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City Matters 109

Page 4 | 16 - 29 October

Page 4 | 16 - 29 October 2019 News Matters Mental health boost for asylum seekers A NEWHAM-based charity supporting London’s refugees and asylum seekers with their mental health has received a £79,200 funding boost. City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, awarded the money to the British Refugee Council. The grant will help the charity deliver one-to-one counselling and psychotherapy sessions to 140 people across London. Many people supported by the British Refugee Council have been victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking and torture, yet upon arrival in the UK, often face a range of new problems. Many are left to survive alone in an unfamiliar country with a new language and culture. Traumatic These experiences can have long-lasting negative effects, including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder. Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said: “Many refugees have faced horrific experiences in their home countries, including torture, war, rape and persecution. “We’re proud to support the British Refugee Council in helping those who too often have experienced this unimaginable trauma. “Through partnerships like this we are tackling disadvantage and inequality in London. And we will continue to support charities in making the capital a better place in which to live.” Paul Cilia La Corte, London therapeutic services manager and psychological therapist at the Refugee Council, added: “This funding will allow us to continue to support and empower asylum seekers and refugees facing difficult life transitions, from persecution in their homeland to the challenges they now face in the UK.” CITYMATTERS.LONDON ‘NON-DECISION’ IS KICKING THE ISSUE DOWN THE ROAD RENEWING Uber’s London licence for just two months has “kicked the can down the road” and is a “non-decision”, London Assembly members have said, writes Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter. Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the controversial ride-hailing app will be allowed to operate in the Capital until late November. But TfL again refused to grant Uber a full five-year licence, and demanded unspecified “additional material” when the company submits its next application. Uber is currently operating on a 15-month licence granted in June last year. Decision TfL allowed this short-term permit after a judge overruled their decision in September 2017 to reject Uber’s licence application. The transport network had cited safety concerns about how Uber reported serious criminal offences and checked the criminal records of its drivers. But Florence Eshalomi, chair of the Assembly’s transport committee, said a two-month extension did not provide certainty for Londoners. She said: “This is a non-decision by TfL. What will it learn in two more months that it WIN LONDON OKTOBERFEST PACKAGE Get ready to raise your glass at London Oktoberfest 2019 CITY MATTERS has teamed up with our friends at London Oktoberfest to give readers a chance to win a deluxe VIP package to this year’s extravaganza. The now legendary party touched down on English shores in 2011, and has grown to welcome more than 50,000 revellers over the annual four-day event. Besides copious amounts of beer, expect a smorgasbord of snitzel and other hearty German cuisine, as well as traditional dress of Bavaria, including waitresses and waiters in dirndl and lederhosen. To be in with a chance of winning a VIP package for two, worth up to £120, simply tell Assembly blasts two month Uber licence us when London Oktoberfest launched in London. The prize includes entry to the festival on Friday 15 November, and a glass of Austrian Sekt, a Brezel snack, one Mass Bier, a ‘VIP Schnitzel’ and one Underberg for each guest. Tickets are only redeemable on the stated day of entry and cannot be exchanged for a cash equivalent. Answers, along with your full name and contact information, should be sent to [email protected] by 8 November. Entries will be drawn at random and all decisions are final. Entrants must be over the age of 18 and the winner will be notified via email. city_matters licence extension: Uber has caused controversy didn’t learn in the last 15 months? If Uber hasn’t provided the information that TfL needs then that is a concern that needs to be addressed and clarified. Uber may have upped its game in terms of culture and governance, but such a short extension is evidence they still have some way to go.” Green assembly member Caroline Russell said London should follow New York in demanding data on working conditions and service use from the company as a condition for licensing. She said: “I welcome keeping pressure on Uber to be a fit and proper private hire operator, but drivers will be concerned for their future. “The Mayor and the government must act decisively across the private hire and ‘gig economy’ to stop the exploitation of drivers, including bringing in a cap on numbers of City of London Corporation voices support for the UK’s judiciary and rule of law THE Court of Common Council, the City of London Corporation’s decision-making body, has overwhelmingly backed a motion expressing its “full and unequivocal support” for the UK’s judiciary and their role in upholding the rule of law. In a meeting at Guildhall, elected Members voted “that the continued success of the City of London as a world financial and professional services centre is underpinned by a strong, trusted and independent judicial system”. The motion also said that the City Corporation will renew its commitment to promoting the rule of law and providing court facilities in the Square Mile for the benefit of the City, the Capital, and the country. Commitment A letter expressing support for the judiciary from the Court of Common Council will now be sent to the President of the Supreme Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales, the Lord President of the Court of Session of Scotland, and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. The letter will be copied to the Attorney General, the Lord Chancellor, and the Speakers of the Houses of Commons and Lords. Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City Corporation, said: “[The] motion is an affirmation of our long-standing commitment to promote the rule of law and our role in the provision of court facilities for the wider public good. “This is a role we are proud to play, and vehicles licensed.” But Conservative assembly member Andrew Boff said the popular service had “exciting plans” for London and Sadiq Khan should “get off the fence” and support the company. He said: “Londoners will rightly be frustrated to learn that the Mayor has once again kicked the can down the road when it comes to Uber’s licence. Make no mistake, this dither and delay will have serious consequences for Londoners. “The livelihoods of thousands of hardworking Uber drivers will continue to hang in the balance, while all those millions of Londoners who rely on Uber to travel around our city will remain in dark about how long they will be able to use the service.” A spokesperson for the Mayor, who leads TfL, told Press Association that private hire companies operating in London must keep people safe. He said: “Sadiq has been crystal clear that in London it doesn’t matter how powerful and how big you are, you must play by the rules.” A spokesperson for TfL said: “Uber London Limited has been granted a two-month private hire operator licence to allow for scrutiny of additional information that we are requesting ahead of consideration of any potential further licensing application.” firm message: the City has made its position clear why we are developing a new state-of-the-art combined courts facility dedicated to tackling economic crime, which will benefit not just the City, but the rest of London and the UK as a whole. “We will continue to support the justice system in years to come, recognising the rule of law as a cornerstone of national prosperity and stability.”

CITYMATTERS.LONDON 16 - 29 October 2019 | Page 5 citymatters

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