CORONAVIRUS has had a devastating impact on Hackney. Too many families have dealt with the grief of losing a loved one too soon, with many more still recovering from the effects of the virus, says Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville.
At the time of writing, 225 Hackney residents have died from coronavirus. These are parents, grandparents, friends, community leaders and NHS heroes and key workers who put themselves at risk to help others and they leave a deep gap not just in the lives of those who knew them, but the borough as a whole.
We will continue to mourn these tragic losses, and do everything we can to help
those still being affected, whether getting back to full health or being struck down
by the thankfully smaller and reducing number of new infections.
This year has been a test for our country, our borough and every household. Many of
us have worried about our health, our job and income, or simply not being able to
see our loved ones.
As a Council, we’ve prioritised those most vulnerable in our response. We’ve delivered thousands of food boxes and essential supplies to those that need help. We’ve put an unprecedented financial support package in place for residents who are struggling and small businesses facing an uncertain future.
And our staff have worked tirelessly to continue to maintain our public spaces to give everyone a place to exercise and relax – often in the face of huge challenges.
Alongside the incredible efforts of Hackney’s NHS workers and Council staff, I’ve never been prouder to represent you.
To everyone who has volunteered their time to support those who need help, helped through mutual aid groups or made supplies for those on the frontline, or simply stood shoulder to shoulder with your neighbours to pay tribute to key workers – thank you.
I make no claim that Hackney’s response has been ‘world-beating’ or perfect – simply that we listened to our local communities and together, as residents, staff and partners, tried to do what was right for our borough.
By working together, we have seen the rate of new infections and deaths come
down, Homerton Hospital has not been overwhelmed and – while we are not out of
the woods yet – some local businesses and services are starting to reopen.
This new normal looks set to stay for some time, and it’s essential that everyone continues to follow the rules, observe social distancing and treat their community with respect.
Sadly, while we have all been affected in some way, this crisis has exposed the
cruel inequality in our society, including a disproportionate impact on our diverse
communities. We also cannot ignore that those with the least resources to cope have
been affected most. This report sets out what we know so far about the impact
of coronavirus on Hackney and what our priorities will be as we enter a new phase
of managing it.
The crippling impact of additional spending to deliver essential and new services,
coupled with a loss of income from closed services and properties, means we face a
£68million budget shortfall this year alone – equal to half of the entire Government cuts to our budget since 2010 in just one year
Despite these challenges, we are clear that we must support those most
disadvantaged in our borough, campaign on their behalf and seek a more equal
recovery. We must stand behind our small businesses, and seize the opportunity to
rebuild a more inclusive local economy driven by what profits our society, not just
big business or shareholders.
And we must build on some of the emergency transport and environmental measures we’ve taken as we make a permanently greener and cleaner Hackney.
We must rebuild a better Hackney as we come out of the first phase of this crisis. It
must be our mission to end rough sleeping, ensure nobody in Hackney goes hungry,
get the vulnerable the support they need, support the inclusive economy, keep
building the homes the borough needs and ensure a clear employment and skills
offer available to all – whether someone is coming off furlough and losing their job, or
is a young person leaving school or college and needing support to start their career.
Over the next few months, we’ll get on with implementing some of the plans in
this report, consult and listen to you about your ideas and, where we need extra
powers or funding from the Government, we will ask for them.
At the heart of all our work will be our ambition to make Hackney a fairer, more equal borough.
(This comes from the report just published – ‘REBUILDING A BETTER HACKNEY: The impact of coronavirus on Hackney and our priorities in the next phase’)
Report on the impacts of Coronavirus can be found here:
19 August 2020