Protect vulnerable and look to future

PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 January 2020

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell. Picture: ANDREW BROOKES

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell. Picture: ANDREW BROOKES


I would like to wish every Post reader a very happy New Year.

As we enter a new decade, I want to reflect on what we have achieved as a community and look at what the future holds for Barking and Dagenham in the 2020s and beyond.

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Over the past 10 years councils have had massive cuts to their funding from central government. This has meant we have had to make difficult decisions about how we ration our public services. We have now lost over 60 per cent of our funding. The council's focus has been protecting the most vulnerable in our communities while continuing to invest in the basics which affect us all, like bin collections and street cleansing. We will continue to improve these services in the future and make sure this borough remains a place we can be proud of.

We can be proud that one of the UK's top modern universities is now located in the Civic Centre with the majority of students coming from the local area. In 2019, we opened London's first Youth Zone which offers world class facilities. And, we are underway building 2,000 truly affordable homes by 2023 through Reside our council-owned housing company. Last year we invested £10million in a new fleet of refuse vehicles and street cleansing equipment. We also introduced Landlord Licensing Scheme to help protect private renters and drive up standards in the private rental sector, created Beam Energy, a low-cost green energy company, and attracted over £1billion of investment to the borough.

We still face a huge task delivering public services after 10 years of government austerity. Too many people are waiting too long for a GP appointment. Too many people are suffering as a result of rising crime as police numbers have been slashed. Too many working families are struggling to get by. I hope that the new prime minister, with whom I forged a working relationship during his time as mayor of London despite our significant political differences, will remain true to his promises about investing in our public services. I will continue to push for more resources to ensure we reach our potential in the New Year and beyond. We are one borough, one community and we will not leave anyone behind.

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