West Ham tickets – who’s getting them?

11 Oct

From the ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ website:

More than half the free tickets for West Ham United home matches distributed by Newham Council have gone to their own employees, it has been claimed.

From a total of 5,970 tickets handed out thus far by the Council as part of their arrangement with West Ham, just 2,728 reached members of the local community – with the remaining 3,242 being allocated to employees of Newham Council, according to a KUMB source.

The 3,242 tickets snapped up by Newham employees were used for the Europa League qualifiers against Domzale (1,433 tickets) and Astra Giurgiu (1,010) plus the recent EFL Cup tie with Accrington Stanley (799) – resulting in 55 per cent of the available tickets intended for local residents going to unnamed Council workers.

“Newham previously stated that ‘the tickets are used to reward residents for being active and resilient members of the community’,” said the source. 

“Lead councillors for each of our community neighbourhoods will have a role in managing these rewards, and settling the criteria for distributing tickets to their residents who are making a contribution to their community. 

“Why is it, that in each of the three games referred to, there were more tickets given to Newham Council staff than went to those ‘active and resilient members of the community’?”

Those ‘free’ tickets are among the supposed benefits of the £40 million ‘loan’ the council made to help cover the enormous cost of making the stadium ready for multi-millionaire-owned West Ham United.

Can anyone at the council explain this?

Temporary housing

29 Sep

From the Newham Recorder:

More people are living in temporary accommodation in the borough than anywhere else in London.

Homelessness data from the Office for National Statistics show 3,956 Newham households were resident in temporary shelter between April 2015 and March 2016.
The figures – the most up-to-date available – also reveal 2,448 households were deemed eligible for action under the Housing Acts, the highest amount in London and second-highest in England after Birmingham.

Newham also had the second-highest number of households accepted as homeless and in priority need – 1,345 – again behind only Birmingham.

Of the households living in temporary accommodation, 79 were in bed and breakfasts, 27 in hostels, 127 in local or housing authority stock, 1,690 in leased private sector property and 2,033 in other properties.

Also included is the ethnicity of homeless households, with 474 black or black British, 396 Asian or Asian British and 314 white.

Meanwhile on Twitter Cllr Jose Alexander points to Red Door Ventures, the council’s for-profit housing company, as an example of how Newham is “tackling housing crises.” (sic)

Yep. Tackling the housing crisis by charging £1,500 a month for a two-bed flat in Stratford.

Boundary review 2018

13 Sep

As part of the government’s drive to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and make parliamentary constituencies more equally sized, the Boundary Commission has published its proposals for London.

At the moment we have two seats in Newham – East Ham and West Ham. Each contains 10 of the 20 wards in the borough. But both seats are very large – in fact West Ham is the largest in London, with more than 80,000 voters. By contrast, the (Tory-held) Kensington seat has only 55,000.

The Boundary Commission’s proposals add about half a seat to Newham, but do so by ripping apart West Ham and dividing it between three new or revised constituencies:

We propose a Forest Gate and Loxford constituency, which includes three wards from the existing East Ham constituency, two wards from the existing Ilford South constituency, and four wards from the existing West Ham constituency. This configuration brings the Newham borough wards of Green Street East and Green Street West together in the same constituency. 

In Newham, we noted that the borough was too large for two constituencies. We propose an East Ham constituency, which retains seven wards from the existing East Ham constituency, and adds two wards from the existing West Ham constituency. We also propose a Bow and Canning Town constituency, which includes four wards from the existing West Ham constituency, two Tower Hamlets borough wards from the existing Poplar and Limehouse constituency, and two wards from the existing Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. 

