Mayor's Christmas message 2015

21 December 2015 in Mayor
On behalf of Newham Council, I wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas and a prosperous new year.
While most of us will be spending time with our families and friends, for some it is a very difficult time and we must think of them and do all we can do to support them.

Our Christmas hampers initiative, now in its second year is a great example of the council, community, partners and local businesses coming together to help some of our vulnerable residents.

Councillors, council staff, volunteers and officers from the police and fire brigade have delivered 3,000 parcels of food and goodies to our older residents who are aged over 70 and who live alone. They have proved extremely popular and we have received many letters of thanks from those who have received them.

The past year has sadly seen examples where a small extremist minority have tried to impose their views by turning to violence and bloodshed. That is why it is even more important that we work together as a whole community so we can share, develop and celebrate our common values of solidarity and mutual respect.

It is also important to remember the unsung heroes who work over Christmas and New Year to keep vital services running in Newham and elsewhere. Our thanks go out to 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.

Next year the council faces its biggest budget challenge ever. Because of harsh cuts in our funding from the Government and other pressures, we need to save £50 million. We are currently analysing what you have told us are the services that matter most, but when we make our decisions, we will do all we can to ensure we deliver the services that residents value.

We want to ensure that you have the same opportunities to enhance your lives as people in wealthier areas of London. We are committed to investing in the things that are making the biggest long term difference to your lives. It is about getting to the real root of social deprivation, not simply managing poverty. Despite the tough challenges ahead, I know that as a council and community we can face these together with hope and resolution.

Once again I wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and a prosperous 2016.