View from the Town Hall: We are determined to fix housing crisis

PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 March 2019

Rokhsana Fiaz

Last month my administration marked a milestone by passing our first budget. Our People’s Budget delivers on the wants and needs of our residents and will steer our finances towards supporting the ambitious manifesto pledges upon which I was elected last year.

It’s a different sort of budget in many ways because residents were empowered to be part of the setting process through the People’s Budget Forums and through earlier Citizens’ Assemblies.

Investment is delivered where it’s most needed – in housing, children’s services and special educational needs. We are investing heavily in youth service provision as part of a package of programmes designed to keep our young people safe and help them thrive. We’ve allocated money to make sure our dedicated care workers who look after our most vulnerable residents are paid the London Living Wage. Though there was modest rise in the Newham element of council tax, after a 10-year freeze which meant we lost £82 million to spend on the vital services residents need, we managed to slice the amount that 19,000 lowest income households will have to pay, whilst increasing what needs to be paid if properties sit empty over long periods of time.

And on housing, last Thursday I welcomed mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his deputy mayor for housing, James Murray, to Newham to discuss where the £107 million he allocated to us last year for affordable housing, is being spent. We met with residents, including some who had been on the housing waiting list for years, and heard about the transformation we’ve made to their lives.

The money Sadiq has allocated to Newham – the highest amount in London – will deliver more genuinely affordable homes for our residents. I’m pleased to say I’m delivering on my manifesto pledges including the promise to start the first 100 social rent homes by the end of my first year in office. With more than 200 starting by the end of March, that’s double the numbers pledged last May. Two Labour mayors determined to fix the housing crisis facing Newham and London.

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