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The Living Wage is defined as the amount required to live free of poverty, and under Labour Lewisham Council became the first Local Authority to be awarded “Living Wage Accredited” status. The Labour Group warmly welcomes Living Wage Week, an initiative Lewisham Labour has strived to be at the forefront of.

Lewisham Council is proud that on top of being an accredited Living Wage employer, it also encourages other employers in the Borough to commit to this standard as well. One such initiative is the Business Rate discount that was introduced last year to employers who become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. The discount is worth up to £5,000 and is available to employers who commit to paying their staff the Living Wage. As well as the generous discount, employers will also be offered free advertising in Lewisham Life – the council magazine that goes to over 100,000 households in the borough. 

These plans have supported more employers to pay the Living Wage and help tackle in-work poverty. Lewisham faces higher than average levels of in-work poverty; one in four jobs in the borough pays below the Living Wage. Across the city, there are 1.2 million Londoners who live in a working family but are still in poverty, up by 70% over the last decade. 

Vicky Foxcroft MP for Lewisham Deptford said “I was a Councillor in Lewisham when we introduced the Living Wage. It shows the difference Labour can make in local government. I’m delighted that Lewisham Council are going further and supporting local employers who do the right thing. We will only tackle poverty through making work pay.” 

Sarah Vero, Director of Living Wage Foundation said: “we are thrilled to see this leadership from the London Borough of Lewisham. Lewisham was one of the first Local Authorities to take up the Living Wage accreditation and are now extending this commitment to encouraging local employers to go Living Wage. There are now over 2,000 Living Wage accredited employers showing that the Living Wage is good for people and for business.”

Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources said “the massive cuts in public funding by the Tory government – including nearly half of Lewisham Council's budget since 2010 – has caused a huge strain on public services to our local businesses and residents. We hope that this cost-effective offer from the Council will help our businesses do the right thing for people working in our Borough."

For more information on becoming a Lewisham Living Wage employer please click here

And for more information on Living Wage Week and the Foundation please click here

Living Wage Week: Lewisham Labour's Contribution

A group of local Labour Councillors and poverty experts have been considering how poverty can be tackled in the borough. The group is called the Lewisham Poverty Commission.

Members

The Commission combines expertise about poverty with expertise about the local area. Its members are:

  • Councillor Joe Dromey, Cabinet Member for Policy and Performance, Lewisham Council, and Chair of the Lewisham Poverty Commission
  • Alice Woudhuysen, London Campaign Manager, Child Poverty Action Group
  • Bharat Mehta, Chief Executive, Trust for London
  • Bill Davies, Head of Policy, Central London Forward
  • Councillor Brenda Dacres, Lewisham Council
  • Claire Mansfield, Head of Research, New Local Government Network
  • Councillor Colin Elliott, Lewisham Council
  • Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Policy and Research Manager, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Gloria Wyse, Co-Chair, Lewisham Citizens
  • Councillor James-J Walsh, Lewisham Council
  • Councillor Joyce Jacca, Lewisham Council
  • Councillor Joan Millbank, Cabinet Member for the Third Sector and Community, Lewisham Council
  • Simon Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Goldsmiths, University of London.

What the Lewisham Poverty Commission does

The Commission’s objectives were to:

  • bring together local stakeholders and national experts
  • critically examine the challenge of poverty in Lewisham
  • look for innovative ways to make a real difference to the lives of people affected by poverty
  • seek the views and experience of local residents
  • examine what we (the Council and our partners) are currently doing to tackle poverty
  • identify best practice from other councils.

Aims of the Lewisham Poverty Commission

The Commission’s aims are to:

  • recommend ways to alleviate poverty
  • reduce the negative effects of poverty
  • help communities be more resilient against poverty.

What Lewisham Council has done so far

In 2012 we became the joint-first Living Wage accredited council in the country and the Commission’s new report shows that we continue to lead the way on tackling poverty. We recently introduced a business rate incentive to promote the London Living Wage, with the number of accredited employers rising by 560% in the last 18 months.

Councillor Joe Dromey, Cabinet Member for Policy and Performance, and Chair of the Lewisham Poverty Commission said,

“Lewisham is a great place to live. But despite being situated in the heart of London, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, tens of thousands of our residents live in poverty.

Lewisham has a proud record of tackling poverty, but there is much more we can do. Despite the Government's decision to cut two thirds of our funding, we are determined to make a big difference locally.”

The Commission’s new report includes 52 recommendations to:

  • enable local people to access decent work
  • reduce child poverty
  • tackle the housing crisis.

