure of A&E at Charing Cross Hospital and has been actively campaigning to stop its demolition.