We propose giving Hackney residents a say in how their taxes are spent

Hackney Green Party Mayoral candidate Samir Jeraj pledged a radical overhaul of how the borough’s budget is decided.

If elected, Samir will propose Hackney adopt a ‘Participatory Budget’ which would give Hackney residents a direct say in how their taxes were spent.

The idea is modelled on radical local governments in Brazil. The scheme is now used by over 1500 local governments around the world, such as New York City Council, which recently decided $38m of public spending through participatory budgeting.

The scheme starts with residents discussing spending ideas, then volunteer budget delegates develop proposals, residents vote on proposals, and the government implements the top projects. These could be anything from renovating a park, to improving housing.

Samir said: “I‘m committed to giving people back more control over their lives. Participatory Budgeting is one way of doing that. This will transfer real power to Hackney citizens. Giving them the power to really decide how to improve their communities together with the council.”

Many people feel disillusioned about politics and believe that nobody listens to them. But when they are given a real say over something that matters to them in their community, they are willing and keen to get involved.”

The Green candidate is initially proposing to start the Hackney scheme with £1m and then to build it up to £5m by 2020.