10:10, crime, local democracy - young people grill civic leaders

THE 10:10 pledge to cut carbon emissions, crime, and local democracy were among the topics discussed when young people from Hackney grilled a panel of civic leaders including Diane Abbott MP during Local Democracy Week (12-16 October).

More than 80 young people from six Hackney secondary schools put quesiotns to a panel including directly-elected Mayor Jules Pipe and Chief Superintendent Steve Bending, Borough Commander of Hackney police, on the issues that mattered to them in Hackney Town Hall’s Council Chamber on 13 October.

Students from Cardinal Pole RC School; The Petchey Academy; Our Lady’s Convent High School; Hackney Free and Parochial C of E School; Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls and Stoke Newington School took part in the event.

Kiran-jot Kaur, 16, asked how the Council intended to meet the 10:10 pledge it had recently signed, to cut carbon emissions by 10% by 2010.

The Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls pupil said: “It was important that I asked this and I was looking forward to it, as I’d heard about the pledge. I thought the answer I got was good, and it was a good opportunity for me.”

Questions put to the panel, made up of Mayor Pipe; Chief Superintendent Steve Bending, Borough Commander of Hackney police; Cllr Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services; Steve Belk, Deputy Chief Executive of The Learning Trust, which manages education services in Hackney; and Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington; included what councils were doing to improve education; how public services meet the challenge of promoting community cohesion; and raising education standards.

Mayor Pipe said: “Democracy is one of the cornerstones of our society, and it was important to be put on the spot by sharp, intelligent questioning on the issues that are important to Hackney’s young people.”

After the one-hour session, students from across Hackney schools attended a Youth Democracy Fair where they found out about services available for young people in the borough, and how to get involved with local politics such as the Hackney Youth Parliament, in which nearly half of all Hackney youth voted in elections held last year.