Election 2023: A Manifesto to Shake it Up!

11 Oct 2023
Simon de Deney talks to supporters in Dalston Square. Caption: Shake it Up!

🏘️MORE COUNCIL HOMES

The previous two Labour Mayors have set ambitious targets both for building homes and for how many of them will be social housing – but they have repeatedly missed targets and many developments of luxury flats have gone up without anything for existing Hackney residents at all.

There are enough sites available in Hackney to build the homes Hackney needs, and the Mayor has the power to set up council-owned development companies to finance the building. All it takes is determination and ambition.

A Lib Dem-led Hackney Council with me as Mayor will 12,000 new council homes over the next ten years.

We must make sure Hackney remains a diverse and vibrant borough that our children and grandchildren can still afford to call home.

🚲BEYOND LTNs

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been controversial and need to be regularly reviewed, but we know from the places in the borough that have been low-traffic for years, like the Brownswood and De Beauvoir areas – that once bedded in, these schemes are effective at reducing traffic, noise and pollution and make these neighbourhoods much more pleasant places to live

But Hackney has taken LTNs as far as they can reasonably go. As Mayor, I would implement those zones that have already been consulted on and promised, but then I would divert Council policy into other measures to promote and enable walking. cycling and public transport rather than solely focusing on drivers.

My administration would work to promote local walking and cycling routes, green public spaces and step-free access to Hackney’s Tube and Overground network.

I would also add weight to existing Liberal Democrat campaigns at City Hall to oppose London Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s cuts to Hackney’s bus services.

🫱🏾‍🫲🏼TACKLING VIOLENCE

 Sadly, we see a steady stream of violent incidents in Hackney – and across London – and this is not simply a matter of organised gangs. Studies show that violence can spread like a disease and, just like a pandemic, it isn’t enough to just tackle the symptoms, we need to take a wrap-around approach to the whole problem.

A Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is a proven model to bring agencies like police, schools, local NHS and Social Services together to address violence and the causes that lead to violence at all levels of society. Street violence is fed by violence in the home, violence in schools and numerous other paths.

By engaging experts to work together with the community to address the roots of violence, a Hackney VRU could help us make real progress towards rooting out crimes that have a huge effect on so many people’s lives.

🌳PARKS AND WATERWAYS

Hackney is surrounded by green spaces and local people value them immensely. Some of the largest, like Finsbury Park, Victoria Park and the QE Olympic Park are not controlled by Hackney – which is part of what makes it so galling to see these facilities closed so often for music festivals and other private events that often cause major disruption to local residents.

Liberal Democrats are campaigning to establish cross-borough community management for Finsbury Park, so that people living in the area – whether in Hackney, Islington or Haringey boroughs – can have a say in what events are allowed, how they are organised and policed, and how the profits are spent.

As Mayor, I would initiate the process of setting up this system for Victoria Park and the Olympic Park as well.

After several major pollution incidents on the River Lea in recent years, as Mayor, I would prioritise working with neighbouring boroughs to tackle runoff and point-source pollution that blights our river and campaign hard to prevent Thames Water from dumping sewage into the Lea or any other local waterway.

🗳️PEOPLE POWER

For such a politically and culturally diverse borough, Hackney is incredibly centralised and the Council is highly unrepresentative. Labour got 59% of the vote at the last election, but almost 90% of the seats. The official opposition is the party that came third. The second-placed party got over 20% of the vote, but only 2 seats. And 12 thousand people cast a vote but didn’t get anyone to represent them.

Liberal Democrats have a long history of supporting electoral reform – making sure that the people we elect much more closely reflects how we vote. As Mayor, I would not have the power to change to Proportional Representation – but there are several things I could and would do:

  • Make Council meetings and decisions more open by allowing more questions and representations from ordinary residents and introducing a new petition process where voters can get important issues added to the meeting agenda.
  • Empower local ward councillors to manage local budgets for projects in their areas.
  • Set up neighbourhood forums with power to make changes to what the Council does at a local level in response to residents’ ideas.
  • Allow local referendums on setting up elected Community Councils for Hoxton, Stoke Newington, Clapton and other neighbourhoods to make politics genuinely local.