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World

March 14, 2018

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Pak immigrant’s daughter running for Newham mayor

LONDON: The daughter of Pakistani immigrant is looking to be the first directly elected woman of colour in the UK as she bids to become the mayor of Newham – one of the most deprived boroughs in Britain.

Rokhsana Fiaz is looking to replace the UK’s longest serving Mayor Sir Robin Wales as leader of the East End borough and has gained substantial backing in a short space of time, including from the UK’s largest trade unions, UNISON and UNITE, as well as the CWU trade union and local West Ham MP, Lyn Brown.

A Labour Party councillor representing Custom House ward since 2014, the 47-year-old has seen first-hand the challenges facing the borough and has made addressing the housing crisis facing Newham her top priority. She has pledged to embark on an ambitious housing delivery programme which will see more Council owned homes being built at social rent levels.

“We have nearly 24,000 families on our house waiting lists, 4,500 families that are homeless and countless young people struggling to rent at a level they can afford.” explained Rokhsana in an interview.

It’s evident that Rokhsana cares about all sections of the community and she speaks with genuine passion about all that needs to be done to help all those born in the borough, where she herself was born. She is hoping to end the 23-year reign of the current mayor and has come up with a definite plan to help those living in Newham.

“My target is to build 1,000 genuinely affordable council owned homes at social rent levels by the end of my first term. I want to double the number of youth hubs in the borough from four to eight and am pledging to oppose academisation of schools in the borough. Coupled with improving democratic accountability by holding a referendum on the Directly Elected Mayor model in Newham and involving residents in decision making, I am offering a fresh start that will take the borough and its residents forward,” she said speaking to this correspondent.

The determined London born councillor also wants those in position of power in the areas to be held more accountable to residents. “I think it is astounding that the current mayor lost £52 million on the botched Olympic stadium deal and is still putting himself forward. Just imagine all the good that could be done with that money, including helping the elderly and homeless. Being in power doesn’t mean you are above judgement in any way. I feel you need to be held accountable for your decisions and actions.”

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