Haggerston Ward Election Manifesto 2002

Council elections: this time there is a real choice

Hackney Council has been running this area down over the last few years. The Council says it has no money, but keeps putting the rent, service charges and council tax up while cutting back on the essential services that our community needs. Since the last election Labour, Lib Dems and Tories have all taken turns running the Council and they have all played their part in bringing the Council to its knees. The Council is millions of pounds in debt and the only answer from the government and from our Labour, Lib Dem and Tory councillors is more of the same – more sell-off’s, more privatisation and more policies aimed at replacing Hackney’s working class majority with middle class city workers.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last few years, Hackney Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) has worked alongside community representatives and other residents of the area in trying to implement another vision of Hackney. This vision is of a Hackney where ordinary residents get to decide what the priorities should be in their area. Only the IWCA has asked the residents of Haggerston for their views on what should be done in this area. All the other parties want to do is impose their vision of a privatised Hackney on the rest of us.

That’s why this election is different – this time there is a real choice.

The election manifesto has policies in the four areas set out below. But we know that none of these policies stand up on their own. You can’t deal with anti-social behaviour without realising that closing down youth clubs mean more of our young people will get drawn into crime. Campaigning for security doors on blocks is a housing issue and an anti-crime issue. And it is because councillors have been unaccountable that they have got away with things in this area for so long. We need councillors who will get involved with the community in finding solutions to these problems.

The IWCA spent six months talking to over 1000 people on 17 estates across Haggerston. You told us your priorities were crime and anti-social behaviour, housing repairs and cleaning and the lack of community facilities. You also told us that you don’t think your councillors represent you. The following manifesto is based on what you told us.

Hackney Council wants to sell off Council housing throughout the borough. Every estate they sell ends up with less homes for rents we can afford and more homes for high rent or sale. This is part of the Council’s plan to increase the middle class percentage of the borough, claiming they are creating “mixed communities.” We will oppose all Council plans for sell-off’s of estates in this Ward and across Hackney. Where tenants decide that they have been so let down by the Council that they will accept privatisation we will work to make sure they get the full facts and the best possible deal.

The current standard of housing isn’t acceptable. We will continue to campaign with tenants and residents and their associations for more money for essential repairs on our estates and for a better standard of cleaning and repairs. We support free parking for residents.

Labour encourages the building of £200 a week flats for City workers. We will campaign for new council housing aimed at overcrowded Hackney tenants and young people living at home.

We will campaign for every empty flat in this Ward to be done up and let on a council tenancy – not high rent housing association tenancies.

We oppose any rent or service charge increases at least until the Council meets its obligations to manage, repair and clean our estates.

We will work with private and housing association tenants to fmake sure these landlords fulfil their responsibilities. We are opposed to housing associations building for high rent or sale in this Ward.

Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
This is your number one priority and it would be the main issue for IWCA councillors. We do not claim to have all the answers on this issue. IWCA councillors would convene a genuine community-based conference on this issue to look at possible solutions to the problem.

Dealing in hard drugs in this ward must be stopped. The Council and the police have a duty to take action to stop it.

While trying to force the Council and the police to be accountable about the way they operate and the priorities they choose, we will also look for community-based solutions to the problems of muggings, car theft, burglaries and vandalism.

We will campaign with tenants and residents and their associations for block security measures and improved lighting throughout the Ward.

Community Facilities
Public space in Hackney is under attack from developers and their friends in the Council who are encouraging the selling off of land and buildings that belong to all of us. Everyone suffers when public amenities are turned into a source of profit for private builders. IWCA councillors would oppose each and every move that leads to the loss of facilities such as playgrounds and parks for our community. We are supporting the campaigns to prevent the Apples and Pears adventure playground being redeveloped and to keep the Haggerston One O’clock Club open and also back the re-opening of Haggerston Pool as a publicly owned facility at affordable prices.

We oppose all Council attempts to close down or sell off public assets in this Ward and across the Borough and will participate in any campaigns to protect our community facilities.

Electing IWCA councillors will not change the World, but it would be a clear signal to the Council and the government that the community has a vision of its own for the area that doesn’t involve making it a playground for the wealthy.

IWCA councillors wouldn’t be doing the job to promote their own political careers. They would work as part of a team within the IWCA and with the community to expose the Council’s plans and come up with viable alternatives

These are just a few ways in which IWCA councillors would be different from the other parties:

We would call a Ward Meeting as soon as we were elected and then every six months and invite everyone who lives in the Ward to come along and participate. Councillors would report back on what they have done in the last six months and outline what would be likely to happen in the next six months. In this way councillors would be held directly accountable to the community.

We would open an office in or near the ward – probably in a shop. This would be an easy way for you to contact your councillor. The IWCA would use the office to run advice sessions, surgeries and as a base to run campaigns from.

All decisions that our councillors have to vote on would be displayed in the office and on our website – so that you could have your say on them first. We would look at every possible way of getting people involved in decision-making, including use of the internet.

We will never form any alliance with the establishment parties that have let Hackney down – Labour, the Lib Dems or the Tories. We will work with tenant and community groups and anyone else who is on the side of the working class majority.

We know that we would be in a small minority at the Town Hall and we will not waste our time point-scoring with the other parties. We would arrange for delegations of local people to have their say, and would confront councillors with the effects their policies are having on this Ward. The main role of IWCA councillors will be as part of the IWCA outside of Council meetings – in the community. IWCA members will be at meetings on your estate or in your community. We will be part of campaigns in this area and will be accountable to you.

After the election – who will stand up for the working class majority?

The IWCA is completely different from the other parties. While we campaign 52 weeks a year, you only ever see the other parties at election time – if at all. And while the other parties only want your votes, we want you to vote for us and get involved.

If Labour councillors get in they will be able to vote for things like increased charges for home helps, scrapping the Freedom Pass for disabled people and selling the Apples and Pears adventure playground site – and claim they have your support.

If the IWCA get in, our councillors will be able to put pressure on the Council, but it needs far more than 3 councillors on their own. The IWCA is creating an organisation that doesn’t just hold protests, but can force the Council to manage and repair our homes and that can take action to make our streets and blocks safe again.

We want you to join the IWCA.

The first thing to do is to ring Carl Taylor on 020 7684 1743 and see how you can help in the election campaign. This could be anything from just putting a poster in your window to giving some leaflets to your neighbours or even coming out and knocking on doors.

But after the election when all the politicians have forgotten Haggerston again, the IWCA will still be here creating an organisation that involves and stands up for the working class majority in this area.


Nusret Sen – Independent
Peter Sutton – Independent Working Class Association
Carl Taylor – Independent Working Class Association