The full results of the survey, which is the cover story in the latest Hackney Independent delivered to 4000 homes in Haggerston ward, make shocking reading. Crime and anti-social behaviour top the list of people’s priorities (70% chose it as their most serious issue) while repairs and cleaning came next as one of the 3 top issues that concerned people (56%). Lack of community facilities and people being priced out of the area came next (35% and 24% respectively).
Hackney IWCA started the mammoth survey back in the Autumn of last year as none of the major parties seemed to be listening to any of the concerns of Hackney’s working class majority. Hackney Independent spokesperson Peter Sutton says “Councillors from the main parties claim to represent their communities but when was the last time you even saw your councillor, let alone got any help from them? Simple issues like repairs to flats and estate cleaning should be easy for councillors to deal with, but the truth is they don’t want to know. Most of them are more concerned with their own political careers than serving the community”.
Back in November 2001, Hackney IWCA criticised the Council for paying the pollsters MORI thousands of pounds for carrying out a survey on people’s attitudes to the council. At the time Carl Taylor of Hackney Independent stated that “the council is using our money to pay other people to come round and do their job for them – to find out information that most people could tell them for nothing!”. The Hackney Independent Your Point of View survey – carried out by volunteers for free – reveals just how little local people think of Hackney Council and how many of them are prepared to do something about it at the next round of council elections. Encouragingly, 84% of those surveyed said they would consider voting for an alternative to the main parties in May. As Carl Taylor commented, “You can’t really blame people for not wanting to vote for the main parties when all you get are the same old broken promises. Labour have abandoned the people of Haggerston by shutting down the pool and threatening the Apples and Pears play area with closure. It’s hardly a surprise that people are turning their backs on this kind of politics”.
Laughably, the Conservative Party have just started their own “In Touch” postal survey in the same area, only 4 weeks before the council elections. As Peter Sutton comments “this is just a desperate attempt to find issues to campaign on in the run up to the elections. To call their survey “In Touch” is a little ironic as some of their members are supposed to be representing parts of Haggerston Ward already and really should know what people think”.