Labour councillor Josh Abey on the progress being made in his ward since winning election last year
It has been just over a year since I was first elected as a Labour councillor for New Southgate ward – and it’s been quite the year.
The cost-of-living crisis has gone into overdrive. The Conservative government’s crashing of the economy last autumn, compounding 13 years of economic failure, has resulted in the UK having the highest inflation among the G7 countries. People are experiencing the largest fall in living standards on record and Enfield residents have been hit hard.
I stood for election because I believe that local government done right can improve lives. In tough times, when people are struggling to get by, investing in our communities becomes even more important.
And so our Labour council has been focused on delivering its 2022 manifesto, spurred on rather than deterred by the crisis. Planting thousands of new street trees; cracking down on fly-tipping with a record number of prosecutions; and supporting job creation with new construction and film academies – the work is underway to secure a thriving Enfield even while the economic storm rages.
The housing crisis has contributed to the difficulties our communities are facing, too. Across the country, private rented sector rents have soared for families who simply cannot afford them. In my casework and in my role on the council’s housing scrutiny committee, I have seen the devastating effects on residents in New Southgate, which has a higher proportion of private renters compared with Enfield overall.
Against this backdrop, Labour-run Enfield Council is pursuing innovative measures to support people facing homelessness. There is more to do, but there are real achievements: while rough sleeping increased by 26% nationally between autumn 2021 and 2022, Enfield saw a 48% reduction over the same period, the largest reduction in the UK.
Ultimately, it will take thousands of new affordable homes being built to deal with the housing crisis, and that is what Labour in Enfield is committed to delivering.
At the same time as these living standards challenges, we continue to face a climate emergency that is no less urgent. In New Southgate, I have supported plans for investment in sustainable transport, and infrastructure for walking and cycling to help reduce emissions. Our pledge to roll out 1,000 electric vehicle charging points across Enfield will benefit the whole ward, but especially the area west of the A406 which has been underserved by charging points before now.
The council is also in the process of designing a solution for Brownlow Road to become safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists.
So a year on, the issues confronting New Southgate and Enfield are substantial. But Labour is on your side – and I look forward to my second year serving residents.
Josh Abey is one of two councillors representing New Southgate, alongside Nelly Gyosheva (also Labour). Ward residents can get in touch:
Call 020 8132 0288
Email [email protected]