Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall

Welcome to my latest Newsletter. My constituency of North East London is made up of the boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest and is one of the most diverse, dynamic and buzzing areas in London

Welcome to my Newsletter. Our constituency of North East London is made up of the boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest and is one of the most diverse, dynamic and buzzing areas in London. We have 8 town centres, 3 Police borough command units, 2 Olympic boroughs and a population of 625,900 people, 21% of whom are under 16. This regular update will give you an insight into my activities at City Hall and in North East London. For more regular updates do check my website: www.jennettearnold.com
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In this issue

Mayor’s Policing Plan confirms cuts across North-East London

Five Minutes with Cllr Mark Rusling

Got a question for Mayor Boris Johnson? – Get in touch

Recent Meetings and Visits

iCITY takes shape at Hackney Wick

Taking the Education Secretary to task over language

Have your say on Mayor Johnson’s Fire Cuts

Tech City – What is it and why does it matter?

Recent Meetings and Visits

These are a list of some of my engagements during the last few weeks:

4th March: Croydon International Womens’ Day Rally

5th March: All Party Parliamentary Group visit to Crossrail site at Bond Street.
Meeting with Cllr Mark Rusling on economic development in Waltham Forest.

6th March: Meeting with Gavin Poole, CEO of iCITY.

7th March: Transport Committee, City Hall.

8th March: Meeting with representatives of the National Mentoring Consortium, University of East London.
International Womens’ Day Celebration at City Hall.

9th March: BSix student-led open day.

12th March Apprenticeships Week meeting with students at Waltham Forest College.

13th March: London Assembly Plenary Meeting.
Campaign for Real Ale “supporting London’s pubs” reception at City Hall.

14th March: Police and Crime Committee Taser Working Group.

16th March: Defend Whttington Hospital protest.

18th March: Visit to Shoreditch Works.

20th March: Mayor’s Question Time, City Hall.

26th March: Visit by Hackney College Students to City Hall and presentation of decorative tiles.

Have your say on Mayor Johnson’s Fire Cuts

The London Fire Brigade has now opened a public consultation on the planned cuts to London’s Fire Service.

I would strongly urge residents across Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest to attend the public meetings below and have your say.

Hackney on Monday, 20 May 7-9pm at Hackney Assembly Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0JR

Islington on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 at 7-9pm in the Assembly Hall at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD

Waltham Forest on Tuesday, 9 April at 7-9pm at Chingford Assembly Hall, Station Road, Chingford, E4 7EN

Mayor’s Policing Plan confirms cuts across North-East London

The Mayor of London’s Police and Crime Plan for London was launched earlier this week in Dalston. The publication confirmed my worst fears regarding the future of officer numbers and stations across the constituency. For ease of reference the below bullet points are the main points for Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest:
Hackney
  • Hackney police station will close and Shoreditch will be downgraded with severely reduced opening hours.
  • It repeats the claim that Hackney will see an increase in police numbers, when in fact there will be a decrease of 48 police officers.
Islington
  • The plan confirms that Holloway police station will be downgraded with reduced opening hours.
  • It repeats the claim that Islington will see an increase in police numbers, when in fact there will be a decrease of 33 police officers.
Waltham Forest
  • The plan confirms that Leyton and Walthamstow police stations will close and Waltham House and Walthamstow Town Centre Office will be downgraded with reduced opening hours.
The new Police and Crime Plan repeats the claim that all of London’s 32 boroughs will see an increase in the number of police officers based in their borough. The Mayor has been previously criticised for this claim as it is based on police numbers in 2011, a low point for the Met following a recruitment freeze. Compared to 2010 17 of London’s 32 boroughs will see a decrease in the number of police officers, and the remaining boroughs will not receive as many extra officers as promised.

The plan also confirms that over 60 police stations and front counters will be closed, 12 stations earmarked for closure have been reprieved but more stations that were safe have been put on the list. The Police and Crime Plan fails to provide any details about these closures, it also fails to detail where the new “Contact Points” will be based.

The Mayor is peddling his tired old line that his plan won’t cut frontline police services. It’s time he was honest with residents and tells them he failed to get a good deal from government and now we are paying the price.

