MAYORAL ELECTION: Sian Berry on housing, knife crime and transport

News Desk (04 May, 2016) Politics

Ahead of the Mayoral election on May 5, the News interviews the Green Party candidate: Sian Berry

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As well as voting for London Assembly members on Thursday, voters will also choose the next Mayor of London.

With Conservative incumbent Boris Johnson vacating the position after eight years, twelve candidates from a variety of parties are up for the role.

This will be the third mayor to run City Hall since the position was created in 2000, with Labour’s Ken Livingstone being the first.

Voters will be given a pink ballot paper on May 5 with the option of selecting two of their preferred candidates.

Different to General Elections, the London Mayor election uses a proportional representation voting system called the supplementary vote.

This involves putting an X in column A for your first choice and an X in column B for your second. This does not reduce the chances of your first choice being successful but rather ensures all votes matter as they are counted.

The News has interviewed or profiled all the candidates for Mayor to help readers choose their favourite candidates.

Interview by Alex Yeates…

Sian Berry

  • Affordable Housing isn’t affordable. Will you change the definition to make it affordable?

Working with the big developers on big schemes and trying to persuade them to deliver us affordable housing doesn’t work.

We need to work outside that system.

We need to use the public land, work with cooperatives and people who want to set up community land trusts.

  • Will you look at removing the Elephant and Castle roundabout?

The right thing to do is peninsular-isation, which is taking a roundabout and joining up one end. We’re doing the same thing in Archway. These big roundabouts are bad but getting the details right is always important and difficult.

  • Should the Bakerloo Line extension go to Camberwell?

We need to re-open the station on the [overground] line as well which goes north to Elephant. We need something to fill in that gap and what I’ve said I will do in terms of raising money for that is the workplace parking levy. There are lots of people driving into London and if we put a levy on the parking spaces they use we can raise a bit of money.

  • What can the mayor do to help reinvigorate our high streets?

I want a Town Centre Fund that can be used by BIDS and local communities. I’d get it from a levy on the big supermarkets.

It would be places that have very large floor space that pay an extra levy on business rights to go into funds that the town centres can use.

  • How are you going to tackle knife crime?

I would get more community officers on the streets and re-prioritising what the police does. I would work with communities around London to understand what the police need to do. 

We’ve got a problem with young people living in overcrowded homes, not really being able to socialise

We have a duty in London to young people for them to have things to do that are constructive after school and in the evenings and so youth services need to be funded.

I would do this by increasing the council tax precept that goes towards the police by how much you can which is 2 per cent.

I would also get the police to be more representative of Londoners. I will make sure we have a gender balanced police force and one that is actually 40 per cent from London’s ethnic minorities.

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