EastLondonLines talked to John Biggs, Labour’s current Assembly member for City and East, about his campaign for re-election.
In the videos below, he discusses road safety and what can be done about it in the wake of deaths at Bow roundabout, before going on to outline the issues he sees in the borough.
• Invest in lower-income areas and give their people a “voice” so as to reduce deprivation and inequality
• “Maximise the benefits from the Olympics.”
• Build on “a track record of speaking up for the area and not pulling my punches.”
• Create more 20 mile an hour zones and redesign dangerous junctions to improve road safety.
“Everyone who lives in Tower Hamlets is within easy reach of thousands and thousands of jobs, but they have high levels of unemployment. That tells you something else isn’t working. It might be about skills and confidence, it might be abut childcare costs, it might be about health issues – there’s a range of reasons why people might not be working, and we’ve got a duty as representatives to understand and tackle those.”
Biggs, who has campaigned about the Bow roundabout since 2009, said: “I became involved long before anyone was seriously injured or killed there, because it was clearly an accident waiting to happen. It’s a very busy junction and increasing numbers of people wanted to cycle or walk across it and something urgently needed to be done.
“What it highlighted to me was that there’s something wrong with the way in which we prioritise problems because it was clearly a problem and yet it wasn’t recognised as one until after two people were killed there.”
Discussing Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone’s proposal for a London-wide replacement for the Educational Maintenance Allowance, Biggs said the GLA has not considered it because: “We don’t have direct educational power at City Hall”.
Biggs, a former city analyst from Stepney and one-time leader of Tower Hamlets Council, has represented City and East since the foundation of the Assembly in 2000, and has been in borough politics for over 24 years. He was short-listed for selection as Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2010, but came second to Lutfur Rahman. He is an honorary Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London.