The exact make-up of the new constituencies, with wards, boroughs and current voters:

Bow and Canning Town

Canning Town North Newham 8,333
Canning Town South Newham 8,543
Stratford and New Town Newham 12,471
West Ham Newham 8,073
Bow East Tower Hamlets 10,427
Bow West Tower Hamlets 7,850
Bromley North Tower Hamlets 5,980
Bromley South Tower Hamlets 6,532
Lansbury Tower Hamlets 9,623
  Total 77,832

East Ham

Beckton Newham 7,335
Boleyn Newham 8,696
Custom House Newham 6,971
East Ham Central Newham 8,867
East Ham North Newham 8,682
East Ham South Newham 8,347
Plaistow South Newham 8,290
Royal Docks Newham 6,081
Wall End Newham 8,418
  Total 71,687

Forest Gate and Loxford

Forest Gate North Newham 8,392
Forest Gate South Newham 8,862
Green Street East Newham 8,875
Green Street West Newham 8,752
Little Ilford Newham 8,873
Manor Park Newham 8,636
Plaistow North Newham 8,215
Clementswood Redbridge 8,051
Loxford Redbridge 8,841
  Total 77,497

You can comment on the proposals at the Commission’s special review website, or at a public hearing. The nearest one to us will be at Romford Town Hall on 31 October and 1 November.

Latest crime stats

22 Aug

The Metropolitan Police have released the latest crime statistics for Newham and they don’t make for happy reading, with a 4% year-on-year increase.

While robberies and residential burglaries are down, violent crime – murder, assault, rape and other sexual assaults – are all up. As is gun crime – up 27%.

Also worrying are the significant increases in hate crime.

  Yr to June 16 Yr to June 15 Diff. % change
Total Crimes 30,266 29,190 1,076 4%
Homicide 6 5 1 20%
Violence Against the Person 9,853 8,580 1,273 15%
Rape 296 278 18 6%
Other Sexual 522 437 85 19%
Robbery (Total) 1,237 1,507 -270 -18%
   Robbery (Person) 1,164 1,417 -253 -18%
   Robbery (Business) 73 90 -17 -19%
Burglary (Total) 2,245 2,178 67 3%
   Burglary Residential 1,366 1,409 -43 -3%
   Burglary Non-Residential 879 769 110 14%
Gun Crime 116 91 25 27%
Motor Vehicle Crime 3,301 3,280 21 1%
Domestic Crime 3,440 3,097 343 11%
Racist & Religious Hate Crime 508 438 70 16%
Homophobic Crime 52 58 -6 -10%
Anti-Semitic Crime 7 3 4 133%
Islamophobic Crime 68 27 41 152%

Although it’s not obvious from these figures, reducing crime is one of the mayor’s ‘priorities’:

In 2015 we funded 40 police officers to help us tackle rogue landlords, crack down on dodgy traders and catch those who fly-tip.

Those officers cost an extra £425,000 a year. And, as important as rogue traders and fly-tipping are, residents might question how effectively that money is being spent.

Really free

17 Aug

Screenshot 2016 08 16 16 08 09

With this year’s Under the Stars coming up at the weekend, a timely Freedom of Information response has revealed the true cost of the mayor’s ‘free’ events for residents.

Over the five years covered that’s a total of £4,314,409.

Imagine what else that money could have been spent on.

Arrogance and stupidity

16 Aug

An excellent article in Tribune arguing that Labour needs to support fair votes.

The penultimate paragraph sums up so much of what frustrates me about the party and its unwillingness to cooperate with other progressive voices (my emphasis added):

In July, a private member’s Bill on PR introduced by Green MP Caroline Lucas was stifled at birth by a just a handful of votes. Labour MPs – under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – were whipped to abstain, and only eight defied the whip and voted in favour. The arrogance of the Labour Party in denying the right of the electorate a fair vote because it sees itself as the only legitimate voice of ‘the left’ is matched only by it’s stupidity in failing to recognise, or at least acknowledge the changed balance of power in British politics, and the fact that without PR, England and Wales face the prospect, with or without a Labour split, of becoming a Tory one-party state.

A prayer for Owen Smith

26 Jul

Another day in the Labour leadership contest, another open letter.

This time it’s backing Owen Smith MP in his fight against Jeremy Corbyn. Eight Newham councillors have signed:

  • Cllr Andrew Baikie
  • Cllr David Christie
  • Cllr Ian Corbett
  • Cllr James Beckles
  • Cllr Jo Corbett
  • Cllr Mas Patel
  • Cllr Patricia Holland
  • Cllr Quintin Peppiatt

In addition, both Newham MPs, Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms, are among those who formally nominated Smith.

UPDATE (19 August 2016)

Councillors Salim Patel, Aleen Alarice and Alan Griffiths have now added their names to the list of signatories