Ken was my MP for over half of my lifetime, so to many, it may not be surprising that someone from Brent is backing Ken to be Mayor of London. But looking beyond that, I want a candidate who is not afraid to challenge the consensus and someone who can build a platform for Labour to be back in power at the next general election.
Ken has proved time and time again and shown true leadership in the decisions he’s made that he has shown good judgement. Some decisions he has made has made a practical difference to people’s lives.
One example of when Ken has shown innovation to tackle the problems we have is on Housing; and in particular, wheelchair accessible housing.
There is a national shortage of around 300,000 wheelchair accessible properties in the UK. In many cases, not having the right housing could mean that a wheelchair user has to bathe in the kitchen sink or even use their living room as a bedroom, because they can’t get into their own room.
In London, thanks to Ken, it is now a requirement for ten per cent of homes to be identified as wheelchair accessible at the planning application stage and described in the Design and Access Statement submitted with the planning application. The requirements go well beyond the National Lifetime Homes standard and shifts the focus on building homes for wheelchair users that are liveable, and not just visitable properties that tick minimum requirement boxes.
It’s all set out here: Mayor of London Best Practice Guide on Wheelchair Accessible Housing (2004)
Ken’s 10% target has set a blueprint that leads the way on this issue, and although it will not solve all the problems we face on this issue nationally, Ken’s actions ensures that London at least give our contribution.
On Transport, Ken was right to introduce the Congestion Charge in London to ease traffic through the city, encourage greater use of public transport and reduce vehicle emissions. The Boris alternative to removing the Western extension to the Zone has been unprecedented rise in Tube fares LINK.
Whether it is housing, transport, planning, employment, fairness, IRAQ!!! in most cases, Ken gets it spot on. That’s why I’m backing Ken to be the Labour Party candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral election.