Tackling poverty in Lewisham

The proposals include the creation of a 'Lewisham Deal', which would:

  • provide more apprenticeships
  • promote the real Living Wage
  • create more opportunities for local businesses to trade.

The Lewisham Deal would be delivered by a partnership of public sector employers including housing, health and education.

The full report can be downloaded here

Lewisham Poverty Commission

​ A group of local Labour Councillors and poverty experts have been considering how poverty can be tackled in the borough. The group is called the Lewisham Poverty Commission. Members...

October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom - a time to look back and celebrate the huge contributions people of African and African Caribbean heritage have made to our rich and diverse Borough and beyond.

We cannot celebrate Black History Month without acknowledging the contribution of some key individuals and the hundreds of unsung heroes in our communities. The abolitionist Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) lived in Blackheath. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Freeman of the Borough, was one of our more notable residents in Grove Park in the 1970’s. Former Civic Mayor and Freeman of the Borough Mrs Sybil Phoenix OBE, The late former Civic Mayor, Chair of Council and Freeman of the Borough Les Eytle and present Chair of Council Obajimi Adefiranye have contributed much to Civic life in Lewisham. Likewise, the late Asquith Gibbes MBE, the first Principal Race Equality Officer in the Borough who chaired Lewisham Community Police Consultative Group for 18 years. Asquith worked closely with the late Andy Hawkins former Civic Mayor, Council Leader and Freeman of the Borough, to progress good race relations in Lewisham.

​The Labour Party has a proud history of promoting representation of our diverse communities in both local government and in Parliament. In 1987 Diane Abbott, the late Bernie Grant, Keith Vaz and Lord Paul Boateng were elected as MPs for the Labour Party, representing an historic leap forward. Lord Boateng later became the first black Cabinet Minister in history when he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health in 2001, Labour’s Baroness Amos became the first black woman to be a Cabinet Minister when she was appointed as International Development Secretary, in 2007 she became the first ethnic minority person to lead the House of Lords.

Labour has a proud history locally too. In 1957 the Labour MP for Deptford Sir Leslie Plummer introduced the Racial Discrimination bill to Parliament, the bill aimed to make discrimination on racial ground illegal. Leslie Plummer said in a debate in the House of Common on May 10th 1957 “Surely our responsibility… is to take the necessary steps to see that that injustice ceases, and ceases immediately.” And this belief is still as strong in the Lewisham Labour Party as it was in 1957. More recently, Dame Joan Ruddock, the ex-Deptford MP worked tirelessly with the New Cross Fire parents and families in their quest for justice.

There has been much progress towards equality in recent decades. Cllr Joyce Jacca (pictured above) states however, “There is much more to do. Labour has in the past been at the forefront of pushing for equality and diversity, for representation across all communities, and in tackling discrimination. But there is much more that we can do - to celebrate not just the historic achievements of the Black community - but the current achievements as well as embracing the future ones”.

Lewisham Labour will continue to champion fairness and equalities. If you care about this too, get involved and join us.

Lewisham has a great series of events on for Black History Month including children’s craft days, special film showings, quizzes, book readings and talks. 

Click HERE to see Lewisham's full list of events

 

Lewisham Labour Celebrates Black History Month

October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom - a time to look back and celebrate the huge contributions people of African and African Caribbean heritage have made to...

 

At the Full Council meeting last night Councillor Chris Best made a brief announcement declaring Lewisham Council's bid to be award the new Mayor's accolade of "Borough of Culture 2018".

For more information please click here

 

 

 

Lewisham Labour Group announces "Borough of Culture" bid

  At the Full Council meeting last night Councillor Chris Best made a brief announcement declaring Lewisham Council's bid to be award the new Mayor's accolade of "Borough of Culture...

 

 

Lewisham Labour Councillors have passed a Lewisham Council motion that calls for an immediate end to the public sector pay cap. The motion highlights the fact that in terms of inflation and other economic factors real terms wages have fallen over 21% since 2010 and things will only get worse. This is without even taking into account the drastic austerity based ideological cuts which are already having significant impact on these already stretched public services.

Lewisham Labour backs the claims from the NJC and supported by a multitude of Public Sector Unions including: Unison, GMB and Unite.

Councillor Paul Bell who spoke in favour of the motion said:

“Our staff are our greatest asset. Paying a fair wage for their tremendous hard work and dedication is not simply a good thing to do, it is the morally right thing to do.”

 

The full text of the motion can be found here

Lewisham Labour Group calls on Government to Scrap the Cap

    Lewisham Labour Councillors have passed a Lewisham Council motion that calls for an immediate end to the public sector pay cap. The motion highlights the fact that in terms of inflation and...

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