Friday, November 25, 2011

New Tenant Participation Newsletter for Hackney Homes Residents

Hackney Homes has launched a new newsletter dedicated to resident participation.  Whether it is getting involved in scrutiny, signing up to the Hackney Homes Community of Enterprise website or starting a community project, you can read about it all here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Statement from Meg Hillier MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch

"I am shocked and horrified by the events in Hackney.

"The thugs behind this need to be dealt with by the police.

"Hackney has seen such progress in the last decade. We must condemn the violence. Hackney is a commnunity of diversity and tolerance and we need to make sure that these are the characteristics Hackney is known by, not the actions of some mindless, violent thugs.

"If people have grievances we must use the democratic process to resolve them."

"I have spoken to the Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Bending who I will be meeting urgently. I will also be meeting community leaders and business representatives later today to discuss the clean up and how we rebuild the community"

If you have any thoughts and suggestions about where we go from here after such awful events please let me know


Statement from Jennette Arnold AM

Over the past two nights, following similar disturbances in Tottenham and Enfield, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest have all borne witness to devastating looting and violence.

Last Thursday in Tottenham, Mark Duggan, a father of four, lost his life during a police operation. Mr Duggan’s family subsequently organised a peaceful protest on Saturday only for it to be hijacked by a few thugs leading to widespread violence in the Tottenham constituency. I added my voice and support to David Lammy MP in Tottenham who condemned the opportunistic violence.

As the violence extended across London into Sunday and Monday, we moved well beyond any relationship between this violence and the death of Mark Duggan as a minority of opportunistic people used the unrest as an excuse to riot in their own communities, wreaking havoc on the streets of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.We have all been deeply shocked and angered by these events.

I have also been moved by the stories of heroism that are emerging and the work, foresight and sense of community of those taking part in local clean-up operations. But what action should we take to deal with the immediacy of the crisis and to consider preventing a repetition?

I have had discussions with police and community leaders in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. I have raised a number of concerns, witnessed Metropolitan Police senior staff willing to accept outside help, and was inspired by the commitment from all parties to moving forward together. Some had seen it all before and thought they would never witness it again; others were shocked to see for the first time scenes more redolent of an urban war zone.

It is easy to assume we have quick fixes. There has been much criminal activity and the police will, quite rightly, investigate that thoroughly.

But there are broader and more complex issues here. My position is this:

Enforce the law -- people I have spoken to do not want any 'no-go' areas for the police in London; criminal behaviour must be dealt with using the full force of the law.

Let the Independent Police Complaints Commission do it's job -- we argued for this body to exist as an alternative to the police service investigating itself. They need time to assemble the facts surrounding the death of Mark Duggan and to make recommendations.

Adopt economic policies that support local people -- the recession has left some people facing real hardship and there are concerns about social dislocation. We need policies that will enable investment and growth, rather than a focus on what will be the next area to be cut.

And we the community must continue with our message that we will not stand for this. We will work to bring the perpetrators to justice – they do not speak for us. We live in wonderful communities with strong senses of solidarity- we will not allow this to drag us down.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM

Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe responds to last night's events.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, said: "I am appalled by the events of last night. These were people bent on violence who attacked not just property and local businesses but put residents in fear of their lives. The Council has cleared away all the debris from last night and Hackney is going about its business, but if we are to avoid a repeat of last night, I am urging families across London to make sure they know where their children are and to support the police in identifying perpetrators.

“The Council's cleaners were on the streets throughout the night and had cleared away all the debris, apart from a few burnt out cars, by 7.30am and I would like to pay tribute to them for their hard work. I would also like to thank the several hundred residents and volunteers who turned up at Hackney Town Hall this morning offering to help clean up the borough. This shows overwhelming generosity and community spirit and many were keen to go and help in other parts of London when it was clear the clean up in Hackney was already complete.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hoxton Hall Wins Heritage Lottery

Hoxton Hall theatre has been awarded £207,000 Heritage Lottery Funding to help restore and preserve its Grade II listed building.
Hoxton Councillors are delighted for Hoxton Hall as this money will now be used to help retain this much loved venue.  it will also mean the management will be able to seek further funding to improve community engagement activities.  
You can read more about Hoxton Hall's successful bid here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Referendum - 5 May Election

There will be a nation-wide referendum on the parliamentary voting system on 5 May and every registered voter will have the opportunity decided whether changes should be made or if it should remain the same.

A referendum asks you to vote yes or no to a proposal. For this referendum, you will receive a ballot paper with this question: At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead?

To find our about the reasons to vote 'No' visit the No Campaign website for detail of why they think we should continue using the first past the post system. 

The campaigners for a 'Yes' vote have set out their reason they think we should change to the AV system on their website here.

If more people vote 'yes' than 'no' in the referendum, then the 'alternative vote', or AV, system will be used for future parliamentary elections.

There will be no elections for councillors in Hackney on this day however, it is still important that everyone registered to vote does so.

If you are unsure if you are eligible to vote, you can find out here.
If you are eligible, but are not registered to vote, you need to register to vote by 14 April.
If you are registered, but would like to apply for a postal or proxy vote, please see the ways to vote
 page on the council's website.

You can read more about the referendum on the
 About My Vote website or watch the video from their website.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Have Your Say on Scrutiny

Scrutiny plays an important role in the development of better policies and improving performance, and can hold the Council and outside agencies to account, including police and the health service.

Last year's survey found that making the borough safer was the top priority, so one of the Scrutiny Commissions completed a review of how the council and police are working together to address gun and knife crime. Residents also said that education services were important, so a Commission reviewed local achievement at Key Stage 2.

