Recorder letters: True reporting, litter police, voting age, local cllrs and budget

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 December 2017

Redbridge Town Hall

Redbridge Town Hall


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Recorder tells us what really happens

Clive Power, Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead, writes:

It was enlightening to read both Redbridge Council’s and your own Rosie Fenton’s contrasting tweets from the November 21 Cabinet meeting.

On several matters, such as the discussion of a critical report from the Ombudsman, Rosie reported what was said at the meeting. The council tweet gave no details.

That’s one reason why I trust the Recorder will continue to thrive: we need it to know what really happens.

The council could do better. Like all others, it publishes its agendas and minutes as pdfs.

I understand that you can’t search in these when you open them on their website (you can after you download them) and I presume that’s why details from these documents can’t usually be found by web searching.

I looked for several phrases from recent Cabinet minutes in Google and got no hits.

I know the council wishes to be better than the pack; that Redbridge should be a leader.

I support this. So how about them being a leader in open government and – being a first? – ensure the text of their reports, minutes and agendas appear in Google searches?

And even, when the tech is there (if not already), use auto-transcribing to put online – as text and sound – all the discussions at council meetings.

Surprised litter scheme stopped

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

I was astounded to read that Redbridge Council’s litter police scheme working with private company MLS had been stopped early due to lack of incomes received despite more than 1,000 fines being issued.

It begs the question, were not simulations run to evaluate potential minimum operational incomes required to make the scheme operable? This is basic business operations 101!

The council initiative in the first place is an excellent idea and needs to be further expanded to include the increased begging and open drinking of alcohol, especially in Ilford Town Square I’ve observed.

I agree that the town centre does look cleaner and looks great with all the ongoing improvements.

However, the number of cards advertising adult services strategically strewn on the floor in specific areas across the main shopping areas has increased and needs to be cracked down on to let the area become a more family friendly environment for all to enjoy.

Many parties want to lower voting age

Lee Burkwood, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, writes:

After Mr Speakman’s quite frankly patronising letter on young people last week, I felt I had to respond.

It is not just the Labour Party who are for extending the voting franchise to 16 to 17-year-olds.

The Green Party, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the SNP are all in favour of this as well. This is not to bamboozle young people or “gerrymander” the election, it’s to fix an anomaly.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds are allowed to do things like join the Army, work, drive (17-year-olds), get married and have sex – some of these with parental permission of course. Do we as a country feel they are not responsible enough to vote – despite offering these other things?

I have met many 16 and 17-year-olds who are mature enough, passionate about politics and would like the opportunity to vote, and yet many adults I know choose not to.

We saw in the Independence referendum in Scotland that extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds drove up turnout and didn’t actually favour the SNP’s side of the campaign, who are the party that bought it in.

Yes, Labour’s promises on student debt were all over the place. Most young people did actually vote Labour. But what is wrong with offering young people policies to help them when they’ve been ignored by politicians on all sides for years?

Councillors do not live in Chadwell

Gary Staight, Jarrow Road, Chadwell Heath, writes:

I read with some bewilderment the letter attributed to Chadwell Heath South Residents’ Association in last week’s Recorder (November 23) which extolled the virtues of the current three councillors for Chadwell Ward.

As a resident of Chadwell Ward of over 60 years, for which I was a local councillor for 18 years until 2010, I have never heard of “Chadwell Heath South Residents Association”!

One of the reasons put forward by the unnamed author of this letter as to why they are such good councillors is to quote “that they all live locally”. I would take that to mean they live in Chadwell Ward.

Looking at the London Borough of Redbridge leaflet “Ward Councillors Chadwell” it has Cllr Neil Zammett living in Wanstead, Cllr Anne Sachs living in Barkingside while Cllr Aziz Choudhury doesn’t give his address but is down c/o Members Services, the Town Hall. From what I know of Cllr Choudhury he also doesn’t live in Chadwell Ward.

When I was a local councillor I placed great store in living alongside my constituents which allowed me to observe nearly every day the state of the area and raise concerns that I had observed first hand. I also published my address and phone number so residents could contact me at home.

I can only assume the unnamed author of the letter in last week’s Recorder either doesn’t really know where the local councillors live or they have a very broad definition of what it is to be local.

Budget did not refer to police cuts

Wes Streeting MP, Ilford North , writes:

During his lengthy statement on the Budget last week, Chancellor Philip Hammond failed to mention the budget pressures on the Metropolitan Police even once.

Since 2010, the Met has lost £600million. A further £400m is planned to be cut by 2021.

Residents have noticed the impact on visible policing. Police stations are being closed. Security services have warned that the nature of the terrorism threat we face is unprecedented, but counter-terrorism policing is also being cut back.

Both the Mayor of London and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick have warned that cuts in police numbers are inevitable with budget cuts on this scale.

Having been re-elected as chair of the London Group of Labour MP, I will play my part in leading the fight back against Tory policing cuts in order to keep all Londoners safe.

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