Name: David Lammy
Area Standing (Constituency): Tottenham
Signed The Positive Youth News Haringey Pledge: Yes
Responded To Online Hustings: Yes – Response below.
Politicians always attack our youth centres when making cuts, what would you do to protect them?
David Cameron and Nick Clegg felt it necessary to make over £170 million worth of cuts to our Haringey Council’s budget while other local authorities in more affluent areas, such as those in Surrey and Hampshire have seen their spending power increase. As a result, Haringey was faced with some tough decisions when it came to making spending cuts. However, I spoke out strongly against the unjust decision to slash the youth services budget; appealing to the council leadership to retain services across the constituency. Supporting young people in Tottenham has been one of my core priorities over the past 5 years. Whilst I was a Member of Parliament, I signed Early Day Motion 488 calling for a statutory and wide-ranging programme of youth services for young people with a ring fenced budget funded by the central government and delivered by local authorities.
Do you think the Duggan case has made it hard for the community to trust the police?
Tottenham has endured many challenges over the years. The Broadwater Farm riots that tore through the estate in October 1985 erupted as a result of deep tensions between the local community and the police. We have come a long way since then, and the relationship between the community and the police force has improved and strengthened. Following the sad case of Mark Duggan’s death, it is clear that tensions continue to persist and I still hold deep concerns over the way our police services operate. Following his tragic death and the aftermath of the riots that followed, I worked hard to secure an adjournment debate in Parliament on reforming the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). I called for reforms that included giving the IPCC powers to compel officers to appear in front of them and the power to suspend a police officer following investigation.
Young people are the lowest voters, what can you do to increase voting participation?
We must engage young people more not less; we must not disenfranchise them further by cutting their services. It starts in schools, by ensuring citizenship and political education is valued part of the curriculum, but the political parties must strengthen their relationship with young people by making it clear what they will do to represent their interests in Parliament. I was delighted that Labour launched it’s Youth Manifesto last week outlining its core priorities for supporting young people across the UK.
Do you support votes at 16?
Yes. If you are old enough to work, pay tax, get married, consent to medical treatment or join the armed forces you must be entitled to this most fundamental human right.
Do you think it is fair that there is a different minimum wage if you are under 18?
The fact there are different minimum wages for 16 year olds , 18 year olds and those who are 21 and above broadly reflects comparative costs associated with each age group. For example, a 16 year old is likely to be in full time education and perhaps part-time employment and still living at home supported by their family. What is scandalous is the cost of living crisis that has had hard working people, young and old, across Tottenham and indeed across London. I welcome Labour’s pledge to raise the minimum wage to £8 per hour. However, I will continue in my campaign to call for a London Living Wage over and above a National Minimum wage that truly reflects what income people need to live in the capital.
The affordable housing being built in Haringey is not affordable, why is this allowed?
Only 40 council homes were built in London last year and rents in Haringey have increased by over 20 per cent in the last two years. We have a crisis in housing and that is why it has been one of my core policy priorities over the last parliament. I have called for the introduction of rent controls. I have called for the proper regulation of landlords. I have called for the borrowing caps to be lifted on local authorities to help them starting building homes. I welcome Haringey labour’s committed to build 1,000 more affordable homes across the borough and applaud some great schemes in Tottenham such as Isobel Place which have ensured that 100% of the homes delivered are affordable. However, I remain deeply concerned over some developments planned in Tottenham that have very low affordability ratios. For example, the housing development planned for the St Ann’s Hospital site is currently predicted to yield 14% affordable housing. I have made strong representations to the Leader of the Council on this issue and will continue to campaign for decent proportions of affordable housing on any new development.
Why have you chosen to stand?
It has been a total privilege to represent the people of Tottenham for the past 15 years and I am standing again as I want to continue to raise the issues that matter most: tackling rising rents; the cost of living; energy bills; protecting our NHS; ensuring young people have access to real training and enrichment opportunities.
When are we going to see real jobs not just supermarkets or sales?
Labour has a clear plan for tackling unemployment and under-employment which ensures each individual has access to proper jobs with real training opportunities. Labour has pledged to guarantee that every young person that gets the grades has a right to a high quality apprenticeship, just as people with good A-levels have a de facto right to go to university. We have also committed to banning forced zero-hour contracts, which have soared under the Tories, to give people a job deal which is secure.
Do you support the knocking down of Broadwater Farm estate?
Having grown up on the Broadwater farm Estate and over the last 15 years as MP I know first hand the challenges that persist across the estate. Anti-social behaviour, poor quality housing, infestations of pests and overcrowding in flats are some of the most prominent issues. I am in favour of the regeneration of the estate to improve the standards of living for people living in the area. However, I am deeply concerned by recent proposals to redevelop lordship rec and the football pitch used by Broadwater United (where my own son attends football training). Redevelopment of this site must ensure we are preserving our green spaces and any future developments must be taken forward in close consultation with local residents.
Do you think prison needs to be tougher?
At its peak, reoffending rates for young peak people stood around 70% across the London in 2011 the year the riots tore through our streets. Prison of course needs to protect society from the danger posed by some of the criminals and of course it needs to serve as a punishment for those who commit these crimes. However, we need to look very carefully at many aspects of our penal system to ensure they are not just serving as a punishment but rather as a means to effectively rehabilitate these individuals into society following their prison terms. I am delighted that Labour has committed to exploring new approach to case-managing 18-20 year old offenders so that they are diverted away from returning to a life of crime.
Please click here to find out what other candidates said.