Christmas Message from Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham

20 December 2013 in Council and democracy and Mayor
On behalf of everyone at Newham Council I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous New Year.​
While most of us will be spending time with our families and friends, it's important to remember the unsung heroes who work over Christmas and New Year to keep vital services running in Newham and elsewhere. Let's spare a thought for those in the emergency services, the armed services that serve and protect us throughout the year, and the staff at Newham Council who will be on hand to ensure we have a safe and healthy holiday period.

Over the past 12 months Newham has faced the challenge of dealing with one of the biggest funding cuts from central government of any local authority in the country, yet we have continued to protect the services that matter most to residents.

With stringent financial planning we were able to freeze Council Tax for the fifth year in a row and I have already indicated that I propose to do that again next year, which will go a long way to help those striving to make ends meet. In addition, I intend to ensure that Workplace, the council’s employment service, continues to help residents change their lives for the better.

At Christmas we remember especially that every child matters. That’s why I have promised to do all I can to support the future life chances of our youngest residents, to inspire them to achieve their goals. Only in Newham has free school meals been provided since 2009 to all primary school children regardless of their parents’ income, saving each family at least £566 per child. Only in Newham do more than 10,000 children across 73 schools receive free music lessons and free musical instruments. Newham’s Every Child programme is the best present we can give to children.

Amongst all the excitement that comes with the arrival of Christmas it’s easy to forget that this is an opportunity for people to spend time with others, whatever their religious beliefs, and prepare for the year ahead with hope and resolution. I look forward to being able to continue investing in the areas that are important to residents. Once again I wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and a prosperous 2014.