The Leader will present his statement.
The Leader of the Council presented a verbal statement updating the Assembly on a range of matters since the last meeting:
Government: The Leader confirmed that on 20 May 2020, he was busy in meetings with the Borough Commander and holding similar meetings on behalf of the borough focusing on how to tackle rising Covid rates. No parties were held in the Town Hall and nor had they since then. In March the Council would be agreeing the budget for the coming year. Once again, there were no plans to cut frontline services, despite that for every £1 received in government funding a decade ago, the Council received just 35p today.
Inquest: The Inquest had concluded into the police investigation following the deaths of four young men, Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor. The Leader thanked officers for securing the Town Hall for Inquest, and for their work in supporting the families, the coroner and others while it was being held. The Inquest revealed fundamental failures and shortcomings from the very beginning of the investigation, with the Jury concluding that the failings of the police investigation “probably” contributed to these young men’s deaths.
Policing in the Borough: The Council secured a new police team in Barking Town Centre just before Christmas made up of 25 officers selected because of their local knowledge and community engagement skills
Illegal Travel Encampments: There had been success in the Court of Appeal where the injunction secured a number of years ago banning illegal Traveller encampments was upheld. As a result of the Court of Appeal’s findings, the council’s final injunction against a number of named defendants, and persons unknown, now remained full force.
Achievements over the last four years: Highlights of the achievements made over the past four years included
· 2,000 affordable homes built in the borough;
· Attracting two film studios, three markets of London and new technology companies, such as UCL Pearl and NTT - all amounting to £4bn of investment;
· Had the largest increase in children going into higher education; and
· Helped residents with the rising cost of living through BDCAN+, our Community Food Clubs and our Homes & Money Hub.
HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: This summer, the Country would celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years of public service by Her Majesty. The council plans to hold a series of events as part of its popular Summer of Festivals to give everyone a chance to let their hair down.
Freedom of the City of London: The Leader had recently been informed that the City of London were to bestow Freedom of the City on him and other Leaders for how they had led London during the Pandemic.
The Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health Integration then gave an update on the current COVID-19 situation.
The Cabinet Member advised that in the week to 19th January, the Barking and Dagenham case rate fell from 1,021.0 cases per 100k residents to 715.1, which represented a 30% fall.
The Cabinet Member continued to encourage residents to get the vaccinations against COVID as soon as possible.