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View from the house: Improvements but more work to do

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 April 2018

Archant

We can all see striking improvements in the region. Young people growing up can look forward to much better opportunities.

Once, we were seen as the “poor part” of London. Now – especially since the Olympics – we are the exciting part.

Yet, at the same time, life is very hard for many. Thankfully there are jobs, but often part time and insecure.

Allowing for inflation, wages are still less than in 2010, but rents have soared. Last week I opened a new foodbank in my constituency.

More and more families just can’t afford even the basics.

Tory policies are making matters worse. Universal Credit, set to hit Newham later this year, will cause real hardship. Public services – the NHS, police, local councils, voluntary groups – are all being cut, and struggling with rising demand.

A constituent has lived for 13 years in a rented house she shares with her young daughter. The landlord planned a major renovation, and asked her to move to a friend’s while the friend was on holiday. She did – but now the landlord has moved a different tenant into her house!

Fortunately, Newham Council has landlord licensing. The Tory Government was very slow to re-authorise Newham’s scheme for five more years but – after a debate in Parliament highlighted its advantages – finally agreed. It means, in Newham, there is a chance to protect someone like my constituent from a rogue landlord.

Landlord licensing is one of many notable achievements of outgoing Newham mayor, Sir Robin Wales. It illustrates why people in our area need an imaginative and effective Labour Council, to stand up for their interests. And that’s why I will be campaigning hard to elect Sir Robin’s successor, Rokhsana Fiaz as mayor, and all the Labour Council candidates, to continue this vital work for the next four years.

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