|Rupa Huq Proposes Taskforce To Tackle Suburban Deprivation|
Local MP says spending cuts have impacted lives of those on the edge of our cities
Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq raised concerns about the decline of London’s suburbs in a Westminster debate last week. She was met with positive commitments from the Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, who gave her the green light for the creation of a cross-departmental suburban taskforce to address issues facing areas at the edge of our cities.
Rupa, a lifelong Ealing resident, praised the diverse community and history of the borough but expressed concern at the rising deprivation common to much of suburban London. She pointed to the deterioration of public services in her constituency as a result of Government spending cuts, which over time, she argued, have contributed to a growing divide between inner and outer London.
Several other MPs contributed to the debate, which focused broadly on the issues affecting London suburbia from all parts of the capital including east (Jon Cruddas, Dagenham MP), north (Gareth Thomas, Harrow West MP) and south (Fleur Anderson, Putney MP). All spoke of the toll spending cuts have had on public services in their constituencies. New Ealing North MP James Murray highlighted changes to the welfare system as a cause of shifts in suburban population in his seat.
Rupa touched on transport, schools, cultural heritage and planning issues that are changing the physical nature of suburbia. Her main ask of Government Minister Jake Berry from the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government was that there needed to be a cross-departmental nation-wide suburbs task force. This would formulate policies to improve the lot of areas on the periphery of big cities which are often forgotten as policy initiatives focus on city centre regeneration, such as Micheal Hestletine’s inner cities crusade in 1980s. Mr Berry agreed that more needed to be done to revive the capital’s suburbs and issued the call to Rupa and colleagues to initiate this with his department able to consider recommendations.
Rupa said: “It’s a real worry that this Government, traditionally favouring the shire counties and now fixated with the red wall in former industrial heartlands, will ignore our suburbs. Despite the reputation suburbia has for being out of the way places with few problems, outer London faces a number of twentyfirst century pressures: Ealing borough for example, has had 64% slashed from its central government grant since 2010.”
Rupa added: “The fact that my constituency has an above average number of residents without English as native tongue also means extra support services are needed which are not recognised in the blunt application of funding criteria. I’m pleased that the Minister is receptive to the task force idea so will set about making this happen. Suburbs in London, Manchester, Birmingham and all over the country have really borne the brunt of cuts and had to achieve against the odds.”
Any parties wishing to feed into the task force should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
February 7, 2020