City Hall election: “We all suffer with housing problems”

Liberal Democrat candidate Scott Emery talks to Barnet Post about the key issues that matter to him

Headshot of Liberal Democrat candidate for Barnet and Camden, Scott Emery
Liberal Democrat candidate for Barnet and Camden, Scott Emery

Getting elected as a Liberal Democrat in the Barnet and Camden London Assembly constituency seems like a tough challenge, with the party coming fourth in 2021 with just 8% of the vote.

The party’s candidate this time round, Scott Emery, is a councillor in neighbouring Haringey where he is the group’s environment spokesman. 

Asked why he’s running for the assembly, he tells Barnet Post: I look at the London Assembly and I see a lot of good work that’s been done by Liberal Democrats in the past.”

Referring to current Lib Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who is stepping down at the upcoming election, he says: “I can see the great work that she does for residents – she’s a great link between people in the area and what goes on in City Hall.”

In terms of his overall motivation he says: “It’s a really important role and having that representation for Liberal ideas is important. I wanted to stand up and do it after six years of being a councillor.”

When Barnet Post asks about the key issues he’s focused on as part of his campaign, Emery immediately refers to housing. He says: “That’s a really key one for me, and everyone I speak to in my age group. We all suffer with housing problems – whether that’s the high cost of rents or trying to get a deposit down for a first time place and just the high cost of living in London at the moment.”

However, when asked about important local issues, he’s equally quick to reference The Broadwalk Centre redevelopment in Edgware: “There’s the massive development that’s going on in Edgware. That’s obviously a key issue for a lot of voters in the area.”

Emery believes there’s an opportunity for a rethink: “That site is right for development. The problem is that there’s just so many issues [with the plans] at the moment. 

“I think they need to go back to the design stage and look at it again: take on board the residents’ comments and try to come up with a better plan that’s better for the community.”

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Other key issues include policing and crime, where Emery is not impressed by Met’s current record. He says: “I think crime is the big issue facing London at the moment. The way police respond to certain kinds of issues is getting worse and worse. 

“People not being responded to for burglaries; people waiting two hours for a 999 call; rape and sexual assault offences hardly ever being cleared up these days.”

On another big City Hall focus area, transport, Emery highlights a particular local issue saying:

“One of the big things we’re campaigning on at the moment in terms of Liberal Democrats in Barnet is the 251 bus, which runs from Edgware to Arnos Grove. 

“That’s something we’d like to see improvements on. At the moment it’s just not fit for purpose.”

Emery also cites his experience of environmental issues as a Haringey councillor: “I’ve been the environmental spokesperson for my council group for the last six years, working on a lot of big stuff.”

“One of my big things I’ve been doing is leading a big charge against the Edmonton incinerator, something Barnet is also involved with. I’d like to continue that campaign.”

On an environmental policy that has attracted a lot of focus from both supporters and opponents in Barnet, he finds a middle ground position: “[ULEZ is] generally a positive thing but it’s been quite poorly handled by Labour in London.”

“The Lib Dems in London were pushing hard on an increase in the scrappage scheme.”

Scott Emery is one of six candidates for the Barnet and Camden constituency along with current assembly member Anne Clarke for Labour, Reform UK’s Raj Forhad, Conservative Julie Redmond, Green Kate Tokley and Socialist (GB) Bill Martin. 

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