The local elections are being held on 6th May in Hackney. Although we primarily have kept this blog about our work for Stoke Newington as the local councillors, and avoided party politics, we feel it is important to provide clear information in response to some of the leaflets that have been put out in our ward.
First up: Betting shops.
We were surprised to see a leaflet from the Greens which had a story about Paddy Power opening on the High Street. The story got one thing right - we did campaign against the betting shop opening. You can read more about this here, and here and about the disappointing final outcome here. As far as we are aware, we were the only party to campaign against Paddy Power's application in Stoke Newington - there were no Green Party representations against the application, and Cllr Louisa Thomson was the only speaker at the committee hearing, representing the local residents who had asked us to. We put forward a very strong argument, with the support of local residents.
The Greens' leaflet then asks 'how effectively can a Labour councillor really scrutinise its party, both at a national, and local level'?
Well - the answer is - quite considerably. As we've also explained before, Hackney Council made a submission under the Sustainable Communities Act to amend the current licensing regime which gives local authorities very little say over our high streets, and means that you cannot make the argument against the concentration of betting shops in one area. Our proposal has been shortlisted, and Diane Abbott MP has recently added her weight to the lobbying campaign to urge a decision from the government over whether we have been successful. It's a shame that when the Council passed a motion endorsing our campaign for this important change, the one Green councillor on Hackney Council didn't turn up and later admitted she was at the theatre.
Your Labour councillors in Stoke Newington and on Hackney Council are not afraid to challenge and lobby for changes to improve our local area - and are determined to keep up the pressure so we can stop the concentration of betting shops in the borough.