What matters to you most locally? Fill in the short survey online and help to influence the work of Hackney Council's scrutiny commissions.

You can follow the work of the Community Safety and Social Inclusion Panel chaired by Councillors Carole Williams here and the Living in Hackney Scrutiny Panel chaired by Councillor Philip Glanville here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Hackney Council Budget 2001/12

This week Hackney Council passed its budget amid protests against cuts.

There has been a great deal of publicity about council passing on government cuts and, on Wednesday 2 March,  Hackney was among 17 Council to set their budget for 2011/12 financial year. It was with heavy hearts that we voted for cuts. However, we are also pleased that we were able to set a budget that protects frontline service.  We are also pleased with what we have been able to achieve as a council over the past eight years.

Over those eight years, there were no protests about the council's proposals for the budget.  On the contrary. For eight years running Hackney Council, under the leadership of Jules Pipe, has set a budget without any service cuts.  In short, as a council we have invested in the future of this borough.  Previous budgets have invested in schools, housing, parks and borough roads and millions of pounds of savings have been ploughed back into improving services and making Hackney a better place to live.

It has been because of this council's prudent management of the budget in the last eight years that we were able to support  the 2011/12 budget which, although makes £44m of cuts, delivers front line services in a seamless way. Libraries will not be closed, children's centres and leisure services will remain open and youth facilities will remain unaffected.

In any other circumstances we would not have chosen to make any cuts in the council budget, however, when the coalition government announced the borough's grant settlement just prior to Christmas, we learned of the devasting impact that an 8.9% reduction in our funding would have across the borough. We were even more devastated to learn that, in real terms, that meant Hackney's budget would be reduced by 14%.

As publicly elected officials we had two choices. The first was to balance the budget and ensure that the impact on the residents of Hackney was minimised.  So, we worked with the Mayor to ensure a budget that would do no further harm to Hackney residents and which would protect front line services.

The second option that we were faced with was to set an illegal budget. However, that would have resulted in the council being unable to borrow and unable collect council tax. In addition, instead of having to find savings of £44m, we would be faced with having to find savings of £114m.  Meaning that there would be £114m less to spend on services.  The implications of such a decision for service delivery are evident.

We therefore supported the mayor's budget in order to protect front line services which included a decision to make cuts to senior officer roles, not to fill current vacancies and to cut agency staff.

Full details of the budget are available on the council's website here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Facts about the 2011 Census

  1. The 2011 Census is taking place in March and Royal Mail will begin sending out forms from 7 March. They will arrive in our letter boxes about a week later.
  2. Forms should be completed on or as soon after the 27 March (Census Day) but they can in fact be completed and returned in advance.
  3. If you have access to the internet, remember that you can complete the census online.
  4. If there are more than 6 people in your household, you will need to order extra forms. The national helpline number will be printed on the first page of the census. They will be the first port of call for help.
  5. If we don't get a very good response rate in Hackney, it could cost the borough hundreds of millions over the coming decade. The population figures are used as a basic factor in calculating the Revenue Support Grant, health and education funding and for other services.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

London Cycle Hire Scheme

The London Cycle Hire scheme has been a great success with many of the cycles stations in Hoxton out of bikes during the morning rush hour and full again by early evening. 

Because of that success Transport for London have approved plans to intensify the number of sites in the existing area of the scheme. 

TfL have recently agreed funding for 10-12 sites.  Some of these will be within the existing area and others will be in the extended phase 2 of the scheme.  More news on phase two will be posted as soon as we have an update.

It is proposed that a number of these will be in Hoxton around Eaglewharf Road, near Fanshaw Street and on Pitfield Street.  Sites will be shortlisted soon.  As with the original scheme each site will need to go through the formal planning application process.  As soon as we have any more information, we will update this blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Education Maintenance Allowance

The EMA started in 2004/05 academic year to help students from lower income backgrounds to stay on in education post 16.   Thirty pounds per week has been paid making a difference to support them while studying.  

London has one of the highest percentages (54%) of 16-18 year receiving EMA in England and Hackney has one of the highest percentages in London. Fifty-eight percent of students at BSix college and 41% of students at Hackney Community College are in receipt of EMA. Take up has also been calculated in Hackney Schools. Those with the biggest take up are Cardinal Pole (73%) and Clapton Girls Technology College (76%).

The government proposed to cut that support to students and we believe that this will have a  serious impact for students in Hackney, not only for 16-18’s but also for adults, many of whom will have to pay fees for the first time. Hardship funds will be increased but only at about 10% of current EMA spending.

Hackney Councillors are not the only one's concerned about the abolition of the grant.  While take up rates are important for understanding the impact of the cut, the Institute for Fiscal Studies recently reported that showed there are other benefits too.  For example, those who receive EMA have more study time as a result of not having to take on a part-time job.

Despite last week's vote in parliament to abolish the EMA, we are heartened to learn that students will be attending the Council meeting on Wednesday 26 January to express their concerns about this impact cuts will have on young people in the borough

Full minutes of that meeting will be available on the councils' website.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Blue Hut Re-opens

After campaigning alongside the community to ensure the future of the Blue Hut youth club, we are delighted to learn that SkyWay will be reopening the Blue Hut from 24 January.

The club, run by Skyway, is part funded by Hackney Council and is one of the few local facilities dedicated to young people in this part of the borough.  That is why Hoxton Councillors were so disappointed to learn of its closure following a decision taken by Skyway.

The club has been a valuable and much loved local resource, and the four day a week programme that they will be running alongside Arsenal in the Community, will ensure that we once again have activities for young people in this part of the borough.

The club will reopen on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.