Through a deep understanding of this borough we have developed a bold new approach to the challenges of the twenty-first century. We are building the New East.
The New East is an approach to community which embraces growth but remains mixed, balanced and inclusive. It is an approach to public services which are enabling, preventative and sustainable, not paternalistic or bureaucratic. Finally, it is an approach which empowers the citizen, to take pride in our borough and our history, and to participate in its future.
London’s rapid growth presents both a threat to our Borough, and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We can stand by and allow London’s expansion to squeeze out our community, or we can harness this potential to build a new model for growth.
A mixed, balanced and responsible approach which embraces regeneration while ensuring Barking and Dagenham remains a home for all hard-working people. Securing our fair share of London’s growth for the benefit of the whole community.
We can bow down to the pressure of austerity and cut services one by one, shrugging our shoulders while residents suffer. Or we can build a new kind of Council which takes early, targeted action to empower residents and offer them the opportunities they deserve.
We can innovate public services, rejecting paternalism in favour of enabling, preventative and seamless services which commission the strengths of the public, private and third sectors.
We can join forces and work collaboratively to make sure every person and family receives exactly the help they need when they need it, rather than perpetuating the bureaucracy and dependency of the past.
Lastly, we will understand and encompass the importance of pride and aspiration, working to foster and sustain it throughout the community. Through an appreciation of our history, heritage, social responsibility and potential we can build a positive, resilient community capable of competing in an increasingly connected world. Once we have achieved all of this, we will have realised our vision for the New East.
This is the approach we have taken in Barking and Dagenham since I became Leader in 2014 and we have already achieved a lot. We have:
- Secured over £1 billion of investment in new homes and jobs.
- Agreed a £120 million deal to bring a new railway line to Barking Riverside.
- Secured £350 million to modernise our council housing.
- Supported our schools to become nationally competitive.
- Transformed the Council itself, building services capable of delivering better outcomes despite the austerity of national Government.
As a result, we have also changed the way we think about Barking and Dagenham, and the way others think about us. No longer are we a small, struggling community outside the thriving Capital.
We are an integral London Borough and an inclusive community with vast potential. Crucially, however, we will not be wholly dependent on the City for our future. We can and will stand on our own two feet as the centre for growth in London. We are proud to be part of the greatest city in the world, but we are also proud to be economically, socially and culturally unique and independent.
This is just the start. In the years to come we will follow the approach outlined below to realise our vision for a new Borough, and a new approach to communities, government and growth; to realise the New East. As such we will build a strong community which retains the traditional East End sense of right and wrong – of fairness and inclusion – but which is also able to utilise the incredible economic power of a globalised London.
However, we cannot make this much-needed change without the power to do so.
Over the past half-century central government has centralised power and stripped local government of its authority and – more recently – its resources. This has widened the gap between the citizen and the state, and detached public servants from those they serve. It is vital that this process is reversed, and that any national approach to the challenges of the twenty-first century is grounded in substantial devolution to regional and local levels. If central government will not give us the funding we need, then we need the power to raise our own resources and act independently. Once real power is devolved to local government – who are far more responsive to the varying needs of individual communities – we can then make the changes truly needed to achieve our vision of the New East.
Learn more about our our strategy for growth here.