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News from Mayor Jules Pipe - April 2016


Housing Supply Programme (HSP)

The Labour administration at Hackney Council firmly believes that it has a crucial role to play not only in the enabling of developments that deliver genuinely affordable homes, but also in directly developing and building council homes for social rent, shared ownership ourselves as a local authority.  It has recently agreed a new Housing Supply Programme

We build housing directly as a Council, along with the private sale units that fund them, dispensing with the private developer who would expect to take a profit from any scheme. In this way we maximise the number of homes for social rent and low-cost shared ownership that are built.

We now can match our ambition with our record in delivering the Estate Regeneration Programme, with over 300 homes built, 300 more currently on site, and more to follow this year. In the 2014 manifesto we also committed to ‘develop a further building programme of Council homes for rent and shared ownership, to continue increasing the housing supply for local people’. The Housing Supply Programme (HSP) – agreed formally by Cabinet on 29 February - makes good that commitment and will also help to ensure that the Council can invest its 1-4-1 Right to Buy replacement funding in a strategic and sustainable way.

The HSP will go beyond the Council’s existing Estate Regeneration Programme (ERP) by setting up an entirely new building programme delivered directly by the Council to provide new Council homes for social rent and shared ownership. It will be entirely separate from the ERP and has no element of demolition and replacement of existing homes.

The HSP will deliver additional new build homes on Council-owned sites currently occupied by non-residential uses, for example single and double storey garage blocks with low occupation. It will also include a review of options for a small number of bedsit units within existing Council owned blocks. Importantly, no green spaces will be built on, there will be no loss of play space, and, where necessary, existing parking spaces in use will be re-provided.

The new social rented and shared ownership homes will be both built and managed by the Council, and benefit local people by increasing supply. They will be made available through both a local lettings policy (which is currently being developed) and the Choice Based Lettings process. In addition the HSP will deliver significant local employment and training opportunities through the Council’s ‘Ways into Work’ programme.

An initial review of the HRA portfolio has highlighted 11 sites with the potential to deliver over 400 new homes across the borough, with more than half for Council social renting and shared ownership, and the rest for private sale to help pay for them in the absence of government funding. Delivering this Programme will make a significant contribution to meeting the 2014 Manifesto commitments relating to housing supply.

The HSP will support our ambition to continue to increase housing supply for local people with a focus on delivering new Council homes for social renting and shared ownership. It also proves that where there is the political will it is possible to continue developing genuinely affordable homes for social rent and part buy, in mixed communities in both Hackney and inner-London. The proposed tenure mix of 70% Council rent and shared ownership and 30% private sale homes is also amongst the best in London.

March for Health, Homes, Jobs, and Education

If you would like to march with Cllr Anntoinette Bramble and Cllr Philip Glanville and other Labour members please join them this Saturday 16th April.  The plan for the day is to go campaigning in London Fields at 10:30am, meet at Hackney Town Hall at 12pm  in order to head to Euston for 1pm.

You can sign up for events this weekend here:

As you know the Tory government is proposing very damaging changes in how the nation’s schools are run. Changes that promise to be a disaster. Along with the removal of parent governors, and forced academisation faced by the entire country, almost all of London’s schools will suffer significant funding cuts.

Building on the good turnout of councillors, tenants and activists on the 13th March ‘Kill the Housing Bill’ march we want an even larger delegation of Labour Party Members to join with ‘Save Hackney’s Social Housing’ and go on the ‘March for Health, Homes, Jobs, and Education’ planned for Saturday 16th April. While the theme is broader, for us in Hackney it will be an opportunity to focus on housing and education, and will be our last big opportunity before the London Mayoral election to get out and show our opposition to the Housing Bill and the proposed changes to our schools.

Budget, Education funding and forced academisation

Hackney’s Labour administration will continue to oppose any reductions to school funding and forced academisation of schools.

In last month’s budget, George Osbourne, preoccupied with cutting support to disabled people, announced no additional cuts to core local authority funding beyond those already published. The four-year settlement announced by the Secretary of State last December remains in place, which would see a further £38 million removed from Hackney’s external support by 2020 on top of the £110M removed to date.

Osbourne reiterated the Government’s intention to redistribute funding to schools that would see significant reductions across London and other major cities in particular. London would lose £245million and it is estimated that Hackney’s school funding per pupil would fall from £6,673 to £5,690 – a reduction of more than 14%.

Despite the Government’s claims to have protected education budgets, school spending per pupil has already faced reductions in real terms in many of our schools and the Institute of Fiscal Studies predicts that it is likely to fall by 8% in real terms over the next five years. Schools across London are already dealing with unprecedented rising demand for places, high levels of in-year pupil mobility and increasing challenges around teacher retention and recruitment. 

