The warm glow of Christmas and New Year festivities, and wonderful time spent with family and friends, brighten the inevitable dark and cold of January.
The greatest disappointment of 2015 was Labour’s failure to win the general election. We face another five long years of Tory government, with devastating consequences for people in West Ham.
Just before Christmas, they announced they’re ending life-time tenancies in council and social housing. It will inflict housing insecurity on thousands more families. The Tories tell us it’s a good thing, because it will encourage people to buy their homes. Really? Do they know how much people earn on an average wage and just how expensive it is to buy a property here?
At the same time, they’re forcing councils to sell off yet more social housing and property ‘developers’ are not providing genuinely affordable homes. The sad truth is the housing crisis will get a lot worse by the time the Tories are finished.
We had some successes last year. We forced them to reverse their terrible cuts to tax credits, although they still plan on attacking working families, by reducing the value of universal credit when it’s introduced. We also got them to reverse intended cuts to police funding. These were major victories, but we can’t stop every destructive Tory scheme while in opposition.
The big opportunity to improve things for all Londoners is the mayoral election in May. Labour’s excellent candidate is Sadiq Khan, who grew up in London as the son of a bus driver. He knows first-hand the challenges ordinary Londoners face and puts housing top of his agenda.
We need a mayor who cares about affordable housing and the cost of public transport, just two reasons why I’m campaigning for Sadiq, and the ordinary Londoners he represents.
I hope you had the happiest of Christmases and the best of New Years.