What has Labour done for us?
It's an important question. But before we answer this question let's look at these very real facts, so are able to better put into context the answer. A report done by Aston-Mansfield's Community Involvement Unit on Budget Cuts and Welfare Reform brings home some very startling and disturbing truths. I have cut & pasted the whole section here, and so we don't get distracted, I have highlighted the bits I feel are important to note, and remember when we go through the list below:
"Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney saw the biggest budget cuts in the country at 8.9% in 2011/12. In contrast, Richmond, Havering and Harrow have seen cuts of less than 2%. To put this in financial terms, Newham has £44 million less to spend in 2011/12 than in 2010/11 (£335.8 million compared to £376 million) [London Poverty Profile].
Newham is one of 20 districts in Britain where the absolute scale of financial loss from the welfare reforms is greatest: an estimated total of £127m per year [Hitting the Poorest Places Hardest: the local and regional impact of welfare reform, Sheffield Hallam University (April 2013)]".
Now, coming back to the question, let us see, what Newham's Labour council has been doing for residents over the last few years:
- Council Tax frozen since 2009. Lowest of all outer London Boroughs!
- FREE SCHOOL MEALS for primary schools long before the current government caught on to the idea – they copied Newham!
- Since 2007, Workplace, Newham Council's employment service, has helped almost 20,000 residents into work including 2,485 since this April. In addition almost 1,100 residents have accessed free training to improve their chances of getting a job. John Burton, Development Director, Westfield Stratford City says "Sir Robin tasked us with delivering: "jobs, jobs and more jobs" at Westfield Stratford City. Through our partnership with Workplace, we have been able to supply a huge pool of job- ready residents for Westfield employers to recruit from."
- Every Child Matters: Free music tuition to encourage children in the arts and culture and extra tuition to get children reading.
- FREE parking permit for the first car in every household in Newham where there is an RPZ.
- 30 FREE visitors permits per month to households without cars!
- FREE bulky waste collection! Other Boroughs charge for this service!
- FREE events to bring communities together!
- Extra police in Newham: Newham Council pays out of its own budget for extra police officers to make us feel safer!
- A brand new Atherton Leisure Centre opening in 2015!
- A brand new Library and Service Centre recently opened in East Ham!
- Landlord Licensing Scheme has made Newham cleaner. In the past landlords who don't live in the area used to pile the front gardens with unwanted furniture and waste, which they could not be bothered to pay to get rid of. Now almost every private rented house has a decent front yard, which makes streets look cleaner, and most importantly stops vermin. Housing conditions for residents renting is also getting better as the council is forcing unscrupulous landlords to invest in their properties to make it habitable for the 21st century!
Newham Council, under the leadership of Mayor Sir Robin Wales, is working hard, to support residents in the best way possible, and support as many as possible, under the very difficult and savage cuts imposed by the Tories.
Despite these difficulties Labour is working hard to maintain services and not cut them, that's' what politics is all about!
The Tories may sing and dance about the so-called 'recovery', but people in Newham people are certainly not seeing this in their lives. That's because what's more important for the Tories is helping out their rich friends in Richmond then look after some of the most deprived communities in the country! The draconian 'Bedroom Tax' is driving people out of areas they were born in and lived all their lives, it's dividing families and communities. How are people supposed to feel part of a community if they cannot settle in one place because the Tory government keeps changing the goal posts?
At the end of the day, after all the dust settles, election promises made and gone, in east London, history will testify that there is only one party you can depend on to support and stand shoulder to shoulder with the community during the tough times - The Labour Party – working for a united the east end.
Labour Party Candidate for the 2014 Council Elections in Green Street West in Newham