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Newham Labour values: Trust; Reciprocity; Fairness; Solidarity; Localism

Welcome to my first blog. I hope you find it interesting and informative. If you don’t then it’s probably because I’m a lousy writer. Feel free to suggest improvements.

Let me begin by telling you what I did on Friday and highlight two excellent council initiatives that are providing practical financial help and advice to Newham residents in need of practical help and advice.



Friday, I visited MoneyWorks in Stratford. An organisation we set up and run to provide debt advice and help people access credit through a credit union.  In addition, if the credit union initially refuses you a loan, you may still get one on recommendation from Newham Council – since we might know you better.  For example, if you’ve paid your council tax for years then you’re probably a good bet for a bit of credit. We believe we are the first Council in the country to do this at scale (if you know anyone else who is doing anything like this let me know). 

We talk to people to make sure they can genuinely afford the credit. The first loan of £500 had just been agreed but the borrower had asked for £1500 – which we believed would have left the borrower in too much debt. An ethical and low interest lending offer for Newham people (you have to be resident for at least 2 years to get a loan)!



On my visit they had a group of people from WorkPlace – the Council’s job brokerage service (the largest and most successful local jobs brokerage service in the country by a huge margin). They were being helped to get jobs and we were making sure they had the right financial understanding. It really was very exciting and impressive.

Both of these organisations have been established by Jane Sherwood one of our excellent council officers, as part of a genuinely joined up approach which, as far as we are aware, is the first service of its kind provided by a council to local residents.  I believe the Council should do things the community would want us to do.  Somebody in our community in a bit of trouble and in need of a helping hand? Would residents approve? If so we should do it. 


Watch this space

Our next steps include placing adverts outside the premises of places like exploitative pay-day loan sharks that operate in the borough – telling people there’s a better way and a cheaper offer available from the Council.  The Council provides a free service to kill rats. Let’s try and drive these vermin out of Newham as well!

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