Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interview – Hugh Cleaver

This is the first of a series of interviews with the Leaders/Spokesmen of five local political parties published in the order that they were received. UKIP did not respond to the invitation.

Hugh Cleaver is the Leader of Redbridge Liberal Democrats.

What are the main priorities for Redbridge over the next 4 years?

Managing a growing demand for services when funds will be restricted by the general financial situation.
Giving people more involvement in the running of their services and their communities
Building a more sustainable community through better use of scarce resources and improving energy efficiency, as well as continuing to reduce waste and preserve open spaces.
Ensuring good relations between all of the communities in Redbridge so that they feel valued and have equal opportunities

What do you see as the most difficult challenges facing the new administration?

Being able to provide high quality services to meet increasing demand when resources will be limited.
Persuading people that scarce resources should be used to provide the best results for the local community.

How important is co-operation and consensus between all parties in running a council?

It helps if there is a consensus on the strategy to be followed but it is also important for the Council that Members are willing to challenge the thinking behind decisions and whether they are the right thing to do.

Assuming you are in opposition, on what single issue would you most like to influence the council, and why?

Involving people in Council decision making so that they feel their views have been heard and taken into account.

What do you consider to be realistically achievable over the next 4 years?

Increasing involvement by residents in local decisions.
Higher rates of recycling and better energy efficiency.
More school places to meet the growing demand.

Which environmental/community issues are of most concern and how would you deal with them?

Reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency - the Council needs to take a much more actve part in persuading people to take the issue seriously and change their use of energy.
Improving recycling rates by investment in new recycling opportunities.
Increasing tree planting and the greening of the Borough.

Which business/economic issues are of most concern and how would you deal with them?

Maintaining the local economy in the face of the general economic downturn. Encouraging local businesses to establish themselves and develop.

What one thing could central Government do to make the job of running a local authority easier?

Apart from lots of money? I think allowing Councils to organise themselves as they decide rather than imposing a favoured Central Government model. The current Cabinet model has put too much power in too few hands and has stripped Councils of a lot of the accountability they had before the government intervened.

If elected what would you wish to be judged on after 4 years?

How much more people feel involved in matters that affect their lives in their areas.

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