Merry Christmas from Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales

19 December 2017 in Mayor
On behalf of everyone at Newham Council, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year.​
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the festive rush, but I find that the end of the year is also the perfect time to reflect on your achievements and look forward.

We’ve done some great things together over the past 12 months with thousands of us joining the regular events across our community neighbourhoods and our summer programme of the Mayor’s Newham Show and music celebration Under the Stars.

I also enjoyed meeting residents at our annual Guy Fawkes night celebrations and Christmas lights switch-on and party events. As this is a traditional time for giving, the Council has again, with our partners, given away more than 3,000 hampers to the borough’s lonely and vulnerable older people.

But 2017 hasn’t been without its challenges as we continue to grapple with massive cuts in our funding from the Government. As a Council we are changing the way we work so that we are run better and more efficiently. Only by doing that can we continue to deliver what you have told us matters most and those opportunities that enhance your lives.

When I was elected in 2014 I made a number of promises to residents, and I’m delighted those promises have been met.

Council Tax was frozen for the ninth year in a row. We continue to invest in our roads as part of my commitment to invest £100 million over ten years. More than 18,000 metres of roads and 22,000 metres of pavements have been overhauled in the past 20 months.

We have invested £1million per year in a fly-tip task force to catch those who dump on our streets and we continue to invest in our employment service Workplace that has filled 35,000 jobs with Newham residents. We have also extended opening hours and increased use at our libraries by transforming them into multi-purpose community spaces.

The Government finally gave the green light to renew our ground-breaking private rented sector licensing scheme, following a long fought campaign. We have also introduced our own housing initiatives as we strive to ensure everyone has somewhere decent to live.

We must think of those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington who are spending their first Christmas without loved ones as a result of the tragedy. We have worked hard to keep residents in tall buildings safe and that will continue into the new year. We should also reflect on the multitude of disasters, tragedies and atrocities that have brought pain and suffering to people not just in London and Manchester but around the world. I hope 2018 will be better for all.

Early in the new year we look forward to the ten-year anniversary of Workplace and will be unveiling the refurbishments that have been going on at Newham Leisure Centre and Balaam Leisure Centre. All councils do a lot, but Newham does more and there is still much to come.

I am very aware that not everyone will be able to have a rest this Christmas period, whether you are working to ensure vital emergency services are delivered or looking after the most vulnerable in our borough, let me thank you on behalf of everyone for all the valuable work you do.

However you choose to spend this festive period, I wish you a happy, safe Christmas and a prosperous new year.