Q&A: My Redbridge
- Credit: Khayer Chowdhury
For this week’s Q&A we spoke to Valentines ward’s Labour Cllr Khayer Chowdhury. Cllr Chowdhury is very focused on law and order, going out with Redbridge Police and running a key scrutiny panel.
What’s your connection with the borough?
I have been a resident of the borough for seven years now and councillor for Valentines ward for just over three years. I was born and raised just down the road in the East End. My siblings attended school and college here, and we live in Gants Hill.
What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?
There are so many wonderful things about our borough but my favourite thing is our demographic make-up. We have residents of so many different faiths, nationalities, ethnicities, and other unique characteristics. We are the fourth most diverse council area in the country.
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It always makes me feel proud that in Gants Hill alone, we have a mosque supplemented by two churches on one side and Chabad Lubavitch Centre on the other. It demonstrates the fact that we celebrate and take strength from our differences.
What one thing would you change?
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As a councillor, I want to change a million things in the borough but, my most pressing change would be increasing the funding we receive from central government.
The council is the most powerful mechanism for positive change in the borough. We have some of the best schools in the city, we have excellent public transport links and a strong and growing economy, but there is so much more we need to do.
Use three words to describe the area
Unique, stunning, busy.
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?
I would say the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. I worked for him in the past and he’s also a good family friend.
For me personally, he is an icon of progress and achievement as a British Asian citizen. Our parents and grandparents came here as immigrants, worked hard to give us good opportunities so we can make it in the face of so much inequality.
The day Sadiq became mayor sent out a really strong message and his story is also London’s story: if you work hard, if you serve your community, you can make it and be a force for change.
What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?
Legislate to totally abolish shadow banking systems and tax avoidance schemes.
We are facing unprecedented funding cuts for core public services and some of the richest corporations are still getting away without paying their fair share of taxes whilst shady bankers are funnelling money across the globe.
If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?
I would name and shame convicted flytippers with more prominence.