Green Mayoral hopeful Sian Berry visits Willesden Green
PUBLISHED: 13:31 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:18 26 April 2016
The Green Party candidate for London Mayor dropped in on Willesden Green residents as part of a whistle-stop tour to launch her manifesto.
Sian Berry stopped to leaflet residents living around Walm Lane as she battles strong competition from Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith to be the next London Mayor.
The 41-year-old said her party has been present in the London Assembly since it started in 2000 and “are prepared to make more radical decisions” she added: “The campaign’s going really well. People are signing up to us which is really good. I think people are getting bored of the whole two race thing. The ideas we have are good ones to bring about real change.”
High on her agenda are rent controls for people in the private sector and fairer fares, so residents who have to take multiple buses to one destination only pay once, for example.
Currently a councillor for Highgate in Camden, she said: “Brent residents have a real problem with air pollution. We have high streets like this over legal limits and it’s not safe really for people to live and work here so we have to sort that out and it’s something we’ll work on.”
Her plans for clean air “were voted 10 out of 10 by the campaigners, because they are comprehensive, they deal with TfL vehicles, the buses, taxis, help people change their own cars and reduce the amount of traffic as well.”
She said: “We have a real focus on helping private renters. Building new houses is important and we have to build the most affordable but most of us live in houses that already exist and our rents are going up above half our average pay. We’ll set up a renters union and a really strong campaign to make the government give priority to rent rises. They may not want to but there’s a real need for this, there’s already lots of groups making the case for this, and it’s not that radical a step. If we work with the mayors of other cities between us all we could be a cross party coalition of mayors asking the government.”
While she has plans for more community officers on the street, and to make police more gender and ethnically balanced, youth crime is a growing concern.
She said: “Young people getting involved in gangs and knife and gun crime is going back up again after we saw improvements and that’s genuinely a worry for me. What the Green’s put forward in the budget this year was to increase the council tax precepts for police by two per cent and put it in youth services.
“Funding the youth services councils are having trouble funding because of the cuts they face so getting youth workers, giving young people more constructive things to do in the evening, it is boredom and lack of alternatives and a feeling of lack of prospects which leads to this.”
As Mayor she said wants to “bring more real voices of London into City Hall, help people make policies for themselves”. She will start a youth assembly in the London Assembly so “you can take young people to directly scrutinise the mayor and put forward policies”.
She added: “We like democracy at the right level and something’s are best done at the London level and others by the local communities. There’s a great deal of change that can be achieved.”