Friday, 16 September 2011

Newham where it pays to be in politics

Some 2.51 million people are now unemployed, representing 7.9 per cent of the total workforce. Youth unemployment rose by 78,000 to 973,000. Almost a fifth of 16 to 24-year-olds are now out of work. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by 20,400 in August and now stands at 1.58 million. And the numbers working part -time because of a shortage of full-time positions also increased to 1.28 million, the highest level since 1992.

And so this is the bleak black picture that fills the landscape as we move into the winter months of the year, and for many they will feel the cold as early darkness descends. No more so than in my own locality of Newham; and of the two Parliamentary constituencies of East Ham and West Ham, where unemployment now stands higher than the national average at 23.1% and 14.5% respectably.

This week a massive new shopping mall opened in Stratford ‘The Westfield City Mall - with its 300 shops, 70 restaurants and bars, a 17-screen cinema, tenpin-bowling ally and the UK's largest casino, but to me its a reminder that there is an other way of life out there... for some, if only you had the money. I doubt very much if any or many of my neighbours will ever be able to afford to do their shopping and socialising or whatever there, still its nice to know that we have Europe’s largest urban shopping centre all of 1.9 million sq ft of it and where as Westfield promotes, ‘you're sure to find just what you're looking for’.

Westfield is sited next to the Olympic Park and yet another insult to the local community who were sold this on the back of a complete pack of lies, that it would bring jobs and regenerate the area, which I have to tell you was promoted by a Labour Council led by an elected Mayor, Sir Robin Wales. And Sir Robin this week hailed the Westfield development as more important than the long-term future of the Olympics. Dare I say it Sir Robin...even more than the long-term future of the local unemployed population who have not benefited whatsoever?”

Newham is a Labour controlled council with 60 members all Labour and no opposition, and run by Sir Robin Wales, who is its elected Mayor. Sometimes, I think it may as well be run by by Dick Turpin, especilally when you consider that that Sir Robin pays himself £80,695 and his helpers lifted £24,333 as elected councillors, and paid this sum for what they call special responsibility allowance’ on top of a basic allowance of £10,734.

So who said that politics doesn't pay?”
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