He told us that all police stations closed down would receive like-for-like replacements but this week’s announcement shows this isn’t the case. Rather than wasting time promoting himself on the national stage, the Mayor should be paying attention to his day job and getting a better deal for Londoners from his colleagues in government.


Five Minutes with….Cllr Mark Rusling

In each newsletter I speak to somebody from the communities of North-East London about their hopes, dreams and aspirations for our very special corner of London. This week I talked to Cllr Mark Rusling, Waltham Forest Councillor and Portfolio Lead Member- for Economic Development and Corporate Resources.

1. How long have you lived in Waltham Forest?

I moved here in 2008 to buy my first house, having previously rented in Hackney. I made sure that I stayed in Jennette’s constituency!

2. What made you decide to become a councillor?

I have never liked the attitude of seeing something that you don’t like and, while not doing anything about it yourself, saying ‘someone should do something about that’. If you think something should be changed, you should do something about it! 

Local councillors sometimes get some stick in the media – not least from this government, which should get its own house in order before it criticises anybody else. Yet, there is real power in local government to change people’s lives for the better. I wanted to do that.  

3. As well as a local councillor you also hold the portfolio of economic development in the borough. How do you see the local economy developing in the next ten years and how will Waltham Forest continue to grow its reputation as a leisure destination?

We need to help those parts of our economy that are thriving to grow even more – healthcare, creative industries, food processing, among others. And, most importantly, we need to make sure that they are employing local people. If local people don’t have the skills they need for those jobs, then that is where we can step in and offer courses so that our residents can get the very best jobs on offer.

As for leisure, the William Morris Gallery is an internationally-renowned destination. If you haven’t been since its total facelift, you should get down there. I love the Vestry House Museum, in Walthamstow Village – those gardens make you forget that you’re in inner London. And of course there is the jewel in the crown of football in East London – Leyton Orient. We’re a great leisure destination.

4. One of the big economic issues that is frequently discussed in the media, is the demise of the traditional high street. Do you see high streets and traditional markets having a strong place in Waltham Forest’s future and what can be done to ensure this at a local level?

I do. We have some fantastic high streets. Leyton High Road recently won the Best Town Centre Project in the London Planning Awards. Leytonstone High Road – where the David Beckham legend began – is part of a successful Business Improvement District. Walthamstow High Street has the longest outdoor market in Western Europe and Chingford has Highams Park, the Mount and Station Road, with cafes and shops.

The key for me is that our high streets offer something different to, say, Westfield. Boutique shops, independent cafes and traditional market stalls all appeal to different people. We have to make sure that the streets look tidy and well-kept. And, as far as we can, we need to make sure that our shopping areas offer a variety of shops, and not just a parade of businesses offering the same thing.

5. Waltham Forest has undergone lots of changes in the past few decades – where do you see the borough in 20 years time?

I want to see a borough which people can move to, or grow up in, and stay in as they progress their lives and careers, start families and bring up children. That means a decent night-time economy, good schools and top class parks and leisure centres. It means helping residents to get the skills they need to get decent jobs wherever they are created. And it means keeping the individual community-feel of each of our areas – Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford.

We will always be a place in which large numbers of people move in and out all the time. We all – the council, businesses, schools, community groups, residents – have a role in making sure that, despite this constant movement, we create a borough that residents are proud to call home. I think we are doing that, but it will always be a work in progress.

6. Do you have any favourite places in Waltham Forest that you have a special relationship with?

I love the Vestry House Museum and gardens in Walthamstow Village. The borough’s archives are kept there, and there are hundreds of fantastic old photos of the borough, as well as Leyton Orient and Essex County Cricket Club. Otherwise, as a CAMRA member, I should say that one of the best things about living in Waltham Forest is our pubs. The Rose and Crown on Hoe Street is my favourite, but there are many others to while away a lost afternoon in!  

7. If you were Mayor of London and could choose one policy to make London a better city what would it be?

I assume that it might be a little difficult to double the width of trains on the tube?! If I couldn’t do that, I’d attack high rents and low quality in private rented housing. Too many people in our borough – and throughout London – have to put up with atrocious housing conditions and spiralling rents through no fault of their own. How does that help children to study for school? Or their parents to progress at work? And too many taxpayers have to subsidise these spiralling rents through housing benefit. We all lose though the current system, and the Mayor needs to tackle it.


