Driving cost, chocolate for BHF, vaccine, training and run for Macmillan

Redbridge roundabout.

Alison Moore says there are no concrete plans to charge people to living outside Greater London to drive into the capital - Credit: Ken Mears

No plan for fee to drive into London

Dr Alison Moore AM, Labour’s London Assembly transport spokesperson, writes:

Some points of clarification are needed on Iain Duncan Smith’s column last week which suggests that drivers will face up to £33 a day to journey into central London.

Firstly, at this moment in time, there are no concrete or confirmed plans to place a Greater London Boundary Charge upon motorists living outside the capital. 

This is just one of several ideas, in the very early stages of discussion, aimed at plugging the huge shortfall in TfL’s finances left by the pandemic.

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For now, as the preferred solution, the mayor and cross-party members of the London Assembly have called on the government to allow London to keep the £500m of Vehicle Excise Duty it generates each year. This money is all currently spent on roads outside the capital.

The ULEZ charges, which have been well publicised for many years now, will also only affect around one in five vehicles - which are the most polluting on our roads. These charges will be in place to clean up the capital’s toxic air, which contributes to the premature deaths of thousands of Londoners each year.

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Finally, TfL’s financial situation was improving under the current mayor, but the Covid-19 outbreak led to a 90 per cent drop in fares revenue and, with repeated lockdowns, this has struggled to recover since.

Give up chocolate to help BHF

Emma Day, head of Dechox, British Heart Foundation, writes: 

This March, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is encouraging the British public to take on their Dechox challenge and give up chocolate and other sugary snacks for the month of March. Dechox Warriors will help to raise life saving funds for the 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases. 

A recent survey carried out by the BHF, revealed that biscuits were the UK’s favourite sugary snack (42 per cent), closely followed by chocolate (41pc). 

With the findings demonstrating just how important biscuits and chocolate are to us, giving them up will be no easy feat. 

Covid-19 has cut our future research funding in half, so we need your donations to carry on funding medical breakthroughs into heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and vascular dementia. 

  • Please join the thousands of other people across the UK who have already signed up to Dechox and say no to chocolate for the month of March: bhf.org.uk/dechox  

Having the vaccine is a kindness

People attend a temporary coronavirus vaccination centre at the East London Mosque, in Whitechapel,

People at a temporary vaccination centre held at the East London Mosque, Whitechapel - Credit: PA

Cllr Khaled Noor, chair, Muslim Professionals Forum, writes:

The virus can affect anyone – regardless of their immigration status or whether they have a home. It is important that everyone can access the vaccine, to protect the whole community. More than that, however, it should be a basic human right to access healthcare – and we welcome and support this campaign which seeks to make the paper policy a reality.

It is important that Muslim organisations swing behind this campaign to send out the signal that it is a call from all communities in the UK. We urge Muslim professionals to sign up their Mosques, community organisations and their professional organisations.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told us “Allah is kind, and He loves kindness in all matters”. It is up to the Muslim community to show kindness in action at this difficult time and ensure that #VaccinesForAll swiftly becomes a reality – in the UK and across the world. Please sign up to show your support.

Save the Union Learning Fund

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw, general secretary, writes: 

Let’s stop the government scrapping the Union Learning Fund in England at the end of March. 
This unique scheme provides lifelong learning in many local workplaces, bringing together employers, education providers and trade unions to give workers a second chance at learning by contributing time, money and resources.

Learning and re-skilling will be core to helping us recover from the impact of Covid-19 and dealing with the changing world of work because of automation. While we welcome the government’s plans to invest £2.5billion through the National Skills Fund, we are concerned about how effective that investment will be and who it will reach.

In our experience, union learning is uniquely able to engage and support thousands of “disadvantaged” learners. Most had few, if any, qualifications and would never have considered attending a college, or signing up for an on-line course, if it were not for the support and encouragement of Union Learning reps in the workplace. Union Learn reaches the workers other schemes do not.

The cost of gaining new skills shouldn’t be out of reach for low paid key workers. We are asking the chancellor to recognise the value of union learning and provide the necessary £12million in the budget on March 3. 

Run the marathon for Macmillan

Lynda Thomas, CEO Macmillan Cancer Support and London Marathon runner (2018), writes:

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, taking on an event like the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon is a huge personal challenge.

Regardless of time or ability, not only can each of the 100,000 participants who sign up for this year’s record-breaking event feel immensely proud of their achievement, but also every pound raised and every step taken towards that finish line directly enables charities like Macmillan Cancer Support to edge closer to their aim to be there for everyone who needs it most.

Money raised through events like the 41st Virgin Money London Marathon will help Macmillan do whatever it takes to help everyone living with cancer.​  

Which is why Macmillan - who are hugely proud to be the official 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year – would love to invite your readers to consider joining #TeamMacmillan and run for us – and those living with cancer - in October.

For the lucky runners who have bagged themselves a ballot spot in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, please do consider joining Team Macmillan, and for those who may have missed out, there is still time to apply for a Macmillan charity place or sign up to the Virtual Virgin Money London Marathon.

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