Hackney Mayor speaks on housing debate

Afforable and Attractive: Meynell Cresent, Hackney,  E9. Photo: flickr.com

Hackney Houses: Meynell Cresent E9. Photo: flickr.com

The Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe has spoken out about the challenge of providing affordable housing to the people of Hackney.

Talking at an open meeting in the Council Chamber at Hackney Town Hall on July 17,  Pipe defended his authority by saying: “Hackney is consistently in the top half dozen boroughs for new affordable homes”.

London’s growing population is set to reach 9 million by 2025, and could see Hackney’s housing authorities face major financial woes if more money is not put into the borough’s housing trust. Pipe expressed his urgency for financial change stating: “The borough needs £40m per year and is currently getting £10m-£12m. We need to lift the borrowing cap on the HRA” (Housing Revenue Account).

The re-elected Mayor of Hackney and Chair of the London Councils attended the meeting where he answered probing questions regarding issues concerning Hackney residents. Members of the Overview and Scrutiny board decided upon which questions, as sent in by local residents, were to be discussed and debated at the open meeting.

Hackney Town Hall: Where Jules Pipe spoke on the Debate.  Photo: flickr.com.

Hackney Town Hall: Where Jules Pipe spoke during the Debate. Photo: flickr.com.

The debate saw councilors address issues about unemployment and air pollution – all of which were considered additional subject matters of concern to the residents of Hackney.

Following on from the 2012 London Olympics which saw hundreds of temporary jobs made readily available to residents in and around the Hackney and East – London area, the concern that fewer jobs now exist were raised for conccern at the meeting. Speaking on the matter  Pipe said: “New comers generally have work as otherwise probably couldn’t afford it but obviously we’re trying to grow the economy and jobs for local people. There is also the WIW (Ways into Work) that has NEETs” – a term describing young people who are not in employment, training or education,  “as a priority”. Extra benefits through WIW can access training and volunteering placements too. We are working on that and trying to train more residents and encourage them to start their own”.

Pipe also highlighted the importance of encouraging non – pollution transport in the Hackney area. He said this type of transport is “increasing charging points within the borough and cycling priority. In cycling we are fourth after Oxford, Cambridge and Scilly.  We set target for the amount of all journeys to be taken by bike and provide training for children and lorry drivers. To achieve that, we do little things that are important like cycle surgeries, showers in buildings, parking for bikes, kerbside stuff”.

The next meeting will be held on September 12, where the board will be questioning Councillor Jonathan McShane, local Councillor for Haggerston Ward and Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture in Hackney.

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