Andrew1 isn’t a political thinker. His Big Idea is Havering2 joining Essex and damn the consequences. It’s Brexit politics transferred to Havering.
Andrew’s ‘independence’ programme will upset elderly voters who will lose the Freedom Pass.3 ‘Independence’ would end it forever. Popping into London for a cheap day out would be a memory. People from Brentwood are jealous of London’s Freedom Pass, especially since the Elizabeth Line started. The other main benefit is it increases Havering’s house prices.
Independence won’t protect Havering from ‘Mayor Khan’s dangerous [housing] plans…’,4 because there aren’t any dangerous plans. Businessmen make commercial decisions about housing. High rise blocks happen if there’s a market for them.
Andrew says Havering’s motorists are, ‘…being fleeced to the tune of £12.50 a day…due to Khan’s ULEZ tax.’ This is a lie. 85% of Havering’s motorists won’t pay a penny. A typical car in Havering is compliant. The Mayor is implementing a Public Health policy and using a charge to induce compliance. ULEZ is aimed at no polluting cars and clean air.
Andrew wants Havering to, “…be independent of the political structures of Greater London.” This from a man who wanted to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in 2020 and failed! Shaun Bailey defeated Andrew for the candidacy. Shaun was then defeated by Sadiq Khan in 2020.
Andrew ends his Big Idea rant by saying, “….Havering [should] take back control’. Now where have we heard that one before? And didn’t it end well?
1 12 years as a Havering councillor and 22 years as Romford’s MP with an overlapping year. He’s had one year’s political experience 33 times.
2 He means Romford. Hornchurch was independent pre-1964 and was bitter about being taken over by Romford. Andrew was born in 1966 and is advocating someone else’s fantasy.
3 The Freedom Pass is very expensive for local authorities. Havering spends about £8 million p.a. Havering and the Freedom Pass – Politics in Havering
4 Romford Recorder ‘Make Havering Independent’ p34 14th April 2023 All quotations are from this article.
8 thoughts on “Andrew Rosindell’s Big Idea”
If we left London, we possibly would be moved to a zone greater than 6. Costs of Freedom pass and O60 would rise and the council would have to decide what it could afford. Season ticket prices would increase.
There might also be an impact on library services and schools lgfl provision. Their costs could rise.
Do you think he’s asked Essex Police how they can manage us?
I’m not sure what’s happened to him as he’s not in parliament.
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There would also be the problem of policing, and the road management of TfL roads in Havering.
If Havering ceases to be a London borough there would be hundreds of job losses at Havering Council, one of the largest employers in the town. His “solution” to the problem of being outside London but still served by TfL is to mimic Epping. But Epping Forest is a district council under Essex County Council. If Havering became a district council most Havering local government functions would transfer to Chelmsford, including libraries, education, highways, waste management and social services including social care.
One of the reasons Hornchurch was so keen to join Greater London in the 1960s was the general feeling of being neglected by Essex County Council, despite paying high rates. Everything will be more remote and difficult to access. Highway repairs would compete with the whole of the county. Havering will subsidise Essex for social care (it would be the most populous district in the county by some measure providing the most council tax), but at the same time would suffer cuts from current service levels. The extent of Epping Forest’s “cooperation” with TfL is that TfL provides some services in the district and voters have no recourse at the ballot box, unlike Londoners. TfL has been stripping back all but the profitable or socially necessary bus routes that extend outside London for several decades. The extensive and subsidised bus network in Havering would be cut back to a few routes and it is extremely unlikely Essex County Council (who would be the transport authority) would step in to do anything. The Freedom Pass scheme is only available to London boroughs. This would end, as well as all the youth and other concession schemes. Districts outside London cannot opt-in. Libraries in Havering would be closed by Essex County Council at the next round of budget cuts. TfL only guarantees inclusion in fare zones 1-6 for places within Greater London, so fares could go up at any time. Uber is not licensed in Essex so that option disappears for Havering residents. Community Fibre, the mayoral subsidised Gigabit internet is for London only. The London Overground Romford to Upminster line would be completely outside London. Havering residents would have no recourse when the Sunday service reintroduced in 2015 is cut by TfL as the line is a money drain for them.
He also says he wants Havering to be unitary (even though this is contradictory to the Epping example). He does not mention it, but Thurrock would be the nearest example of this. This would still result in the near complete cull of buses in Havering and the loss of the Freedom Pass. A unitary Havering cannot join with TfL. What they could do is join with Essex, Southend and Thurrock as a combined authority and create a “Transport for Essex” but this would require a lot of work and consensus between all parties. It is unlikely to happen and won’t happen quickly. This would not be ‘independence’. Havering alone as a unitary transport authority is not going to be able to afford to do anything. For buses it would be whatever TfL decide to offer and maybe a private operator if they think there is a profitable route somewhere. But don’t expect it to run on Sundays or late at night. That goes for all other services Havering would be responsible for. More services to provide coming from a smaller pot. Council tax rises would be inevitable.
His real motive is electoral and he reveals that when he says he wants out of the London Plan. He is worried about new homes being built in Havering that outsiders will occupy who won’t vote for his party. London is set targets for new house building by central government, but the mayor uses the London Plan to decide in which boroughs they should be. If Havering were no longer a London borough he thinks it would be easier to avoid building homes. You only have to look at the new ward of Beam Park centred on a large new housing estate to see why he thinks that. Two Labour councillors elected at the last election. It was the independent residents in the area before, but as far as he is concerned at least it wasn’t Labour.
TLDR: He would wreak Havering, put people out of work and decimate every service used by residents, increasing fares, costs and council tax just so he can perform a desperate act of gerrymander.
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This comprehensive comment makes all the major points I was trying to highlight.
Just a quick follow up to Concerned’s comment. Freedom passes exist outside London (not O60 pass though), but don’t provide access to trains. I’m not sure what happens in places outside London on tfl, such as Amersham.
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The unique feature of London’s Freedom Pass is the sheer extent of it. Buses, overground and tube running east-west. One of the world’s greatest cities with employment, entertainment and a multitude of cultural and sporting opportunities.
The West Midlands have a version which also includes overground services but is very much smaller than London. Rural buses are available when running which isn’t very frequent.
Freedom Pass does not exist outside London. The scheme is only available to residents of Greater London. Outside London the only statutory scheme is the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. This provides free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England. Freedom Pass holders are additionally entitled to this benefit for bus travel outside London as well as being able to use all TfL-run rail services including those outside London and all National Rail services within London. Residents of Shenfield, Amersham and Reading have no Freedom Pass entitlement to use TfL services but London Freedom Pass holders can travel to those places for free. Local authorities can fund additional travel benefit over and above the national scheme (for example free peak bus travel for certain groups) but in practice this has been steadily cut back over many years because of austerity.
Yes, apologies for my naming confusion.