First, let me wish you a very happy new year.
The Tories started 2016 as they mean to continue, with vindictive attacks on social housing, the trade union movement, and the NHS – and a response to the refugee crisis which is a betrayal of our values. Providing asylum is the sign of a civilised country.
We must continue to fight for our people – but opposition is never enough. We need to demonstrate the positive difference Labour makes – and I am proud that Newham is showing that another way is possible:
• Our borough-wide private rented sector licensing scheme has resulted in over 1,000 slum landlords prosecuted or cautioned
• Our Workplace programme has helped over 28,000 residents into jobs (two and a half times more than the rest of East London put together) and 16,000 into training – by far the largest local programme in the country
• Our unique Every Newham Child Programme goes from strength to strength; over 12,000 children received free weekly music tuition last term (on their free instrument).
However, we are facing a huge financial challenge with massive government cuts. I, along with many members of my executive, have been visiting party members to ask what they think our response should be. These visits will continue but I wanted to give all Party members the opportunity to input their ideas, thoughts and concerns directly to me. So, we will be holding 2 meetings for Labour Party members:
• Thursday January 28th at the Lister Room in East Ham Town Hall at 7.15
• Monday February 8th in Stratford library at 7.15
It would great if you could attend one of them (or both if you’re a glutton for punishment), listen to our current thinking and have your say. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know which of these meetings you will be attending.
This is a time for the Labour Party to unite to defend our people against an increasingly confident Tory government.
Finally, one thing which has become clear through our member visits is that we have not explained sufficiently well just how radical and successful we are as a Council.
So, starting this week I will be writing a regular blog – you can find it www.newhamlabour.co.uk/blog. Do please visit and read it.
Sir Robin Wales
Mayor of Newham
PS. Thank you to everyone who has been attending our recent campaign sessions – we saw in Boleyn how much impact a strong campaign can have, alongside an excellent candidate and a powerful message.
We need to keep the pressure up, as every vote counts for the GLA elections in May, and Newham needs Sadiq and Unmesh in City Hall. I look forward to seeing you on the doorstep soon.