Waltham Forest Council’s leader has promised “the hard work begins now” as she set out her priorities for the next four years.

Speaking at the council’s first post-election meeting on May 25, Grace Williams promised a “fairer future” for residents and to tackle the challenges created by “government failure”.

Her priorities include building 1,000 new council homes in the next four years, creating cultural destinations and making the borough “the best place to grow up”.

To help those struggling with the cost of living, residents receiving partial council tax support will be eligible for a £75 reduction this summer.

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In the longer term, Cllr Williams announced four new youth hubs and the commissioning of a children and families centre that will focus on supporting the most disadvantaged young families.

Another of her “top priorities” will be building the 15-minute neighbourhood model to ensure everyone has a “healthy and fulfilling life” in their local area.

She said: “As we say here ‘fortune favours the brave’, so I say to the Government: get out of the way, give us the power and resources we need and let us get on with building a fairer future for Waltham Forest.”

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Cllr Williams began her leader’s speech by praising life under a New Labour government, compared to her experiences of racism and child poverty in 1980s “Tory Britain”.

She added: “We have a government that is once again failing a generation; my children are destined to have the same memories of growing up under the Tories.”

This sparked a heated exchange with new Conservative group leader Emma Best later in the meeting, who congratulated the new leader but accused Labour of standing for “hypocrisy”.

She described seeing someone being “stabbed through the neck” and council estates residents “trapped unwillingly on the drip-tap of the state” under New Labour.

To applause, Cllr Williams urged the opposition leader to look at “the evidence” of child poverty and criticised a “complete lack of ambition” from the Conservative Party, which she said exists in “a complete parallel universe”.