View from City Hall: Enforcement action must be taken

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 October 2020

Unmesh Desai AM, wants a more refined approach to a second Newham lockdown.

Unmesh Desai AM, wants a more refined approach to a second Newham lockdown.

London Assemby

Learning the lessons from the first lockdown, we must refine our approach this time around in Newham.

We need to make sure we’re improving community messaging, making the best use possible of “Covid Champions”, supporting locally-led test and trace efforts – something Keir Starmer spoke about when I met him during his visit to Newham this week – and carrying out enforcement where needed.

I will be engaging with the director of public health in the coming days to put across my thoughts.

The issue of overcrowded housing has been identified as one of the factors behind the high number of cases in Newham. When I was a local councillor, I was part of the team that pioneered the country’s first private sector licensing scheme.

The key to its success was robust enforcement, with the licensing team mounting regular operations to check that housing regulations were being observed.

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This must be repeated now, with similar enforcement actions taken against businesses that fail to follow the Covid-19 health regulations or comply with labour laws.

The importance of accountability is something that I have been consistently raising at the Assembly’s Police & Crime Committee.

Elsewhere at the Budget Committee, we have been examining the state of TfL’s finances, which have been badly impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

I made the point that while it might not be a viable option under the current circumstances, plans for a new river crossing further to the east of the city must be kept on the table for the future to deliver a boost to our local economy.

Finally, I note that whilst the petition to have a referendum on the elected mayoralty in Newham has been delivered to the council, national Covid-19 legislation may mean that the petition cannot be enacted.

A legal challenge is now being considered and the council will also hear a resolution this month to reaffirm its existing position to hold a referendum – so either way we look to be on course for one. Let the people decide!

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