Paul Merry (Wanstead Park, Labour)

Paul MerryPaul Merry

Paul Merry is a Labour Party 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 have been a Labour councillor for Wanstead ward for the past four years, first being elected in 2014, when Labour gained a majority on Redbridge Council for the first time. I am now standing again in the newly formed Wanstead Park ward.

For the past four years, Wanstead and Redbridge as a whole have been on the receiving end of the Conservative government's unique brand of aggressive austerity, with Redbridge's central government funding cut by 40%. This has meant transforming a Tory-run authority into an organisation fit for the 21st century in terms of service delivery while coping with a massive reduction in funding. This has not been an easy task. However, the Labour council has worked hard to protect front-line services and the most vulnerable residents. I am proud to have played my part in this and the transformation of methods of service delivery, particularly through the use of new technology and better coordination.

I am a seasoned campaigner, having campaigned against, amongst other causes, the closure of Wanstead Hospital intermediate care wards, the closure of Wanstead Police Station and cuts to policing across London. I have also worked very closely with the Friends of Wanstead Parklands in lobbying the City of London and other funders to invest resources in the Epping Forest lands that make our area so green and special.

Dealing with the parking challenges created by neighbouring boroughs, parking zones and the arrival of Crossrail has been a challenge that will hopefully benefit all residents over the coming years. I am also proud to have been part of the campaign that secured funding for the Newham to Hainault cycle quietway. The quietway runs through Aldersbrook and across the North Circular to Valentines Park, Ilford and northwards.

I have persistently defended social housing and social services. The lack of government funding has forced councils to rethink how they fund these services to minimise damage to vital services. This is a deeply worrying situation, particularly as we have an increasingly elderly population. As a socialist, trade unionist and local government worker for 34 years, I want to see properly funded public services. I spend much of my casework time dealing with people who rely on important council services that are being continuously cut by the government.

It has been a huge honour and very enjoyable to have been a Wanstead councillor for the past four years. I have held advice surgeries twice a month on the High Street and in Aldersbrook in addition to attending many street surgeries and street stalls to hear concerns and deal with local problems.

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