Poll: Havering leader set to attend devolution meeting

Cllr Roger Ramsey

Cllr Roger Ramsey - Credit: Archant

Borough bosses will meet on Friday to formally discuss plans for devolved powers in the areas of economic development and transport.

Cllr Jeff Tucker is against any plans to work with other London boroughs

Cllr Jeff Tucker is against any plans to work with other London boroughs - Credit: Archant

Havering’s leader, Cllr Roger Ramsey, said the region, which includes nine north and east London boroughs is the “most promising area for economic development in the country”.

The rescheduled talks will follow a London assembly meeting tomorrow over a new round of devolution to London.

The Government has indicated it is considering public service reforms similar to those in Greater Manchester.

But Cllr Ramsey said Havering is different to the other boroughs at the table, including Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney, and will not be joining any “combined authority”.

He will attend with an “open mind” to see “what is in it for Havering”.

He said: “The scope for economic development in the region is one of the most promising in the country because of the vibrancy of the riverside economy.

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“We owe it to our community to understand what’s going on and if we can be part of it,” he said.

Opposition councillors have mixed opinions on the possible collaborative working.

The outspoken leader of the Independent Residents’ Group (IRG), Cllr Jeff Tucker, said working with Essex authorities was the way forward, and what residents wanted.

“We don’t want to work with inner London councils with bad housing problems, bad overcrowding, bad TB issues,” he said. “They’ve got nothing to offer us. We can outperform all of them.”

Labour leader, Cllr Keith Darvill, agreed with Cllr Ramsey that it would be “ludicrous” to not be involved in the discussions.

Readers have also had their say.

Jenny Gregory wrote on Facebook: “It would be good to share expertise like county councils do up and down the country.”

Many others sided with Cllr Tucker.

Sue Foster wrote: “Do we really want to end up like Newham or Tower Hamlets?!”

Anne-Marie Baker added: “Noooooo, for the exact reasons he’s saying!”

What do you think about the plans? Contact Sam on 020 8477 3810 or email sam.gelder@archant.co.uk.

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