View from the House: People are ‘crying out for change’

PUBLISHED: 13:44 12 February 2019

Lyn Brown

While their botched Brexit deal continues to dominate the news headlines, the government has tried to sneak out a shoddy deal for local councils, in the hope of burying bad news.

In Newham, Tory governments have cut £1,301 for every household, the second highest cut in the country.

Our borough has been devastated by the Tories’ brutal austerity agenda and will continue to have our vital funding slashed.

In 2011, Newham saw the second largest population growth in the country and yet, in the 10 years up to 2020, Newham Council will have seen its annual grant cut by £138 million. That is almost half its 2010 grant!

Now the Tories want to bail out councils in their own areas, looking after the few, while we suffer the consequences. Social care has been bled dry over the last eight years, leaving older people and their families paying a punishingly high price.

There are now 4,892 homeless households in Newham, living in often sub-standard temporary flats, B&Bs and hostels, making our borough the worst for homelessness in London, with a 70 per cent rise since 2013. More children live in temporary housing in Newham’s 36 square kilometres, than do in 63,000 square kilometres of Yorkshire, the south-west, the north-east, and the east midlands combined. When housing costs are taken into account, 67 per cent of children in Newham live in poverty. We have crises of childhood mental health, obesity and criminals increasingly groom kids, exploiting them across county boundaries. This often ends in the most horrific violence. That’s what makes it so important that Newham Council is able to afford children’s services, proper housing and social care; so the most vulnerable are properly looked after. The government’s heartless cuts force the council to make impossible choices between equally-essential services. It is a shameful dereliction of ministers’ responsibility for them to burden Labour councils with Tory cuts.

The people of Newham are crying out for change. We need a Labour government to throw out this broken system and invest properly in something better and fairer.

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