Friday, May 18, 2012

Newham Annual Council Meeting 2012

Last night (Thursday 17 May) was the London Borough of Newham Annual Council meeting. It was held in our historic Stratford Town Hall.

It opened with live classical music from some of the 7000 Newham Primary school pupils who had benefited from the Council's "Every Child a Musician" programme" followed by the formal Council business.

This included a motion to better regulate the blight of Betting Shops (bookies) on our High Streets moved by Cllr Neil Wilson (and seconded by myself). Then speeches by Sir Robin Wales, our Executive Mayor, honouring Cllr Alec Kellaway (the Chair of our Pensions Committee) for his 25 years of service and Cllr Conor MacAuley for his 30 years!

The Newham Young Mayor and the (Old) Mayor Sir Robin Wales both gave speeches. Robin reminded us there was only 71 days before the start of the London Olympics and how the eyes of the world will be on Newham. 

I was really pleased that the meeting also honoured all those Newham Residents who had been nominated for Inspiring Peoples AwardsKim Stevens, who is one of the tireless volunteers who runs the Vicarage Lane Community centre in West Ham ward (see Kim in collage bottom right) was so nominated and she had been honoured with tickets to the Olympics 100m Sprint Mens final! Well done Kim and well deserved for all your hard work to the local community.

Of course Keir Hardie (bottom left) the first ever Labour MP elected in this same Town Hall for West Ham South on the 4th July 1892 as ever kept a careful eye on events.


Anonymous said...

Typical Newham Council: You are against betting shops, but you did nothing to stop the casino in Westfield. You are not fit to govern, as you have such inconsistent policies....

John Gray said...

Hi anon

it’s a view I suppose but not one widely shared in Newham.

Actually it’s a nonsense to compare bookies and casinos. The location and number of casinos are highly regulated while bookies are not.

macuser_e7 said...


I think the anonymous commenter makes a fair point. It is a touch two-faced to oppose one form of gambling establishment while enthusiastically embracing another.

High street bookies appeal to the ordinary everyday punter who wants to put a few quid on the horses or the dogs; by contrast Aspers wants to encourage gambling on a much grander scale. I know which I think is worse and the more dangerous.

Sticking London's largest casino in one of its poorest boroughs is an obscenity. I'd rather have a dozen BetFreds or Ladbrokes in Newham than a single Aspers.

No doubt you'll trot out the line about the job opportunities created for local people, but high street bookies employ people too. And I bet they employ a higher percentage of local people than that glitzy casino.

John Gray said...

Hi Macuser

No, I don't think so. In my job as a housing officer and as a trade union rep I have come across many people who lives have been completely destroyed by "the bookies". Not only their lives but also their families.

If you have a gambling addiction there is not a casino on every street corner. They are highly regulated and number strictly controlled and while I have no doubt, like pubs and tobacco shops, they will have a social cost I cannot believe that it will be anything as bad as numerous and uncontrolled high street book makers.

Look, I totally accept that for the vast majority of punters it is a harmless form of entertainment. But it is not just a dozen Betfreds per Asper's but hundreds of them. The Council is pretty powerless to stop them turning any high street former shop into a bookies unless the law is changed.