Gazette letters: Environmental resolutions, housing and debt advice

Clissold Park. Picture: VICKIE FLORES

Clissold Park. Picture: VICKIE FLORES - Credit: Vickie Flores/Archant

A new year is upon us and the months ahead once again feel full of opportunity, write Will McCallum, Newington Green.

For many, myself included, new year is a chance to set some resolutions and so I thought I’d take the opportunity to recommend some resolutions for Hackney and Islington Councils to help improve the environment we live in.

We are lucky to have local authorities that take seriously the need for a clean, healthy environment, and many of these recommendations may well already be priorities. However...

(1) We need cleaner air. Our councils should support all city-wide efforts to be as ambitious as they can be in reducing the number of diesel vehicles on our roads and increasing cycling opportunities.

(2) We need less plastic. As well as continuing to improve recycling by supporting schemes like deposit returns, the council should be investigating alternative measures aimed at reducing plastic including outright bans on unrecyclable products and water fountains in public spaces.

(3) We need more nature. Towards the end of 2017 we had the fantastic news that thousands more trees are to be planted in our boroughs. More schemes like this, as well as taking care of our green spaces in a way that fosters biodiversity, tackling invasive species and providing more opportunities for people to volunteer outdoors are all great ways of increasing the amount of nature in our area.

It was saddening to read about the family who were spending Christmas Day in one bedroom in a hostel, writes James Pickthall, Hindrey Road, Pembury Estate.

Surely Hackney Council’s housing department and social services department could have solved this problem more speedily – they do work for the same employer. Why are the council and housing associations systematically demolishing existing social properties and replacing them with a few so called affordable housing properties?

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I live in a one-bedroomed flat on the Pembury Estate with my wife and two teenage sons. My landlord has refused to place me on the transfer list for a two-bedroomed property. They say I am not overcrowded enough. There are too many two- and three-bedroomed social housing properties in Hackney being occupied by one person.

It’s about time the council and housing associations took some action to rectify this obvious problem.

Homelessness is admitted to be growing across the country, writes Max Nottingham, Lincoln, formerly of Finsbury Park and long time Gazette reader.

People are in tents and in shop doorways in all towns and cities.

This is a disgrace in winter and especially at Christmas time.

Yet Theresa May’s government can only make vague promises about dealing with what they call “rough sleepers”.

The tragic situation needs to be given greater priority by the government.

Charities and sympathetic individuals are doing wonderful work.

I’m offering free debt advice to east Londoners, writesRipon Ray, debt adviser and radio host, Victoria Park.

I am writing to let you know that I have set up a radio show to reach out to you, to listen to you and to guide you when you are having difficult times financially.

Christmas for many of you can be very difficult since the

pressure to consume can be overwhelming. After such a festive season, the time has come to pay off such debts. The question is: “How?”

No doubt budgeting may not have been an attractive option because the demands placed upon you by siblings, children and family members were irresistible. Going to meet them empty-handed was not an attractive solution.

It did not help that we were bombarded with things to purchase online, on TV and on our smartphones. Getting into debt may have been the only solution in such a time to please our loved ones and to get into a festive mood.

It is a well-known fact that debt advice is most needed in January and February as a direct consequence of spending during Christmas and New Year. Some 85 per cent of people surveyed by uSwitch said they would be paying off their credit card into the following year.

Instead of feeling disheartened and hopeless, there is advice and support available to you. Apart from getting debt advice in your local advice centres such as at Toynbee Hall or Hackney Citizens Advice Bereau in Hackney, to reach out to you, I decided give debt advice on two radio

stations: Betar Bangla and East London Radio. I am on Betar Bangla Radio every last Thursday of every month between 4-5pm. You can call in, listen to expert benefit advisers, and debtors who have been successfully

managed their debts through my debt advice. You will also be able to call in with your queries and listen to my expert advice. I have also been giving debt advice at Toynbee Hall for over five years.

I believe if you seek advice sooner than later, you will avoid facing those sleepless nights in the future.