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Opinion & Analysis

Tackling inequality for a stable society

By Jackie Anderson, Together Gibraltar
There are certain essentials in life: enough food, health, clean air, a secure home and a good education. When any of those is missing or threatened, our well-being is put at risk.

Gibraltar is an outwardly affluent society yet increasingly unequal society.

Too many of us cannot afford a home where we can raise our families in safety and security. Too many youngsters leave school without the practical skills to take up a career. Too many young adults return from university to find they cannot afford a home to live independent lives.

None of this makes for a society that is stable enough to rise to the challenges of climate change, or Brexit.

I found myself compelled to do something practical to tackle these issues. So, I decided to stand up for election to government with Together Gibraltar to offer up my passion, my expertise and every bit of energy I have to bring solutions to these problems. I am especially honoured to hold the portfolios for housing and education.

I have worked in housing services since 1989, in local government in UK during the early part of my career, and later in private sector housing, including several years in Gibraltar.

In those years I worked in a range of specialisms from assessing applicants on waiting lists to being fully responsible for the management and maintenance of numerous housing estates. I have worked in joint ventures with government/private landlords to release dilapidated homes into the rental sector, in development projects and with politicians to develop detailed housing strategies.

My passion for housing is matched by my commitment to education - not just for school and university education, but for lifelong learning. I took a career break from housing and retrained as an early years education provider.

I ran day nurseries and out of school children’s centres and worked closely with local schools, and went on to deliver apprenticeships to young adults working in early years and playwork. As a businesswoman, I know how important it is to be able to recruit employees with the right skills to generate new wealth. As a parent, I know how vital good teachers are to the lives of young people.

Our plan for housing will release empty government properties back into the rental sector and manage our housing stock efficiently and effectively. We will target building projects to provide low-cost homes for the most vulnerable in our community.

We will work closely with private sector landlords to release pre-war properties to the rental sector in a sensitive and financially viable way. We will create a better balance in the housing market so that decent housing is not reserved for the elite but is available to all.

Our plan for education will provide our talented teaching teams with the right support to be able to run their lessons and their classrooms effectively.

We will support them with a coherent and resourced strategy for helping children with special educational needs tap into their personal potential. We will develop nurseries and out of school clubs to support working families.

We will work with employers as well as educators to better target and deliver vocational education and develop apprenticeships to support the needs of our economy. And we will make learning opportunities available to people of all ages, young and old, because learning is for life.

These might be my first steps in politics in Gibraltar, but they are steps taken with the confidence of over three decades of knowledge and experience, from the ground up.