With less than 48 hours remaining to win the crucial family vote Mayoral Candidates Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones were put on the spot by parents from the Cardinal Hume Centre who wanted to hear how they would help families in capital if they were elected.
In a question time style debate with topics ranging from childcare, housing, family friendly employment and debt advice to the riots, the candidates heard how hard life is for families living in London. One mum, Julie Henry, said: “I have four children, one of whom now has asthma because of damp conditions in my flat. I’m not interested in candidate’s taxes, I’ll vote for a candidate who will pledge to sort out London’s housing problem.”
Another told the candidates: “Childcare costs are so high that after five years in employment I’ve finally been forced to give up work, I just couldn’t afford to keep going.”
Tracey Harrington, Director of Operation at the Cardinal Hume Centre, said: “The parents and children attending today’s event reflect the real concerns of all those using the centre, as well as the reality of being poor and disadvantaged in London.“Poverty and disadvantage are not new, but the speed of Government cuts and their impact on families is making the problems far worse. We have seen a 22% increase in people needing advice on welfare and benefits. With no work, nor affordable housing and rising food costs they are unable to break free.”
The debate which was also attended by Labour’s Todd Foreman (representing Ken Livingstone) and was organized by the Family Friendly London Coalition.Alison Garnham a spokesperson for Family Friendly London added: “The parents that attended our event today represent the real London, a place where many families are struggling with rising costs, squeezed budgets and falling living standards. It is now vital that candidates listen to their concerns and commit to make London more family friendly by making work more flexible, childcare and housing more affordable and delivering better information for parents.”
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