Rebuilding a better Hackney – a fairer, more equal recovery from coronavirus
There can be no return to ‘business as usual’ as Hackney continues to support its communities through coronavirus and rebuilds a fairer economy and greener borough, a new Council report sets out.
The Rebuilding a Better Hackney report makes 43 commitments to residents, businesses and voluntary groups about how the Council will manage the next phase of responding to the pandemic, reinvent some of its services and take advantage of a historic opportunity to tackle inequality and the climate emergency.
The Government must also do more to help the borough get back on its feet, the report details, devolving power and funding to councils rather than taking centralised decisions with little local input.
225 Hackney residents have died with coronavirus, although the rate of deaths has drastically reduced since a peak in early April. The Council’s response has focussed on providing emergency support – including delivering more than 14,000 food parcels, helping 170 rough sleepers off the streets and distributing more than £62million in business grants.
The Council’s commitments for the next phase of the response include:
- Ending rough sleeping, with no rough sleepers asked to leave emergency accommodation
- Delivering on our commitment to tackle structural inequality and systemic racism
- Boosting digital infrastructure, volunteering and befriending projects to ensure social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation
- Dedicated jobs, skills and training support for those who have lost work or are coming off furlough – including those wanting to start their own business
- Fighting for fair pay and employment rights, and working with businesses to encourage apprenticeships and a living wage
- Publishing a radical post-lockdown transport plan that makes Hackney’s neighbourhoods places for people, not cars
More details on the measures will be set out in the coming weeks and months.
Despite the challenges, we are clear that we must continue to support those most disadvantaged in our borough, campaign on their behalf and seek a more equal recovery.
We must stand behind our small businesses, and seize the opportunity to rebuild a more inclusive local economy driven by what profits our society, not just big business or shareholders. And we must build on some of the emergency transport and environmental measures we’ve taken as we make a permanently greener and cleaner Hackney.
We must rebuild a better Hackney as we come out of the first phase of this crisis. It must be our mission to end rough sleeping, ensure nobody in Hackney goes hungry, support the inclusive economy, keep building the homes the borough needs and ensure a clear employment and skills offer available to all – whether someone is coming off furlough and losing their job, or is a young person leaving school or college and needing support to start their career.
Over the next few months, we’ll get on with implementing some of the plans in this report, consult and listen to residents about their ideas and, where we need extra powers or funding from the Government, we will ask for them. At the heart of all our work will be our ambition to make Hackney a fairer, more equal borough.
The report also sets out the Council’s demands of the Government – including urgently establishing a coronavirus public inquiry, changing our welfare system to support those most in need, further financial and furlough support for businesses unable to reopen fully, and radical programmes to retrofit homes and meet air quality targets.