Cllr Brenda Dacres, Chair of Labour Group, said "I am pleased Lewisham Council has just agreed to set up an Independent Inquiry to look at the New Bermondsey/Surrey Canal scheme. Public interest, following a series of reports in the media and the concerns expressed by the Council’s own Scrutiny Committee, will be best served if we make sure every effort is made to discover the facts.
Our priorities have been that the inquiry is independent and that all relevant matters are investigated.
Lewisham Council has been a model for good services and engaging the community. The Council's reputation has been undermined, and it is of vital concern to all Labour councillors that we restore that reputation and public confidence in the Council. We also want to reassure all our residents, as well as Millwall Football Club and its supporters, and others who were affected by the proposed CPO, that we take this matter extremely seriously.
The investigation must be full and proper and, while it is urgent, we must allow it to take its course.
We all want to get at the truth. Our tasks now are to make sure we allow the Inquiry to be set up in a genuinely independent manner, let whoever is appointed get on with job, free of any obstruction, and await the outcome. I hope all those who share our ambition will join us in so doing. We owe it to the people of Lewisham."
Cllr Brenda Dacres, Chair of Labour Group, said "I am pleased Lewisham Council has just agreed to set up an Independent Inquiry to look at the New Bermondsey/Surrey Canal scheme....
Today Lewisham Council passed its budget for 2017/2018 which saw central government grant squeezed by £11.7 million, bringing the Council’s general budget down to £232 million.
This year we have also been forced to increase council tax by 4.99% in an effort to protect - as far as possible - the services that our community relies on in particular social care and the support that we provide to our most vulnerable residents.
Council Tax is not a fair tax – it is a blunt measure that hits poor working households the hardest. Yet the Tory Government have decided that Council Tax increases by local councils can solve the national social care crisis. They could not be more wrong. Not only will Council Tax increases not cover the increased demand (even Tory Surrey Council were planning a 15% increase until they reached a special arrangement with their Tory minister colleagues), but inner city areas like Lewisham are harder hit because we have proportionately more social need and fewer higher rate council tax payers.
The cumulative impact of ten years of actual and planned Tory and Lib Dem cuts will mean that Lewisham’s budget will have been cut by 63% during the period 2010 -2020. The impact has been stark so far: Lewisham Council is now almost half the size it was in 2010, with 2,185 staff compared to 3,937 in 2010. We know only too well that despite our best attempts, most residents using Council services will have noticed that we cannot always do as much or as quickly as we did before.
In the face of the grim outlook, we want to pay tribute to our staff across the Council who are doing a remarkable job ensuring residents get the essential services and support they need. The Council is trying innovative solutions, including sharing services with other boroughs. Most recently, sharing our information technology service with Brent Council has saved over £1 million per year and has enabled our social workers to use effective mobile technology when working on the move. Also, by working with a strong local community, we are able to keep all 12 public libraries open.
And we will strive to deliver Labour priorities too. We are tackling the Tory housing crisis by building 2,000 affordable homes including the first council homes in a generation. In Place Ladywell we have delivered an innovative solution for families in temporary accommodation. We were the first Living Wage council in the country. We will continue to pay the real Living Wage, and in the last year, our business rates incentive scheme has more than trebled the number of Living Wage employers in Lewisham.
Finally, we are very proud that our Lewisham Offer for Syrian Refugees has found homes for initially 10 vulnerable refugee families from the horrific war in Syria. None of these homes has come from the Council’s social stock in order not to add pressure to the housing crisis, but have been offered from the local community as a result of the Council’s collaboration with local volunteers including Lewisham Citizens and many local faith groups and charities.
Lewisham may have lost millions in our financial resources, but our strongest resource is our people. Labour in Lewisham recognises that fact – by working together we will survive this reckless Tory Government and keep local services delivering however hard it gets.
If you want to find out more about our budget, you can do so here.
Today Lewisham Council passed its budget for 2017/2018 which saw central government grant squeezed by £11.7 million, bringing the Council’s general budget down to £232 million. This year we have...
The New Bermondsey development has the potential to bring new homes, jobs and outstanding community facilities to an area of London that desperately needs it. We have always been clear that Millwall needs to be at the heart of any development – we want the club’s future to be secure and the Millwall Community Trust must be able to continue its fantastic work in the local area.
In the last few weeks, the new Chief Executive of Millwall Football Club, Steve Kavanagh, has identified new issues concerning the Club, which the Council is currently considering. Other issues have been raised in respect of the Surrey Canal Sports Foundation (SCSF). We are taking these issues seriously. The issues about the SCSF are now to be subject to an independent inquiry. The Council is not now proceeding with any Compulsory Purchase Order on New Bermondsey. Any decision that the Council may take in the future will be a wholly new decision.
In the meantime, we want to listen to all those who have a direct interest in the future of New Bermondsey. The Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Growth & Regeneration, Cllr Alan Smith, has written on behalf of the Cabinet to Steve Kavanagh to arrange a meeting with the Cabinet and to include representatives from Millwall Community Trust. We believe it is essential that we as politicians and decision makers hear the concerns directly.
