Redbridge councillor quits housing cabinet role

Redbridge Council’s cabinet member in charge of housing and homelessness has announced her resignation from the role.

Cllr Farah Hussain (Lab, Valentines) is stepping down after more than five years in order to spend more time with her family following the death of her father in May.

In an announcement on Twitter last night (September 8), she told residents that housing remains her “absolute passion” and that she would continue to represent Valentines ward.

In her resignation letter, dated September 2, she wrote: “The decision to resign from the cabinet was not an easy one for me to make.”

She added that she had “thoroughly enjoyed” her role and was particularly proud of the initiatives she had led.

These include reducing the time homeless families spend in bed and breakfasts, the programme to build 600 new council homes, implementing private sector property licensing and the council’s new focus on ending rough sleeping.

Responding publicly to her announcement, council leader Jas Athwal wrote: “Your tireless work pushing forward our ambitions to house local families, support rough sleepers & serve the most vulnerable in our communities has been an inspiration.

“You will be sorely missed in cabinet meetings. Thank you for your exceptional service.”

Cllr Hussain is one of four women with positions in the Redbridge cabinet and, in her letter to Cllr Athwal, wrote she was “very aware” her departure “imbalances the gender-split in the cabinet and increases the average age”.

She wrote: “I know that you have been a champion of involving more women in local politics and you have been a great support to me during my career.

“I’m sure that we both agree that more should be done to improve the diversity of councillors.”

She suggested initiatives to encourage more women to stand for council and “introducing proper parental leave so that young women do not find themselves having to choose between having a family and their political careers”.

She plans to work with officers and members to create a memorial for those who have lost their lives to coronavirus.

Redbridge Council has not yet announced her successor.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter