Meet the candidates for Hackney Mayor: Samir Jeraj, Green Party

Samir Jeraj.

Samir Jeraj.

The Greens’ Samir Jeraj is pledging “early action” on divestment of fossil fuels.

He also proposes adopting a “participatory budget”, which he says would give Hackney residents a direct say over how taxes are spent.

Mr Jeraj said: “This will transfer real power to Hackney citizens, giving them the power to really decide how to improve their communities together with the council.”

He has attacked Labour on housing, saying: “With a lot of the new developments in Hackney, they’ve been completed with fairly little, and sometimes no, social housing or affordable housing.”

More community land trusts and housing co-ops would “enable people other than large developers to build in the borough,” he told the Hackney Citizen, adding: “It’s a challenge, but it’s something we have to do better on or Hackney risks becoming a place where only rich people can live.”

He also wants a system of licensing for landlords and says he would step up enforcement to “raise standards for renters who are often in very insecure and poor housing”.

He proposes moving to a pay ratio at the Town Hall that would mean the highest paid person would not be paid more than 10 times what the lowest paid person receives.

And he hopes to restore hours for cleaning and catering staff in schools –an issue he said Unite had raised.

He is not a fan of the mayoral system and would seek to have a local referendum on this at the same time as the next council election – something that could potentially lead to the post of Mayor of Hackney being scrapped and replaced with a committee system.

He said: “I think it’s a good thing to go back to the people and say here’s the arrangements we’ve been working with. Do you think they’ve worked? Do you think they haven’t?… Having an informed discussion about what people feel is the right way forward would be the way to go.”

Mr Jeraj was a Green Party councillor in Norwich from 2008 to 2012 and is currently a Policy and Practice Officer at the Race Equality Foundation.