Introducing our new candidate for East Ham #GE2017

Ex-investment banker Chidi Oti-Obihara has lived in Beckton for 6 years and is standing on a platform for improving local lives

I’m proud to announce that our candidate for East Ham is now Beckton-based Chidi Oti-Obihara!

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Michael (on phone) and Chidi having just finished registering on the ballot
Chidi Oti-Obihara lives in Beckton and became a member of the Green Party while working with us on our investigations into Newham Council’s mis-sold Lender Option, Borrower Option (‘LOBO’) loans.

Previously an Investment Banker, Chidi turned whistle-blower in 2007 and testified to Parliament about the practices he’d witnessed and been bullied for not colluding with. He now works as an independent financial consultant. 

Chidi said “It’s a bittersweet moment for me as I became involved in the party largely because of Rachel, so it’s a shame to have this opportunity due to her standing down. However, it’s a huge honour to have been selected by the membership to represent the party, and especially my own neighbourhood!” 

Chidi Oti-Obihara has lived in Beckton for 6 years and is standing on a platform for improving local lives:

“My part of the borough – Beckton and the Royal Docks, nearby – has been rather neglected by local government. There isnt enough sustainable planning. Whenever investment does appear, it’s privately funded or uses opaque private-partnerships that rarely meets the needs of local people. The air pollution, which is disgraceful across London, is particularly bad in parts of the borough due to the sewage works, the airport and the endless building works. The air is constantly full of dust particles and unpleasant smells. We deserve better, and that’s a large part of why I want to stand in East Ham.”

Chidi is also keen to discuss the problems with some of the privatisation in local government – such as the use of LOBOs by many local authorities. “Having worked in finance for over 15 years, I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I know some of the more questionable practices used in selling products. We know that Newham Council is by no means alone in having been mis-sold these loans, and I hope we can push this topic into the national agenda.”

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Chidi with local members as part of the #StandUpForCleanAir campaign

Today, Chidi launched his campaign with some leafletting on East Ham High Street, talking to residents, shoppers and business owners.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be holding events and stalls around East Ham, Beckton and the Docks – find out more on Chidi’s Facebook page.

Introducing our candidate for West Ham!

 

This weekend we were joined by London Assembly member, Sian Berry, to announce our candidate for East Ham in June’s General Election.

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Michael Spracklin, left, with Sian Berry and local spokesperson, Rachel Collinson

It was a great start to our London Young Greens action day – part of their weekend of Ed Balls Day events across London. Sian announced the winner of our members vote – which was unanimous in favour of Michael Spracklin, from Manor Park!

Michael has been our party treasurer for the past few years, and is an IT consultant by day. Mike is sadly one of the dwindling number of East London-born working class residents who has managed to live here his entire life, without being priced out. …Yet!

Concerns around housing and the rise in social injustice was a key part of why Michael joined the Green Party:

“The banks are still ripping us off – nothing has changed since 2008 to fix the system. The mainstream parties just bow down to the super-rich and lobbyists. I believe that the Tory government’s ideology driven “austerity” cuts should end. It’s grotesquely unfair. The super-rich, banks, and multinational companies should take their losses and pay their taxes.

A green, fair and prosperous society is not only achievable but necessary.

This is his first time standing as a general election candidate, inspired by his time campaigning for recent elections in the borough. If you’ve spoken to us on your doorstep, at one of our stalls or community events, you may well remember meeting Mike.

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Michael Spracklin chairing our Silvertown Tunnel town hall meeting in 2015

One of Michael hopes for this election campaign is to encourage voter turnout and show disillusioned locals why the Green Party are a valid choice. “The EU Referendum turnout in Newham was the second lowest in the country. During our campaigning we spoke to countless people who didn’t plan to vote because they didn’t feel their vote mattered. Newham’s residents deserve to have a voice, and many currently feel that they don’t.”

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Keep the rich, off the pitch!

Yesterday Newham Greens teamed up with the Friends of Queens Market to gather objection letters and leaflet for a public meeting (24th March) that will demand 100% social housing from the development of West Ham stadium.

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We’ll have a stall next Saturday (21st) too – so do pop down to support this important local campaign between 12-2pm. The more the merrier!

Other ways to support:

  1. Follow @BoleynDev100 on Twitter
  2. Sign the petition to demand 100% social housing on the Boleyn Ground to serve the needs of local residents
  3. Lend a hand on Saturday 21st March – there will be a stall at the entrance to Queens Market from noon – 2pm to raise awareness and collect signatures of support
  4. Come along to the public meeting on Tuesday 24th March, 7pm at Harold Road Centre,170  Harold Road, E13 0SE

Newham needs a Living Wage

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“…please mind the gap between the rich and the poor”

This week I found out some shocking statistics from TUC.

  • In East Ham 21.9% of all male employees and 29.2% of all female employees are being paid below the London Living Wage.
  • In West Ham, the numbers are even worse. 32.1% of all male employees and 34.2% of all female employees are being paid below the London Living Wage.

This is bad news for all local residents. But in particular, it shows that local women are getting a very raw deal. Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and what these statistics show is that gender pay inequality is an issue in Newham, as it is in the rest of the world.

What is a Living Wage?

At the moment, the law has set the minimum hourly wage at £6.50 for employees aged over 21 years. However we believe this isn’t enough to meet the basic cost of living in the UK. The Living Wage Foundation suggest that everyone in Newham should be paid at least £9.15 per hour – however it is clear from the numbers above that this is not the case for a third of local workers across Newham.

A Living Wage is important and beneficial

Newham Green Party are campaigning for a Living Wage in Newham. We believe this will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families, and this in turn will help people stay out of poverty. A Living Wage is also good for businesses; case studies have highlighted a positive impact on recruitment and retention, less absenteeism, better quality of work from staff, and more staff motivation. To find out more visit: http://www.livingwage.org.uk/

The Green Party of England and Wales is calling for the minimum wage to rise to £10 an hour by 2020. In an address to Greens’ autumn conference, party leader Natalie Bennett said Britain was a low-wage economy and people deserved “a decent return on their labour”

Newham needs a Living Wage.

It’s good for business, good for families, good for Newham!