'Time for change': Hackney Mayor on re-election plans

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville 

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville - Credit: William Mata

Philip Glanville has been Mayor of Hackney since 2016 but said his re-election this month was “about change”. 

The Labour man won 59 per cent of the vote after the borough went to the polls and has outlined his vision to the Gazette for how he wants Hackney to look.  

What was your reaction to becoming Mayor once more?

I am obviously pleased with the result. We have a big manifesto of 300 pledges, some of them came about through the Labour Party and some through contact with Hackney citizens. There is a lot about delivering social housing with 1,000 additional council units. We have got a fantastic record of investing in our parks and green spaces. We want to make sure parks have the best facilities they can. We are also preparing for our first cabinet reports and they go to publication imminently. There is a lot about a green new deal in there. We are pledging more for community energy and working with our communities to around net zero. From the very start of the election we had the Child Q report. I was very clear about our anti racism work that we proposed and held a conference around it. Work will continue on anti-poverty and the cost of living crisis. 

The first thing you said after being elected was ‘it will be a change’. Having been in power for nearly six years, what does that mean for you?

Some of the themes are universal. We are not going to stop action on climate change but we are going to do it in new ways with the community. There will be more on the environment, but also more on housing and more on creating an exclusive economy - more doing with not doing to. It’s getting power and resources into the community. We have a bold agenda. There is no point in delivering that from the town hall and saying job done, the change is for the council to be really accountable.

In what ways have you listened to the public and looked to change your stance?

There have been systemic issues around SEND (special educational needs and disability). We [in 2018] thought we could invest more in early years support. But we hadn’t listened to the educational system about SEND or parents and had low levels of trust so the idea we could change a system without building that trust failed and led to a lot of anger. So we went back and said ‘we would campaign with you, as parents, for a better system’. We have had a frozen budget since 2012 and we’re still waiting for a national solution around SEND. But we went out and got more capital to run more SEND provision. That shows that you can admit you got something wrong, stop and pause it, and then transform how you deliver it. With the council tax reduction scheme I admitted we made an error in reducing its generosity by moving it to a 17 per cent contribution. We took that down to 15 per cent at the last administration and said we have got a commitment now by 2026 to 10 per cent at least… That for me is showing that we listen and have a sense of the cost of living crisis. 

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What is the latest with the cyber attack?

If we are talking about residents wanting to join the housing list, make a claim etc… those things are now back up and running. Most of the systems are operating as normal.

There are two things people are seeing and are not happy with. If you are in a backlog we said we would complete the action by the late summer and that is still our aim. There are some complex cases that need to be reconciled. That might be rent or complex benefits or house moves, or council tax reconciliation. We’ve made colossal progress but have a lot more to do to rebuild trust and fix the problems we have. 

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville - Credit: Julia Gregory LDRS

Will your election win now silence anti-low traffic neighbourhood campaigners?

I don’t see the election win as a binary result. For me, this isn’t about a super valedictory moment. I do think though that where people have stood on a pure anti-LTN ticket, they did badly in the election. We can still make tweaks and changes. There are further interventions we want to make. I have always said you would not solve problems of traffic in Hackney by making all roads open because you just encourage more cars. I want to make sure we do all we can to address legitimate concerns.