#ELLGE2015 Hackney South: housing, jobs key issues

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We return to Hackney for this profile of the Hackney South and Shoreditch constituency. An ethnically, culturally and economically diverse area, the constituency has been persistent in returning Labour MPs since the late 1970s, and incumbent MP Meg Hillier is seeking a third term on the back of her 33 per cent majority in the 2010 general election.




999 hectares


Hackney South and Shoreditch is a Labour stronghold. It has been Labour-dominated since its creation in 1974. Former MP Ronald Brown defected to the Social Democratic Party in 1981, but was then defeated at the 1983 general election and the seat reverted back to Labour.

The constituency, one of the most ethnically diverse in the UK, borders the Olympic Park and is divided into nine wards: Chatham, De Beauvoir, Hackney Central, Haggerston, King’s Park, Queensbridge, Victoria and Wick. Nearly 40 per cent of residents were born outside of the UK.

In the last general election, Labour’s Meg Hillier won with a majority of 33 percent over second-placed Liberal Democrat candidate Dave Raval. The Conservatives only received 13.5 per cent of the votes and the Greens 3.5 per cent.

However, in the 2014 local elections, one in five voted for the Greens.

Housing is a major issue for the constituency, which has the second-highest percentage of residents in social housing in the UK. More than 50 per cent of its residents are reliant on social housing and only 20.5 per cent own their home – the lowest rate of any UK constituency.

In addition to the issue of housing, there is a high rate of unemployment among families with children and of residents who have never worked or are long-term unemployed.

While unemployment remains a serious issue in the constituency, it is also the home of Silicon Roundabout and Tech City at the south-west border of Hackney, with their many technology and communications start-ups. Many residents also work in the technology and information industries, suggesting that a high proportion of residents work locally. This proximity may explain why a relatively high 14.5 per cent of residents cycle to work.

At a recent hustings in St. John’s Church in Hoxton, the main issues raised by constituents were around housing, the economy, unemployment and education.

2015 candidates

Meg Hillier – Labour
Hillier is also a member of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.

“Housing is the number one issue. My party’s pledge to ensure that publicly-owned land is used for affordable housing is key. We’ve seen Kingsland Fire station sold for a reported £28 million. This was owned by taxpayers and a better dividend for taxpayers locally would have been to have had this site available for affordable rented homes for local families if it had to be sold.

“Childcare and health services (particularly mental health services) are also very important issues. Labour wants to introduce 25 hours’ free childcare a week for three and four year-olds and wrap-around care via schools for those who need it. We’re also clear that childcare has to be of a high quality or parents won’t want to use it.

“Neither I nor the local Labour Party ever take this seat for granted. We’re out on doorsteps all year round listening to people’s concerns and taking up issues. Politics nationally is more fragmented – no one party won the last election outright, but locally our support is holding up well.

“People are looking for a change from this present Government which has not delivered for them.”

The Labour Party have already said they would abolish the ‘bedroom tax’ and in an announcement earlier this week they pledged to bring back rent controls and abolish stamp duty on homes valued at under £300,000.


Jack Tinley – Conservatives
“A lot of new young members have joined the Conservatives in Hackney over the last couple of years, so we have lots of enthusiastic supporters.”

On supporting local businesses: “Many of the positive changes we have seen in Hackney in recent years have been thanks to businesses starting up or moving to the area, creating jobs and opportunity. The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance has fallen by over 40 per cent in the last five years – a great sign of the progress Hackney has made under this government.

“People in Hackney are progressive and open-minded. The Conservative Party has delivered real benefits for Hackney and has a lot to offer in the future.”


Ben Mathis – Liberal Democrats

Angus Small – UKIP
No information on this candidate was available at the time of publishing.

Charlotte George – Green
On housing: “We have a very high number of people who are private renters in Hackney, so we really think there need to be rent controls that need to be enforceable, as well as longer tenancies of five years as standard. So people who can’t afford to buy, they’ve got some security and they can actually still build a life and feel part of the community, knowing that they can rent for a longer period of time.

“We also think that, across all of the UK, we need to build more social rented housing. All the parties are offering to build more houses; we’re the only ones who are saying they have to be socially rented, because that’s the part of the market that is really lacking at the moment.”

On the NHS: “The NHS is a huge national institution, so our policies tend to be very broad, except that one of our policies is to try and create as much local provision of healthcare as possible. We think local communities and doing things on a local level is much more responsive and efficient.

“Our plans are to increase funding to the NHS by £12 billion a year, but also wherever possible to focus on local health care provision. So that means any of the Hackney healthcare providers will be able to be much more responsive to the needs of Hackney’s community, and we think this will be good for Hackney and for everyone.”

Taiwo Adewuyi – Christian Peoples’ Alliance
Taiwo Adewuyi CV

Brian Debus – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coallition
Brian Debus CV

Russell Shaw Higgs – Independent
Russell Shaw Higgs on Twitter

Bill Rogers – Workers’ Revolutionary Party
No information on this candidate was available at the time of publishing.

Gordon Shrigley – Campaign

Paul Birch – Cannabis Is Safer than Alcohol

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