Last updated: 23 November 2023
Next review: 23 November 2024
Waltham Forest is a diverse, creative and vital part of the London we love. However, some decisions about our funding are based in the past and are simply unfair. In areas such as police and health funding our residents are not getting a fair deal. These are the key lobbying priorities that the Council will work on to achieve change over the coming months.
We have announced a £5.5m package of support for our most vulnerable residents. Our young people need opportunities and a chance to develop their skills. We are bringing new green job opportunities for them to develop. Older residents should be able to enjoy aging well in Waltham Forest and be sure that their voices are heard and valued. We must do all we can to reduce inequalities in our communities, remove the barriers that too many people face, and deliver a Fair Deal for all residents.
We know that despite being out of lockdown the pandemic is not over. We have prepared a list of different resources where people can get help if they need financial support, service support including help with housing, or community support such as a befriending service or access to a food bank.
We also want to make sure that residents feel valued in their communities and have access to fun, free activities over the Winter period. We have collected all the family-friendly activities across the borough over the next few months that you can go out and enjoy.
A fair deal on Whipps Cross Hospital
Whipps Cross hospital is not fit to deliver modern treatment. We need funding and the green light to give us a fair deal on a new hospital.
The #WhippsWontWait community campaign was launched on Thursday 7 October. Currently there are over 5,000 signatures on the petition and this is continuing to rise at a fast rate
On Sunday 25 July a major incident was declared at Whipps Cross. Heavy rain caused severe flooding, loss of power, and significant damage to the building. A significant number of planned surgeries and outpatient appointments were cancelled. This incident has further highlighted the urgent need for a new hospital and redeveloped estate.
The redevelopment of Whipps Cross hospital is a priority and should be delivered in keeping with the government’s hospital building commitments.
Why is this important?
The Whipps Cross hospital buildings are over 100 years old
The estate has one of the highest backlog maintenance bills in the NHS
Flooding led to loss of 168 beds and 12 surgical theatres, while 100 inpatients were transferred to other hospitals
582 planned surgeries and over 100 outpatient appointments were cancelled due to flooding
A fair deal on Public Health funding
Our public health services have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID, but we have one of the lowest public health budgets in London, based on an outdated formula from 2011. Neighbouring boroughs get a far bigger share. We need a fair deal on Public Health budgets.
During the pandemic, disparities in funding have been amplified owing to increased and new pressures. It is vital the government uses the 2021 Spending Review to deliver sustainable funding for public health and local government.
Why is this important?
- Health services locally are facing more pressure than ever, with residents waiting longer to access GPs and finding it harder to make dentist appointments, or even to find a dentist taking on NHS patients at all.
- In 2014/15, Waltham Forest had the largest gap in funding, from what the target amount is, versus what we actually got. This is the largest gap across all London boroughs.
- Local authorities’ public health grant funding has reduced by over £700 million between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
- Waltham Forest’s funding for Local Outbreak Plans was less than half the allocation of Hackney and over £1m less than Islington, despite us having a larger population.
A fair deal on local policing
The local Police force has been devastated by over a decade of cuts. We have worked together tenaciously to find ways to reduce the impact of these cuts but this can only take us so far. We have fewer police resources than similar areas of London, and it is having an impact on our resident’s safety and confidence. We need a fair deal on police numbers and resources.
The Metropolitan Police recently announced extra support for local policing, including 650 additional police officers. However, none of these will be deployed in the borough, and there is a risk the announcement could even see police officers currently allocated to duties in Waltham Forest moved to the roles created elsewhere.
Why is this important?
- As a rate per population, the overall level of crime in Waltham Forest over the last two years ranks 18th out of 32 London Boroughs.
- Waltham Forest has a relatively high proportion of residents who say they are worried about crime (63 per cent), this has increased steadily in recent years.
- Only five of the seventeen boroughs selected for the extra officers have a lower overall rate of crime than Waltham Forest.
- Waltham Forest has a worse ranking than all but one of the seventeen boroughs selected for extra officers in terms of perceptions of how reliable Police are “to be there when needed”.
A fair deal for families
As we recover from the impact of Covid-19, now is the time to seize the once-in-a-generation chance for real change. We will do all that we can to assist local families in need, providing a safety net where the government refuses to help.
The Council has approved a range of investment to help the borough recover from COVID.
This is a significant investment in our key priorities to help those most severely affected by the pandemic. The investment of over £5 million is for a range of projects such as school readiness for our under-fives, the climate emergency, volunteering, and a plan to make our borough a place where everyone can age well. We will continue to provide discretionary payments to cover fuel bills, support our food banks, and operate a money and debt advice service.
We are continuing to do everything in our power to make sure our residents get a fair deal from the council.
We are holding a special Cost of Living Summit with a broad range of our partners in the voluntary sector. We want to hear their experiences and work in partnership with them to make sure no one in our borough falls through the cracks this winter. These will be practical, on the ground measures designed by those working on the frontline.
Connecting people with Jobs is a key priority for us – to help you to get a local job, apprenticeship or work placement. You can also gain new skills and qualifications, or start your own business.