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Housing and London Living Wage discussed by councillors at Ilford election event

Cllr Keith Prince Cllr Keith Prince

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
5:31 PM

Housing and the London Living Wage were among topics discussed at an amicable election event.

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Cllr Ian BondCllr Ian Bond

Housing and the London Living Wage were among topics discussed at an amicable election event.

The Ilford Salvation Army, based in Clements Road, hosted an accountability assembly attended by members of Redbridge Citizens, a branch of TELCO (The East London Communities Organisation).

In the spotlight were Cllr Keith Prince, Redbridge Council’s leader, Cllr Ian Bond, the Liberal Democrats’ leader and deputy leader of the council, and Cllr Wes Streeting, Labour’s deputy leader.

Cllr Streeting was filling in for Labour leader Cllr Jas Athwal, as he was unable to attend.

Cllr Wes StreetingCllr Wes Streeting

The meeting, which did not allow heckling or audience questions, saw councillors speak for two minutes on issues decided by Redbridge Citizens.

A Salvation Army member shared her own experience of living in bad housing while pregnant, before the councillors were asked whether they would look at creating a private landlords’ register to protect tenants.

Cllr Prince said it was “not as simple as that” and that evidence of there being enough cases would need to be provided, while Cllr Ian Bond said a solution could be found by looking for cases in specific areas rather than the whole borough.

Cllr Streeting said that action on the matter was a Labour election pledge.

After a second resident spoke of living with her son in a house infested with mice, Cllr Prince won applause for calling her situation “appalling” and pledging to look into it personally.

Cllr Bond said housing would be a priority for whoever is elected, while Cllr Streeting said all parties need to do better.

The councillors agreed to work with Redbridge Citizens to eradicate damp and repair existing properties.

During a discussion on empty housing, Cllr Streeting joked: “I think we’re in danger of consensus breaking out in an election campaign.”

Councillors were also asked whether they would seek to extend the London Living Wage to contracted-out staff such as carers.

The authority’s directly employed staff already receive at least that minimum rate.

Cllr Streeting said everyone working a “hard day’s work” should be paid adequately.

Cllr Bond said he brought the London Living Wage to the borough, with support from Cllr Prince and others. Cllr Prince also agreed.

When asked if they would hold a meeting with the 10 largest employers in Redbridge, about paying their employees the wage, the councillors all said yes.

The meeting ended with them talking about why people should vote for their parties.

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