Chris Pallet (Wanstead Park, Lib Dem)

Chris PalletChris Pallet

Chris Pallet is a Liberal Democrat candidate for the new Wanstead Park ward in the upcoming Redbridge Council elections. Here's why he thinks he deserves your vote on 3 May.

I grew up on the Aldersbrook estate and have lived in Redbridge for most of my life. I went to Aldersbrook Primary and later, Wanstead High School.

I'm pretty fed up with national politics at the moment and very worried about Brexit and what it will do to the economy. I accept we (narrowly) voted to leave, but I don't see why that means we have to have the economically damaging hard Brexit the Conservatives seem to want. Only the Liberal Democrats are clear that a strong relationship with the EU (including staying inside the Single Market and Customs Union) is the best way to safeguard and maximise future prosperity.

But local elections are about local issues. We need to do better on recycling. Government figures show that Labour-run Redbridge recycled only 28% of household waste in 2015–2016. This puts Redbridge in the bottom third of councils. Labour's record on recycling commercial waste is not much better. Astonishingly, we don't even collect cardboard from local schools.

We also need to do more to tackle air pollution. Air pollution is a silent killer, shortening the lives of 40,000 people every year. It's bad enough that this affects all of us as we go about our daily lives – but how can we accept the harm it does to children living or attending schools near busy roads?

Housing is another huge issue. We are failing to build enough homes for young people and they have been priced out of the market. Incredibly, in four years this Labour council has built only 39 new council houses.

We all know about the pressures the NHS is under. Fundamentally, the NHS needs more money and only the Liberal Democrats are honest about that. We would add a penny on to income tax (earmarked for the NHS) to turn things around. But while the NHS is run centrally, local councils can have a big impact. They are responsible for public health and if more of us could lead healthier lives (eat better, exercise more), that would reduce pressure on the NHS.

Councils are also responsible for social care, and hospitals like Whipps can only free up beds if support is there for elderly people who are ready to be discharged but are not able to look after themselves.

And, of course, the basics must not be forgotten. The rubbish needs to be collected, the streets cleaned and the parks maintained.

National politics is in a bad place at the moment, but fundamentally, it is about local communities working together to resolve issues and make things better. That is something I am very happy to be a part of.

Redbridge Council elections will take place on 3 May. Visit wavidi.co/vote2018