Gillian Harris is Secretary of Havant Labour Party and your candidate for the Borough Council election in St Faiths on 4 May 2023.
“I grew up in Waterlooville and Rowlands Castle, going to school in Cowplain and Purbrook. I moved away to university in Aberystwyth and it was 40 years before I came back!
I am currently Head of Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service in London. I have always worked in the public sector and so have a good knowledge of the workings of local government.
I moved back to the St Faiths area as the first step towards retirement. With family here, I always remained familiar with the area and have also learnt more about the issues that face residents through working with Phil Munday for the past two years.
Social justice and environmental issues are close to my heart. There is a huge need to improve recycling in the Borough – with kerbside collection of glass and more types of plastic being acceptable in our recycling bins. Sewage being dumped in Langstone Harbour, trees with preservation orders being pruned so much that they can’t survive, and the replacement of fallen trees, all need addressing. To get people out of their cars, public transport must be far cheaper and more accessible than it is now.
However, with the current energy and cost-of-living crisis, the overwhelming need is to support residents and tenants through what is going to be a very difficult winter. Havant Borough Council needs immediately to increase its support for food banks, to create warm places and to increase its provision of affordable housing (and I mean affordable, not just “reduced rent”) for individuals and families who find themselves in difficulty.
In the longer term, we also need to look for local ways in which we can generate renewable energy – solar panels, wind turbines and tidal power schemes – to contribute to the national grid.
And finally, with currently 35 conservative councillors out of 38, and a council that has fallen into secretive ways, we need a larger opposition to press for more open and accountable local government, better communication with residents and effective scrutiny of decisions.”