Local elections 2018: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visits Barkingside
- Credit: Archant
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called May 3’s local election “the most important in our lifetime” as he gave a speech to Labour activists and candidates in Barkingside today (April 26).
Standing alongside Labour group leader Jas Athwal on the steps of Fullwell Cross Library, in High Street, he said the vote was a “last chance” for residents to have a say on the government’s “hostile environment” immigration policies and Brexit negotiations.
He applauded Redbridge’s Labour administration for building council homes “for the first time in a generation”, “helping crime prevention” and “kick-starting regeneration in Ilford town centre”.
Speaking to The Recorder, Mr Khan labelled a scheme to create 680 homes around Sainsbury’s in Ilford town centre as “evidence that the government doesn’t understand the housing crisis in London.”
Rubber stamped by cabinet minister Sajid Javid last month, the plans commitment to only 4pc affordable housing was criticised as too low and, for this reason, rejected by Redbridge council’s planning committee in July 2016.
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But in October 2017, the council withdrew its opposition after negotiating a “community money” agreement.
The agreement could lead to more than 4pc affordable homes, as the council receives 60pc of surplus profits to reinvest in affordable homes onsite and elsewhere in the borough.
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Mr Khan added: “I’m afraid the government is too close to developers making huge profits at the expense of residents needing affordable housing.”
Speaking after the meeting, Conservative Leader Paul Canal responded by accusing Mr Khan of being “guilty of rewriting history”.
He said: “Labour supported the development until Sadiq Khan was elected.
“Lo and behold Sadiq Khan introduced 50pc affordable housing, which means nothing can get built.
“Labour illegally whipped their members to vote against [the Sainsbury’s scheme].”
He added: “That decision has cost this borough milllions in offer money that has been delayed or lost from developers investing here because they don’t trust this council.”
On crime, the Mayor of London attributed Redbridge police’s victim satisfaction level - which is the lowest in the capital - to government cuts to policing.
“We’ve lost £730m from our budget, by 2021 it will be more than £1bn,” he said, adding: “I’m afraid one of the consequences is we’ve seen the increase in crime, not just in Redbridge, but across the capital.
“And that is one of the reasons why residents and victims are dissatisfied and that why I am lobbying the government to make sure they invest in police.”
Mr Khan’s approach has been criticised as focussing too much on stop and search and too little on the causes of crime.
Between December 13 and March 13, officers carried out more than 550 stop and search checks in the borough.
“We’re not going to return to the industrial-scale, indiscriminate use of stop and search,” he said, in response.
“I think targeted, intelligence-led stop and search has a valuable role to play in stopping the increase in crime.”
“We’ve had the biggest roll-out of body worn cameras.”
“And that should give the public confidence that the police are carrying out stop and search properly.
He added: “We’re investing record sums - £45m - in a Young Londoners Fund to invest in preventative services, youth services and community services.”
Responding to Mr Khan’s comments on crime, Mr Canal added: “Sadiq Khan is fully responsible for the collapse in confidence.
“It was he who forced the failed tri-borough system.
“He abandoned Operation Sapphire - the specialist rape unit – and that lets down women directly.
“Sadiq Khan doing that means that more men will get away with rape.”
He added: “I’m afraid that Sadiq Khan has given in to pressure groups and is making decisions which are politically beneficial to him but potential fatal to many young people who are being attacked.”
“His decision to halt stop and search is directly linked to an increase in knife crime and murder.”