'No serious attempt at long-term, practical solutions' – Mayor of Hackney responds to Queen's Speech
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, responds to today's Queen's Speech:
This fantasy legislative agenda would leave families in Hackney with fewer rights, less protected from a climate catastrophe and with no more help to access genuinely affordable housing.
Our communities have no faith that ministers who mismanaged the Windrush scandal and championed a hostile environment could implement a new immigration system that is fair, simple and adequately protects residents from the bureaucratic mistakes that have come to define the current Home Office. Ending freedom of movement would be a retrograde step that fails to recognise the huge contribution EU citizens have made to Hackney and the country as a whole.
While we will always welcome more police officers, a blunt increase in numbers won’t tackle issues like rising knife crime without also investing in innovative projects that work in partnership and with the consent of our communities. It is important that there is long-term investment in this work so that more councils are able to follow our lead in providing a comprehensive offer for young people.
The Government’s environmental legislation must – at a bare minimum – cement existing EU protections into UK law. But ministers must go much further and take the radical, practical steps necessary to prevent a global catastrophe. At present, it falls woefully short of current EU regulations, let alone responds to the climate emergency.
It is a national disgrace that when thousands of families in Hackney are homeless, the Government is failing yet again to offer any meaningful solutions to the housing crisis or funding to build the new generation of genuinely affordable Council homes our borough and city so desperately needs.
More than two years after the Grenfell Tower disaster, it is lamentable that no detailed proposals for a new system of building regulations have been provided. Similarly, the lack of detail on long-overdue adult social care reform delivers little for councils facing a funding crisis.
Although some draft legislation, such as the Domestic Abuse Bill, is hugely welcome, it is disappointing that today’s announcement mainly consists of a series of short-term headline-grabbing announcements, rather than a serious attempt at long-term, practical solutions to the problems that residents in Hackney face every day.
Brexit and immigration
Hackney Council passed a motion calling on the Government to rule out a ‘no deal’ Brexit and extend Article 50 if necessary in January.
The Council has also called for the Windrush Compensation Scheme to be simple, reasonable and transparent.
The Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Audit Committee have both said that the draft Environment Bill falls woefully short of the current EU protections on offer.
Hackney Council declared a climate emergency in February, and pledged to reach zero net emissions by 2040 in June. The Mayor of Hackney gave evidence to Parliament in June, urging the Government to make sure big corporate producers and brands that sell or produce goods in plastic packaging pick up the bill for the waste they cause.
Policing and crime
Hackney Council’s Integrated Gangs Unit brings together staff from the Council, police, third-sector organisations and government agencies to tackle gang-related violent crime. It has been recognised as a good example of cross-sector working that has delivered a reduction in violent crime.
There are over 13,000 families on Hackney Council’s housing waiting list, more than 3,000 of whom are homeless and in temporary accommodation.
Hackney is building 2,000 homes itself between 2018-22, with the majority for genuinely affordable social rent and shared ownership. Without additional Government funding, the Council is unable to build more homes or use a greater proportion of its housebuilding programme for social rent.
The independent Hackitt report, commissioned after the Grenfell Tower fire to investigate building regulations and fire safety, was published in May 2018. The Government has not published any draft legislation to implement its recommendations.