Hackney’s opposition to any reductions has been made clear to the DfE. I have written to the Chancellor on behalf of all 33 London boroughs, and secured the current Mayor of London’s signature to the boroughs’ letter opposing any loss of money from the capital’s schools. I also drafted the letter from myself and Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City on behalf of London and all the country’s Core Cities opposing any loss of money from our schools.

Any increase in schools funding for some authorities should not be at the expense of others. To achieve this we are suggesting that the budget for Direct Schools Grant should be increased by £521million, which would be a rise of only 1.7%.

In direct opposition to Government thinking, Hackney’s Labour administration has always been committed to the provision of a comprehensive schools improvement service and to work across the family of Hackney schools, who we expect to work together whether maintained, academy or voluntary-aided. None of our academies are part of a chain such as ARK or Harris, which was one of the conditions I set when the new schools building programme began more than a dozen years ago.  

To differing degrees, all of Hackney schools buy into Hackney Council’s in-house education service – the Hackney Learning Trust – which also generates funding for Hackney by selling support services to schools and councils across the country, including counties and cities.

The following is an extract from the latest CASE briefing in which the “value added” score of schools supported by local authorities is compared to that of academy chains:  


Courtesy of CASE (Campaign for State Education) and with thanks to Keith Lichman

In a recent meeting with George Osborne he specifically asked me about how Hackney had achieved such success with its schools (as well as house building and estate regeneration) and my reply included the importance of a strong “middle tier” such as a local education authority, pointing out that it was of course contrary to the direction of Government policy.

 EPIC (Exceptional People in Care) Awards

In February, Hackney’s Virtual School – which supports the education of children in care – held the annual EPIC (Exceptional People in Care) Awards at the Hackney Empire. The ceremony is aimed at celebrating looked after children and care leavers who have excelled in a particular area.

Children and young people are nominated by their social workers, schools and colleges and all those nominated received an award. A total of 242 nominations were made, and those that attended the event got the opportunity to go up on stage to collect their award and be photographed.

The Lead Member for Children, Councillor Anntoinette Bramble handed out the awards and social workers were given the opportunity to talk about the young people’s achievements. The event was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended and feedback from the young people showed how much they valued the event.   

International Women’s Day – Inspiring Young Hackney Women event

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, Cllr Linden hosted the Council’s first ever Inspiring Young Hackney Women event.

The event, held at the Council’s Tomlinson Centre, in Queensbridge Road, connected students from four local secondary schools – the Petchey, Clapton, Bridge academies and Our Lady’s Girls’ School – and 20 successful women from a range of typically male-dominated sectors, including construction, science, music, medicine and business.

Four panellists – company director Jenni Gwiazdowski; A&E doctor Ronke Ikharia (Dr Ronx); creative writer and performer Sabrina Mahfouz; and inventor Martha Silcott – got the audience thinking with presentations on their lives and work. 

According to forecasters, on current progress women will have to wait until they’re 117 years old before they achieve equality in all aspects of life with men. The event, in partnership with the national Inspiring Women Campaign, aimed to encourage the borough’s younger women to broaden their horizons and aspirations, and smash glass ceilings.

The panel discussion was followed by ‘speed-dating’-style workshops, which allowed the girls to talk informally with more than a dozen other women, including a civil rights lawyer, plumber, senior civil servant, architect and medical engineer.

London Borough of Hackney wins LGC “Council of the Last 20 Years” award

Hackney was presented with the Council of the Last 20 Years award last month.

Taken from the Local Government Chronicle press release:

Over 800 of the most senior figures in British local government gathered last week to celebrate achievements and best practice across the sector at the 20th Local Government Chronicle Awards.

After review by a panel of judges, made up of senior and influential figures from the public sector, London Borough of Hackney were presented with the Council of the Last 20 Years award which was sponsored by Zurich Municipal.

The judges commented, “This council has an incredibly compelling story of innovation and exceptional transformation, delivering across a whole range of services with a clear focus on providing leading services for residents. They have led the sector in showing that areas of high deprivation can also be areas of high achievement. They are a real game changer.”

Nick Golding, LGC’s editor, said: “…It is vital that we celebrate the best of local government, not least as the talent and innovation of council officers and members is often not recognised to the extent it should be.

“The recipients of the awards are the people doing the most to improve services at a time resources are constrained. We should thank them for their great work...”

Jules Pipe
Mayor of Hackney

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