A period of calm reflection is needed. We want to speak to Millwall, the Community Trust and the others affected by the CPO to fully understand their concerns. We are calling on all parties to engage constructively with each other in an attempt to find a workable solution.
Regeneration in this area is essential. This is now an opportunity to find the best possible outcome for everyone concerned.
Lewisham Council Cabinet
The New Bermondsey development has the potential to bring new homes, jobs and outstanding community facilities to an area of London that desperately needs it. We have always been clear...
Lewisham Labour have voted to oppose the Canadian/EU trade Treaty, CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), to ensure that public services are protected against corporate interests.
Lewisham Council previously voted unanimously against TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) due to concerns around ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement). CETA contains a similar mechanism called Investment Court System, which would enable corporation to sue governments if they think their profits are hindered by regulation.
Cllr Paul Bell, the proposer of the motion, said “CETA is just a clone of TTIP and is just as anti-democratic. The fact that this deal has happened behind closed doors and that parliaments across Europe have had little input is very concerning. It is equally shocking that our own MPs will only be able to debate the deal after it has been signed by EU officials.
Investment Court System allows companies to sue governments for lost profits if they introduce laws to protect people or the environment. This could easily include laws around public health such as anti-smoking regulations or sugar reduction campaigns. Government need to be able to introduce legislation that protect citizens without fear of corporations suing them.
CETA will come before the European parliament in early February for a Yes or No vote and we have called on all our London MEPs to vote against this deal. This trade deal must not go head in its current form as government must not be hindered in protecting the public because of corporate interests.”
Lewisham Labour have voted to oppose the Canadian/EU trade Treaty, CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), to ensure that public services are protected against corporate interests. Lewisham Council previously...
Lewisham Labour councillors has passed a Lewisham Councilmotion that condemns the practice of blacklisting by companies of trade union members and requires specificmeasures to be put into the Council’s contract procedures to prevent companies involved securing Council contracts.
The motion requires Council contracting procedures to expressly state that the Council will not award contracts to companies which have not given a commitment to preventblacklisting and which have not taken appropriate steps to ensure that any past blacklisting does not reoccur.
Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resource, said, “Blacklisting is a scandalous practice against people’s essential employment rights and has serious detrimental effort on individual mental and physical health. I share the concerns highlighted by Unite the Union that it could potentially still be happening in the construction industry. This is why it isimportant that our Labour Council sends out a clear message that companies using blacklisting should not get any public contracts.”
Lewisham Labour councillors has passed a Lewisham Councilmotion that condemns the practice of blacklisting by companies of trade union members and requires specificmeasures to be put into the Council’s contract procedures to prevent companies involved securing Council contracts....
Under instruction from the Government, new health proposals across England have been drawn up called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs):
The STP for our area called “Our Healthier South East London” has now been published with the far greater detail requested by Lewisham Labour. We are worried about the severe funding cuts to the NHS which means the area faces a shortfall of nearly £1billion by 2020/21 if nothing changes.
This week the British Red Cross said the NHS faced a humanitarian crisis because the Tory government has systemically underfunded the NHS and cut over £4.6 Billion from social care in the last Parliament. To make South East London NHS STP a success it will need far more resources.
Cllr Chris Best, Cabinet member for Health, Wellbeing & Older People, said “To make the transformation into a fully integrated Health and Social Care system, changes are needed to how both in NHS and Local authorities deliver services. This is the vision set out in the STP, but Tory government needs to provide the resource to achieve this, they cannot use it just to pass on their cuts.
"It was clear that there were some concern around consultation process, especially on elective orthopaedic centres. It is encouraging that Mark Easton, Programme Director, has responded to these specific concerns by committing to redrafting the consultation document to more clearly describe a three site option, to include more information on infection rates and cancellations, and clarify the finances. I have also happy to see the wider engagement plan includes public events this year.
"For the STP to be successful, it has to be done collaboratively with residents and our partners, including the CCG and Lewisham Hospital Trust, which is why it’s vitally important that this process is done in a full transparent and inclusive way.”
Cllr Alan Hall, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny commented: “When the British Red Cross is warning of a humanitarian crisis in our health service and even the head of the NHS says there is not enough money, you have to take notice. So I do not have any faith in the government as it is projected that adult social care will be underfunded by some £242 million across the six boroughs - Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham - annually by 2020-2021.
“However, we must evaluate the plans carefully and rigorously on behalf of the people of Lewisham and the rest of south east London. It is clear a partnership approach across the whole of Greater London is the right approach. No-one will argue with that. Higher quality and more integrated social care, acute care, elective care with specialist and mental health services is a good thing. But we have to make sure that we get it!
“The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign’s detailed report shows that they believe that the flawed financial modelling could ultimately threaten the future of the A&E again so you can be sure that we will crawl all over these plans wielding a fine toothcomb!”
Under instruction from the Government, new health proposals across England have been drawn up called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs): The STP for our area called “Our Healthier South East...