Got a question for Mayor Boris Johnson? – Get in touch

I am always keen to ask Boris Johnson the questions that you want answering. If you have a question that you would like me to ask the Mayor at the next Mayor’s Question Time contact my research assistant Daniel Carey-Dawes at daniel.carey-dawes@london.gov.uk


iCITY takes shape at Hackney Wick

This month I was pleased to meet up again with Gavin Poole, CEO of the iCITY consortium which is the organisation that will take over the International Media and Broadcast Centre in the Olympic Park at Hackney Wick. The centre will become a digital hub for the whole of London, creating 6,500 jobs on site and in the local community.

Inside, the building will be home to BT Sport, a new sports channel broadcasting coverage of major sporting events live from state of the art studios in Hackney. In addition there will be incubator and accelerator space where small tech firms will be able to network and create the next generation of digital businesses which will drive future economic growth.

Connecting local young people to the new opportunities that the iCITY development will create is vital and that is why I was particularly pleased to hear that Hackney Community College and Loughborough University will both be part of the development. iCITY recently bgan a process of community consultation with a series of events open to the public at the Cre8 centre in Hackney Wick. I’m looking forward to working with Gavin and his team to see that the Olympic legacy really can deliver jobs and investment for the whole of Hackney.


Taking the Education Secretary to task over language

Following on from the recent campaign to persuade the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, to keep prominent Black Briton Mary Seacole on the national curriculum I have become very concerned about new plans from the Secretary of State in regards to language teaching. The plans will mean that certain prescribed languages like Turkish and Kurdish will not be taught in our primary schools.

It is outrageous that these local community languages are not included in the official list of only 7 languages – yet ancient Greek and Latin are.

Unlike some other languages on the list, they are languages that can and will actually be used actively and not just an academic subjects. The study of classical languages has its place but if the object is to equip today’s students with a language they will actually use, then languages used in the community, and by Britain’s trading partners, are clearly more useful than Latin or ancient Greek with whom there is no-one to converse.

I fully support the idea of children learning another language but the choice is best left to the teachers and governors on the ground, not to Whitehall mandarins. Michael Gove must think again.

I have written to the Secretary of State Michael Gove to ask him to reconsider these plans. I have also written to Mayor Boris Johnson to ask for his support.

My letter to the Secretary of State is below:

Dear Mr Gove,

Re: Initiative to require primary school pupils to learn another language

I am writing to you, to express my concern that your initiative to introduce language learning from a proscribed list of seven languages will alienate schools teaching other languages. As the London Assembly Member for North East London including Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, the area I represent is very diverse with large Turkish and Kurdish communities.

The proscribed list of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Latin and Ancient Greek does not take into account the difficulties that ethnic minority schools will face in trying to deliver this language learning, at the expense of other languages more useful to children in my constituency in particular.

Unlike some other languages on the list, Turkish and Kurdish are languages that can and will actually be used actively and not just as academic subjects. The study of classical languages has its place but if the object is to equip today’s students with a language they will actually use, then languages used in the community, and by Britain’s trading partners, are clearly more useful than Latin or ancient Greek with whom there is no-one to converse.

I ask you to rethink this and I look forward to hearing a positive response from you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Jennette Arnold OBE AM
London Assembly Member for North-East London.
(Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest).


Tech City – What is it and why does it matter?

In my previous newsletters I have talked about the growth of what some call “Tech City”, for others it is “Sillicion roundabout” or just simply Shoreditch. Whichever name you chose, the growth of the digital and creative cluster that has developed in the city fringe has become a major economic success story in a time of economic doom and gloom.

Critical to that success will be making sure that the cluster is fully intergrated with the local community with links between schools and colleges and small businesses firmly established. For many who are coming to understand the rise of our homegrown cluster it can take a while to work out preisely what “Tech City” is.

My office have produced the following briefing note which sets out the origins of the cluster and what is known about the people and businesses that make this area so special. The full briefing note can be read at http://tinyurl.com/cq7yt75

If you would like further information please contact Daniel Carey-Dawes in my office at Daniel.Carey-Dawes@london.gov.uk.

For any enquiries please contact my
RSO  Daniel | daniel.carey-dawes@london.gov.uk | tel: 020 7983 4349