Party chiefs outline promises as Hackney goes to the polls
PUBLISHED: 11:11 22 May 2014 | UPDATED: 11:11 22 May 2014
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As voters go to the polls across Hackney, experts believe it will be another landslide victory for the Labour Party.
Currently, the council is made up of 49 Labour, five Conservative, three Liberal Democrat councillors and a directly-elected Labour Mayor.
Following changes to ward boundaries, there will now be 21 wards in the borough.
The Gazette spoke to party leaders before the poll. .
The Conservative party is fielding candidates in every ward. Mayoral candidate Cllr Linda Kelly is standing in Leabridge. She outlines her plans to be a listening Mayor who takes on board what residents say.
“I plan to involve residents in consultations right from the beginning, rather than imposing what I want on them”, she said. “That’s what I’m promising. “It’s important people are part of the decision process right the way through. I also plan to listen to what the elderly and disabled want and design the town centre around their needs.
“I’ve also seen lots of heritage buildings disappear in Leabridge and it’s not going to happen on my watch.
“My first manifesto is getting rid of Hackney Today and saving £250,000. There will be no going back. Anyone who loses a job on Hackney Today will be given another job they can do in Hackney.
“The biggest misnomer is affordable housing. Affordable for whom? They average salary in Hackney is £31,000. A studio in Woodberry Down is selling for £299,0000. Where does affordable fit in if you earn that? The same with shared ownership. If you pay a 25 per cent share on a home and the boiler goes, the council don’t pay a penny to fix it. The only way we can change that is sitting down with developers and giving them incentives.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Cllr Ian Sharer is hoping to be re-elected in Cazenove Ward and for the party to pick up more seats. He said that ensuring a transparent democratic process was one of his key manifestos. “The new governance papers will change the way the council is run. Rather than having 12 full council meetings, there will now be five and more matters will be decided by the Labour leadership. If we are not a part of it, we will refuse to go to meetings.”
He also added that he would be helping residents with extending their homes but would not support unregulated extensions.
Jules Pipe, Labour leader and incumbent mayor, said: “Every single vote is important and Labour candidates have spoken to thousands of voters in every single ward in Hackney in this campaign.
“That’s many tens of thousands of conversations we’ve had with residents across the borough about their hopes for housing, schools and job opportunities, and what we’re pledging to do for the borough.
“I believe that residents can trust our promises here in Hackney based on our record, whether it’s freezing council tax for a record nine years, delivering school improvements, or creating one of the country’s largest affordable housing programmes.
“There’s always more to be done though, not least ensuring that all residents can benefit from Hackney’s growing economy, making it a great place for everyone - that’s why I’m standing as Mayor along with a committed team of Labour ward candidates.”