Recorder letters: Cllr Rodwell, street cleaners ,vaccinations, NRPF, Covid safety and social housing

PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 July 2020

Street sweepers have been replaced from parts of the borough. Picture: LBBD

Street sweepers have been replaced from parts of the borough. Picture: LBBD


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

Leader right to set record straight

Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, full address supplied, writes:

The leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, needs to be applauded for his swift and decisive action on setting the record straight on the false reports given by a number of national newspapers with regards to confirmed cases of coronavirus in the borough.

By virtue of the leader’s official statement, letter to the aforementioned newspaper(s) and a direct message to the borough’s residents on social media platforms and via the One Borough newsletter, he will hopefully ease the mind of residents – especially the elderly and vulnerable – that we are nowhere in the position of Leicester and facing another lockdown.

We must all act collectively, keep to social distancing protocols and other guidelines to do our bit to ensure the borough stays on the right track to further easing and a return to happier times.

Sweepers need to be on the roads

Leslie Cynthia Widblood, Salisbury Avenue, Barking, writes:

It is nice to see a picture of our road sweepers in the paper, but it would be better to see them in our streets.

I have asked a few times for the head of street cleaning to come and see me.

He has taken our road sweepers away and we are to have a lorry with someone picking up with them once a week. Then a sweeping machine to clean kerbs etc.

As this cannot happen because of cars parked and the amount of foot traffic as we are near Barking station, this place is now a tip.

Our road sweepers took pride in their jobs.

Obviously this person will only come to talk to residents if he can get a picture in the papers like Cllr Rodwell, who does not like to come and talk to people who pay his wages.

Children must still be vaccinated

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director, NHS in London, writes:

GPs have innovated rapidly in London to provide vaccinations in ways that are designed to protect children and their families during this pandemic. NHS teams are here to help - I’m urging parents to continue to attend appointments.

Young babies are vulnerable and need protection from a range of diseases. Social distancing will not protect young children from the risks of diseases such as meningitis.

London already has lower vaccination rates compared to elsewhere in the UK, meaning we cannot afford to go backwards. The good news is that if we act now, it’s not too late for us to catch up with the effects of the pandemic and protect children.

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Some families are an underclass

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member, City & East, writes:

The government cannot afford to ignore the growing chorus of calls from politicians and charities to abolish No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

Blocking access to welfare support for those with the wrong immigration status has plunged families into an underclass of our society. It is particularly galling that this condition has not been lifted during this pandemic, which has hit the most vulnerable and disadvantaged the hardest.

NRPF has tied the hands of local authorities and mutual aid groups seeking to lend a helping hand to those in need during lockdown.

So, it was astounding to see the prime minister recently admit to not knowing anything about NRPF when questioned by the MP for East Ham, Stephen Timms.

His government must now get to grips with the bleak reality that hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are children, are facing with NRPF. It’s vital they are given the state support they desperately need in these difficult times.

Share information on Covid safety

Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly member, writes:

Despite lockdown easing, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and many people are rightly worried about pockets of the country – and London – that are still seeing increases in coronavirus cases.

I was told that London lockdown would be complex, like in Leicester, because it is difficult to define city borders, but I am pleased they are modelling different scenarios.

This virus has changed the way we live, work and organise our communities. We must be gathering and sharing as much information as possible to learn how to safely manage our lives and workplaces during a potential second wave.

More social housing is key

Karen Cooper, chair of G320 London, which represents more than 70 smaller London housing associations, writes:

G320 London is supporting Homes at the Heart, a campaign and coalition calling on the government to put social homes at the heart of its plan for social and economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus crisis is further highlighting the need for secure, high quality, affordable homes and, for many people, support to live in them. Some of the worst affected by the crisis include low-paid key workers living in homes they can’t afford, rough sleepers, homeless families in temporary accommodation, older people in unsupported homes, and families stuck in overcrowded conditions.

Investing in social housing, in all its forms, will help the country recover from this crisis by boosting the economy, creating jobs and improving people’s lives when our nation needs it most. 

Without action, we are likely to see many people’s housing situations get much worse in the weeks, months and years ahead, as the economic impacts of the crisis are felt across the country.

The housing crisis is especially acute in London, where council waiting lists are large, families continue to be made homeless and social housing is difficult and expensive to develop. It is also the case that many NHS and Key Workers that have steered us through this crisis are unable to afford to live in many London boroughs.

Recovering from the crisis presents the government with an opportunity to take real action in solving the housing crisis by making a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing and help prevent London from becoming a polarised city, defined by vast inequality.

G320 calls on Londoners, MP’s and Assembly members to support this campaign to begin a national recovery and build a real future for generations to come.

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