‘Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal’ UPDATED

In May 2017, this blog published a post entitled ‘Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (1)’, which, somewhat unexpectedly, attracted a big readership. What follows provides an update, focusing both on knife crime specifically, and the broader (though intimately related) issue of gangs and gang violence. First off, and very regrettably, it is worth underlining that the knife crime problem in the borough is actually worse now than it was at the time of the original post. Indeed, in FY 2017-18, the number of offences was 27.34 per cent up on the previous year, a rise that was significantly greater than that in the Metropolitan Police Service area as a whole (21.17), and compare... »

How local government works

1. In February 2018, the LBWF Cabinet agrees to set up ‘a joint venture with Mears Limited to acquire 400 properties to let to those living in temporary accommodation or on the Council’s housing register’. 2. In June 2018, Mears sponsors a ‘think tank’ session at Housing 2018, ‘Europe’s largest and most inclusive housing festival’, which includes a heavyweight Waltham Forest presence: NB There is no suggestion that either Mr. Welsh or Cllr. Mitchell gained financially from this appearance, with for example the latter’s ‘gifts and hospitality’ entry for the period recording only a discount from the Orient: »

Cllr. Johar Khan: the prince of pranksters hits the skids?

Cllr. Johar Khan, the Labour member for Markhouse, has always been a bit of a card. Spats with colleagues and adversaries, political implosions, party defections, suspensions, investigations, big posh cars, personalised number plates, flash weddings, and an impish way with facts – his back pages feature the lot. Who, for instance, could forget the time when, as finance director, he reassured his colleagues at a January 2011 E11 BID Co. board meeting that ‘All VAT, PAYE and tax matters had now been brought up to date’, only for the company’s spoilsport accountant to conclude some months later that ‘During the course of our audit we noted that the company has employees but does not have a payr... »

Leytonstone’s E11 BID Co: still more controversy

Over the years, this blog has regularly reported on the travails of the E11 BID Co. Ltd. (hereafter BID ONE), a private company that was specially set up in 2007 to run Leytonstone’s Business Improvement District (BID). In some ways, that this has been merited is quite surprising. The financial and operating model that BID ONE initially set out to follow was hardly complicated. As part of the legislation that set up the BID area, LBWF was charged with collecting an annual levy (calculated as a percentage of rateable value) from local traders, and then passing it over to BID ONE. All BID ONE had to do was spend it purposefully, for instance by making the streets cleaner, safer, and in g... »

Waltham Forest Labour : boosting the local economy…er sorry, a local economy

Here’s something funny. Councillor Clare Coghill is a great one for saying how important it is to boost the local economy, and often reassures us that, in its never ending search to make our lives better, her council is doing just that. For example, here she is writing in the preface to LBWF’s 2016-18 Growth Strategy: ‘Over the next four years we will continue to work closely with local businesses and give them the support they need to prosper, and promote and invest in our town centres to keep wealth in the borough and give residents the quality and mix of services they expect’ [emphasis added]. So against this backdrop it comes as a bit of a surprise to find that th... »

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