HELEN HAYES SLAMMED AT ELECTION HUSTINGS
Helen Hayes, Labour candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood, has been slammed at an election hustings meeting over Lambeth council’s decision to demolish six estates in the borough.
Local issues were – with the exception of the 20mph limits and local NHS matters – largely ignored at the hustings at Elmgreen school, Elmcourt Road, West Norwood organised by Herne Hill Forum and Norwood Forum.
It was only at the end of the meeting that Nicola Curtis, Central Hill resident and vociferous campaigner, was able to raise the issue.
Nicola Curtis had asked Helen Hayes: “In the Labour party manifesto you state you’re going to build 100,000 council homes. “Is that to replace the 50,000 homes Labour are pulling down – including my home?
Helen Hayes, responding, said she did not recognise the figure of 50,000 homes. “Your home’s not been torn down”
(“It’s going to be….” retorted an angry Nicola Curtis “…….by a Labour-run council.”)
Helen Hayes said Labour had been investing in estates. She wanted to see a Labour government investing in new homes at “seriously affordable levels of rent.”
Independent candidate Robin Lambert, who stood in the Gipsy Hill ward by-election in June last year, said he had canvassed people on the Central Hill estate at the time.
“I asked each person if anything was wrong with their houses. “No leaks. “I don’t understand why they want to break up communities. “Certain professionals on £80,000 a year can’t afford to live in London.”
Green party candidate Rashid Nix said: “To the people of Central Hill: “My neighbours went through what you guys are going through and it’s the worst thing that can happen to you, knowing the people who were elected to serve you are stepping back.”
He named one Lambeth Labour councillor “who never came to see us once.”
In Southwark there had been about 3,000 social homes on the Aylesbury estate which had been demolished and then sold to private developers which were not homes for local people.
“They then talk about delivering affordable social housing which is 80 per cent of market value. “I share your frustration.”
People on Cressingham Gardens – one of six estates which Labour-controlled Lambeth have voted to demolish despite huge public opposition – had been let down by a political system that promises much but delivers very little, added Mr Nix.
“Your community is at risk and people will die at the stress you go through. “We’re with you. “You have to tell your story – and don’t be silent.”
Conservative candidate Rachel Wolf said: “I know Cllr Tim Briggs (Conservative opposition leader on Lambeth council) has done an enormous amount for the people of Central Hill. “It’s a dereliction of accountability and duty to do that. “I don’t think that’s right.”
QUOTES FROM THE MEETING
On the NHS: “The local hospital (Kings) has a shortage of 1,000 nurses” – Helen Hayes.
“I’ve stood up on all the issues that matter to this constituency” – Helen Hayes.
“I’ve lived in East Dulwich for the last 20 years. “Then Brexit happened. “The world I thought I knew fell apart” – Gail Kent, Liberal democrat candidate.
“Fifty-two per cent of the Royal Mail is owned by the United States government” – Robin Lambert.
“I’m a bit dull. “I’m a mediocrity. “I’d be your servant – that would be my priority.” – Yen Lin Chong, another Independent candidate.
“There’s £120 billion a year which HMRC does not collect. “If the loopholes created in our tax system under both Labour and Conservative governments were closed there would be no financial crisis in our health care. “The money is there. “It does exist. “But the political will to make it happen isn’t.” – Rashid Nix.
“What are we doing sending £118 million to North Korea so we can get a nuclear weapon and a c**p haircut?” – Robin Lambert.
“The promise to abolish tuition fees has finished off the Liberal democrats – so it’s not all been bad news” – Robin Lambert.
“Tuition fees. “That question which every Liberal Democrat loves. “If you are on £22,000 a year you pay back £90 a year in tuition fees – Gail Kent.
“Labour will introduce a new clean air act. “We face a very precarious time at the moment with Trump wanting to abolish the Paris accord.” – Helen Hayes.
“I wouldn’t trust them to run a pick and mix stall” – Robin Lambert in a reference to all party leaders.
“What we need after June 8th is someone asking difficult questions” – Gail Kent on Brexit.
“Brexit is the defining issue in this election and will define this country over the coming years. “My commitment is to fight a hard Brexit” – Helen Hayes.
“Wouldn’t it be interesting if all the party leaders sat down together and put a proposition there should be some kind of cross-party formulated strategy?” – Rashid Nix.
“They talk about communities at election time and when it’s over they try and break them up” – Robin Lambert.
“No school in Lambeth or Southwark will see any budget reductions in the next Government” – Rachel Wolf.
“I will shout out my question in a moment if I’m ignored for much longer” – Nicola Curtis.
“Perhaps we could have a word about Lambeth library policies” – voice from the audience just as the candidates were asked to summarise.
To which Rashid Nix said: “The fifth richest economy is closing libraries. “It’s a scandal. “Our elected officers are doing the work of the Barbarians.” And Yen Lin Chong said: “Libraries. “Keep them open.”