Word on the Street in the Hammersmith and Chiswick Constituency

Tax and the NHS key concerns for residents

Clockwise from top left: David Welter, James Michael, Shruthi Bose, Pete Mayes, the constituency in a map of London, Arthur Gerth

June 22, 2024

Despite being one of the capital’s newly-formed parliamentary seats, the new Hammersmith and Chiswick constituency is not expected to cause Labour too many headaches come 4 July. Forged from the merging of Hammersmith, which has been held by Labour MP Andy Slaughter since 2010, and part of the Brentford and Isleworth constituency, current YouGov polling indicates that if an election were held now, Sir Keir Starmer’s party would beat the second-placed Tories by more than 40 per cent.

The seat itself cuts across two Labour-run councils, Hammersmith and Fulham and Hounslow, reaching from Shepherd’s Bush in its east to Gunnersbury Park in the west. Speaking to a number of residents across the constituency last week, issues such as tax and the NHS were flagged as key concerns any incoming Government would need to address.

Under the boundary changes implemented for this year’s election, the wards Chiswick Gunnersbury, Chiswick Homefields and Chiswick Riverside, all in Hounslow borough, are being added to the former Hammersmith seat. Shruthi Bose, 40, who lives in the Chiswick area, told the LDRS her main priority coming into the election will be tax.

“Because obviously Rishi Sunak has been claiming he’s going to cut tax whereas the opposition is going to increase tax by 20 per cent, so I think tax is one of my major areas of concern and also what will be the outcome will be really interesting.”

She added that while she likely knows who she will vote for, her main concern is whether the party, which she did not wish to disclose, will live up to its promises. “Everyone wants to make a claim saying we will do this, we will do that, but how much do we really believe in them, and what will be the outcome?”

Sitting outside a café along Chiswick High Street, Pete Mayes, 63, expressed frustration at the state of the country, and politics, in recent years. Among his concerns were the levels of immigration, and health. “The NHS, that’s completely broken, whatever they do with it nothing’s going to change. That needs to be knocked down and started again but nobody has the guts to do that, other than Nigel Farage maybe.”

He added, “Everything else, with tax and what have you, I don’t care who gets in. I’ll go with the flow with that and deal with it, because it isn’t going to change my life much.”

Lamenting how ‘nothing’s really worked’ over the last 14 years of Tory Government, Mr Mayes said he is considering voting Reform this time around. Asked about his local candidates, he said, “No-one’s knocked on my door. I know the names of the heads of the London Borough of Hounslow and the London Borough of Ealing, but I don’t know who’s running round here to be honest.”

Jawid Safi, 37, who works along Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) crime is the ‘first thing’ he wants to see tackled. “So [much] theft and crime and stabbing, robbing,” he said. Next on his list is support for local businesses. “They have to improve firstly on business, as it’s been affected since corona[virus] time,” he said. “And they have to work with the businesses and the economy.”

Natasha Kugonza, 48, also mentioned people’s personal safety, as well as additional support to cope with the cost of living. She said necessities such as electricity, water, food and council tax were all being hiked, leaving her struggling financially.

Asked whether she has much faith in whichever Government comes in, she said, “We hope for the best but they always promise. Things don’t change.”

James Michael, 61, who lives in the White City estate, was more optimistic. He said he has faith in the Labour leader, Sir Keir, if he is to take power. “I think everything they’re gonna do better,” he said. “100 per cent they’re going to do better. For good change, this is for good change. I don’t think it’s gonna be worse than now, it’s gonna be better. When the Labour Party come [in], I think so. And a lot of people [are] thinking like that, even outside London they’re thinking about that.”

In Hammersmith, David Welter, 83, was similarly definite in his preference, telling the LDRS he is more confident in Labour now than he was in 2019. Arthur Gerth, 46, from Brazil, said while he is unable to vote this year, he hopes any incoming Government will protect LGBT rights and the arts. “I think the most important thing is defending the rights [of the] LGBT community, always fighting for arts, culture, keeping those important things for all. I think it’s essential for the environment,” he said.

Full list of Hammersmith and Chiswick candidates

Bill Colegrave – Rejoin EU

Andrew Dinsmore – Conservatives

Scott Dore – Workers Revolutionary Party

Raj Gill – Workers Party

Louise Petano-Heathcote – Reform

Eraj Rostaqi – Liberal Democrats

Naranee Ruthra-Rajan – Green Party

Andy Slaughter – Labour Party

Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter