Zoë is also pledging to give residents more power over crucial local issues, and to open the council up to more public scrutiny. The cornerstone of this is to abolish the directly elected role of Mayor.
- Green Candidate for Mayor of Hackney, Zoë Garbett, launches manifesto
- Supports calls to scrap the directly elected role of Mayor
- Promises to instead share more power with residents
The Greens have long held the position that the role of a directly elected Mayor undermines democracy in Hackney. This is because nearly all decision-making responsibilities are removed from the borough’s elected councillors with power instead concentrated in one person. Only five out of London’s 32 boroughs have a directly elected Mayor.
In the last by-election for Mayor of Hackney in 2016, the Green Party were seeking a local referendum on the directly elected Mayor, and are calling for the same this time. This could lead to the post of Mayor of Hackney being scrapped and replaced with a committee system. Under such a system all councillors are responsible for steering the direction of the borough, making decision making a more collective process.
Zoë Garbett, Green Party candidate for Mayor of Hackney, said:
“Having a directly elected Mayor is the very reason we are having this by-election which has disrupted council business and cost us all money. The directly elected Mayor holds too much power. It is so important for residents to get a choice to change the governance of the Council and why I commit to working towards holding a referendum to upgrade our local democracy.”
“I know that standing for a role with the ultimate aim of getting it removed is unusual, but we are Hackney and we can do things differently.
“Residents tell me that they do not feel listened to and that even when they participate in a consultation they do not feel it makes any difference. I will be led by people so that we can create a better Hackney together and open up the Council to more public scrutiny.
“I will hand over more power directly to citizens and help people to win greater power over their own lives, homes, and communities with a view to making the position of Mayor redundant. I want to save the council time and money and hand power back.”
To share power with residents and make the council more democratic and accountable, Zoë is committing to:
- Enabling Hackney’s Youth Parliament to propose budget amendments as part of the budget-setting process.
- Strengthening the power of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Parent Carer forum (Hackney Independent Parents).
- Exploring how representative Citizens’ Assemblies can help guide the Council’s approach to challenges such as falling school pupil numbers and the climate & ecological emergency.
- Introducing participatory budgeting for up to 20 percent of the Council budget by 2026 so that residents themselves decide how budgets are spent.
- Holding regular meetings with a range of unions including workers unions, student unions and independent renters unions.
- Sharing information asap and being transparent so residents are informed of key decisions and updates so that scrutiny of the council is as easy as possible.
The Greens believe that local residents are experts in what is most needed in their neighbourhoods. This means that where there is a need to maintain and update local infrastructure, the people of Hackney will be at the heart of that decision making. After recent events, Greens also recognise the need to build trust and the importance of public accountability.
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