Council leader Sarah Hayward: ‘Having to lend mum money at the age of 12 was defining’

Cllr Sarah Hayward

Cllr Sarah Hayward - Credit: Archant

Camden Council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward traces her socialist roots to the late 1980s when as a 12-year-old she recalls having to supplement her single mother’s income with earnings from a Saturday job.

“Through no fault of her own, my mum found herself bringing up three children and working in low paid jobs and couldn’t make ends meet,” she says.

“Someone whose going out to work shouldn’t have to borrow money from their children.”

Growing up in Oxfordshire among a “reading family”, the 39-year-old did well at school and went on to gain a law and politics degree from the University of Hull, the city of her birth.

Upon graduating, she moved to London with friends and found herself on the managerial trainee scheme for supermarket Sainsbury’s which she endured for two years before moving to a publishing company.

By the age of 25, Cllr Hayward was working at the Ministry of Defence, a role she left in 2003 in protest at the Iraq War. She then joined the Home Office where she met her husband.

The couple, who live in Kentish Town, took a career break for most of 2005 – exploring the Trans-Siberian Railway – and on her return Cllr Hayward began working in a freelance role for London Labour and groups such as the Fawcett Society.

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By 2010, she was a Camden councillor and had risen to leader in 2012, a role in which she has had to deal with government funding cuts totalling £163million.

Two years down the line, the impending departure of Frank Dobson as Holborn and St Pancras MP at next year’s general election has presented an opening too appealing for Cllr Hayward to resist.

“I will have unfinished business as council leader if I get selected, however the challenges we face here need national solutions,” she says. “The council does not have the power or the budget to be able to solve the problems.”

Cllr Hayward has no doubt she is the one to solve these problems as Holborn and St Pancras MP, adding: “I think I’ve got the right blend of local, regional and national experience to be able to hit the ground running as a member of parliament.”

She will find out if Holborn and St Pancras Labour members agree at a final hustings on Saturday.