May 26 2013 Latest news:
Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Candidates for the Havering and Redbridge constituency of the London Assembly visited Barkingside yesterday (April 16) to ask Redbridge pensioners for their vote on May 3.
At Fullwell Cross Library in High Street, the Conservative, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates made speeches to the Redbridge Pensioners Forum before being quizzed by members.
Green Party representative Haroon Saad voiced what was probably on the minds of all the politicians seated on a front table with forum chairman John Coombes when he said older people “vote in huge numbers”.
A packed room of 110 members attested to the interest of pensioners in the election with housing, public safety and access to public transport raised as key concerns.
Tory and incumbent Assembly member Roger Evans looked back to the hustings for the previous Assembly election when the issue of Freedom Passes, which provide free public transport for older Londoners, was raised.
He said: “There were concerns it would be cut.
“We have now extended it, you can use it 24 hours a day on public transport.”
It was an issue also touched on by Liberal Democrat candidate Farrukh Islam who said the age of eligibility should be 60 years old.
Mr Islam added that all train stations should be accessible other than by stairs.
On housing, Labour’s Mandy Richards told the forum her party wanted to help “older people stay in homes that are easy to heat”.
Should he win the London Mayoral contest, Ms Richards said Ken Livingstone would work with energy companies on energy efficiency programmes.
But Mr Saad said the Greens are the only party that recognises the cost of housing as an issue and said they would increase affordable housing.
The following candidates are also standing for the constituency: Malvin Brown (Residents’ Association of London); Richard Edmonds (National Front); Robert Taylor (British National Party); Mark Twiddy (English Democrats) and Lawrence Webb (UKIP/Fresh Choice For London).