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Coronavirus: West Ham Labour Party members urge Newham to release plan for tackling Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 April 2020

Newham Council has been urged to release full details of its plan to tacklet the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Ken Mears

Newham Council has been urged to release full details of its plan to tacklet the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Ken Mears

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A group of Labour Party activists and campaigners has demanded the council release details of its plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of West Ham Labour’s ruling executive committee commended steps taken to date but urged the town hall to involve the community in decision making in a resolution passed at an online meeting on Monday, March 30.

It states: “As [Labour Party] members we pay tribute to the heroic work of all those delivering front line services and the army of selfless volunteers from within our community.

“There is much more that needs to be done and as elected officers we ask you to involve us, to work in close collaboration with us and use us as a resource to inform and assist your decision making.”

Members make a number of demands including: imposing sanctions on landlords who try to evict tenants during the crisis; proving personal protective equipment (PPE) to shopkeepers and a 12 week-long, temporary ban on collecting council tax and rent from poorer households affected by Covid-19.

A Newham-wide hotline, weekly update, protection for “vulnerable” migrant communities, help for care homes, PPE for frontline council staff and a hardship fund to stop people feeling forced to go to work are also among the proposals.

And more needs to be done to allay fears among people living in neighbourhoods surrounding the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Royal Docks, including greater monitoring of Covid-19 and details of any exclusion zone.

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The ExCeL Centre has been turned into a temporary hospital where up to 16,000 staff could be called in to look after up to 5,000 patients.

The resolution ends by urging the council to use the 4,000 East Ham and West Ham constituency Labour Party members to help.

Cllr Julianne Marriott, cabinet member for education, said in response: “We welcome positive ideas and contributions and would like to pay tribute to Newham’s voluntary sector, community and faith groups, business organisations and individuals who have played a massive role in responding to the unprecedented coronavirus crisis.

“As well as being in regular contact with local groups, the council is making rapid and significant changes to its services in order to protect and support our residents, particularly the most vulnerable, through the worst health pandemic for generations.

“We have taken immediate measures, for example, suspending parking enforcement in residential parking zones, except for cars causing an obstruction, and creating eight community hubs that are distributing food, picking up prescriptions and providing a telephone ‘chat’ service.

“We have also developed a range of support for businesses to help them get through the crisis and we will be using some of our £4.5million hardship fund to support eligible households to benefit from up to 100 per cent council tax reduction scheme.

“As well as taking action we are, along with other councils, both working with government and making repeated requests to them for increased powers, clarification on guidance and extra funding and support for our residents.

“The council and mayor are providing daily updates about the constantly changing situation on our website including asking residents who can to help their community by volunteering to #HelpNewham.”

To find out more email volunteers@activenewham.org.uk ​or call 020 3770 4444.


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