Seventy years ago, Attlee’s Labour Government created the NHS. Since then, no citizen of the UK has had to worry about not being able to afford the treatment that they need. To this day, it remains our greatest achievement. It stands as a demonstration of our solidarity, and as the embodiment of our shared values; that we are stronger when we stand together, and that as a society we have a duty to care for all.
But under the Tories, our NHS is on life support. Demand for NHS services is growing rapidly from our ageing population, and chronic underfunding of adult social care is adding to the pressure. Yet at the same time, the NHS has experienced the longest funding squeeze since it was created. As a result, we’ve seen the most acute winter crisis in a generation, and the worst A&E waiting times since records began.
Despite the hard work and dedication of local NHS staff, the pressure on our NHS is starting to show. Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust has not met its waiting times target in nearly three years. In the first three months of this year, nearly 12,000 patients waited over four hours at A&E in Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.
Lewisham Labour has a proud record of standing up for our NHS. Not long after I first became a Councillor, the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition Government tried to downgrade our A&E. Labour-led Lewisham Council worked with the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign to fight back. I have never been prouder of our community than the day we marched to save our hospital. Tens of thousands of people – Labour members and community activists, nurses and doctors, and residents from across the borough – stood together. We took Jeremy Hunt to the High Court – and we won – saving our hospital.
In recent months we have been working with over 500 local members to develop a radical manifesto to transform Lewisham for the many. We have set out a bold plan to tackle the Tory NHS and social care crisis. Over the next four years we will:
- Fight to protect our NHS by opposing any further attempt to close or downgrade Lewisham Hospital. We will opposing US-style privatisation and campaign to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill.
- Improve social care by introducing a new publicly-owned community based care service to provide dignified and compassionate care services that put people before profits.
- Ensure decent treatment for care workers by signing up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter.
- Campaign for fair funding for our NHS, for social care, and for mental health services.
- Support health lifestyles by protecting free gyms and swims for the over 60s and encouraging all schools to take up the Daily Mile.
But we need your help in getting the message out there. So please share this blog on social media, and please join us at one of our upcoming campaigning sessions.
At this election, we get the opportunity to send a clear message to this Tory Government. That we value our NHS and that their austerity has failed. We must say that enough is enough – we need to see investment in our NHS and social care.
Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham
Seventy years ago, Attlee’s Labour Government created the NHS. Since then, no citizen of the UK has had to worry about not being able to afford the treatment that...
Lewisham Labour – Fighting Tory school cuts and giving children the best start in life
Lewisham's young people are our future and they are hugely talented. Every child in our borough deserves the best possible start in life. That means support in the early years, it means a fantastic education which stretches and inspires, and it means support to maintain good health, mental health and wellbeing.
But the Tory government’s failed austerity programme is hitting our young people hard.
Lewisham’s primary schools are among the best in the country, and our secondary schools are improving. But over the coming years, they are set to face savage cuts in funding from the Tory Government.
Under the Government’s plans, funding for Lewisham’s schools will have been cut by £8.8 million by 2019/20 compared to 2015/16. This represents a cut of £257 per pupil, and it is equivalent to the cost of over 250 teachers. You can find out how much your local school will be cut by here.
So today, we’re launching Lewisham Labour’s campaign to stop the Tory school cuts. You can help by signing our petition, by signing up to leaflet parents at a school near you on Friday morning, and sharing our posts on Twitter and Facebook.
In addition to fighting the Tory school cuts, we are today setting out our pledges for children and young people from our upcoming manifesto. Over the next four years:
- We will protect our Sure Start Centres, ensuring every child has access to high quality early years education, and supporting every family to access their entitlement to free childcare
- We will continue to support our primary and secondary schools to improve, ensuring that every school is rated good or outstanding by 2022.
- We will work with teachers and unions to create a Lewisham Fair Workload Charter so that we can attract and retain the best teachers, and we will recruit more school governors, who better reflect the diversity of our borough, to support the improvement of our schools.
- We will support the Lewisham family of schools, opposing all forms of selection and we will provide the knowledge and support to parents, teachers and governors who are fighting academisation in their schools.
- We will support children with special educational needs, by improving the assessment process and increasing provision within Lewisham to meet a wider range of learning difficulties that children experience.
- We will work with parents and schools to reduce exclusions as they impact disproportionately on black pupils. We will review the strategies in place to narrow the achievement gaps that affect minority communities and poorer pupils.
- We will promote more high-quality mentoring by working with community and voluntary groups, and businesses to help our young people increase their resilience and open access up to employment opportunities.
- We will promote the ArtsMark scheme which requires schools to offer music, art, drama and dance, as we believe every child should have access to the arts.
We’ve been developing our manifesto with hundreds of Lewisham Labour members. It will be a radical and socialist manifesto – a manifesto to transform Lewisham for the many, not the few. We will be launching the manifesto on 8th April. You can sign up here.
Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham
Lewisham Labour – Fighting Tory school cuts and giving children the best start in life Lewisham's young people are our future and they are hugely talented. Every child in...
Damien Egan and Lewisham Labour activists outside Place Ladywell
There is no greater challenge facing our community than the housing crisis. It will be the biggest single issue at the local elections on May 3rd.
Housing is a human right. Everyone and every family deserves a decent home – a home that is secure and affordable – a home where they can put down roots.
But in Lewisham today, thousands of residents are suffering from the Tory housing crisis. A generation is facing rocketing rents and insecurity in the private rented sector. For many young people in Lewisham, the thought of buying a home in the community where they are growing up is an increasingly distant dream. When the Tories talk of ‘affordable’ housing, we know that it is not affordable for too many people. And under the Tories, homelessness has rocketed and – in one of the wealthiest cities in the world – rough sleeping has trebled.
We don’t have to live like this. Tackling the housing crisis means taking bold decisions, and staying true to our values. It means taking on greedy developers and rogue landlords.
Lewisham Labour has a strong record on housing. I’m proud that we’ve just approved our 500th council home, and we’ve renovated thousands of council homes across Lewisham. We’ve introduced a targeted landlord licensing scheme. We’ve brought over 100 homes back into council ownership, and our innovative Place Ladywell scheme is providing high-quality accommodation for homeless families.
But we need to do much more. We have over 10,000 households on the council waiting list and 2,000 homeless households.
I know what this means from personal experience. When I was 14, my mum, my sister and I were made homeless. Council housing was our lifeline. That experience – and seeing how so many families are suffering in Lewisham – is what drives me. So we need to do much more to tackle the Tory housing crisis.
Over the last three months, I’ve been working with our 54 Councillor candidates, with hundreds of local Labour Party members, and with community groups to develop a radical manifesto to transform Lewisham for the many, not the few.
I’m really proud to announce our pledges to tackle the housing crisis:
- We will build the homes we need; delivering 1,000 new social homes in the biggest social housing programme seen in Lewisham decades. We will build a new generation of council-owned homes for private rents providing long-term tenancies, up to 10 years, with rent controls, and we will build four more innovative pop-up housing schemes like PLACE Ladywell to house homeless families.
- We will crack down on rogue landlords who exploit tenants in the private rented sector by launching a new Private Renters Union to help people enforce their rights and seeking to deliver a borough-wide landlord licencing scheme.
- We will stand up to private developers, by publishing viability statements to ensure transparency, pushing to achieve at least 50% genuinely affordable homes on private developments, and not selling private land unless it is in the best interests of the borough.
- We will introduce ballots on any estate regeneration scheme that includes replacing existing homes and back this up with a Residents Charter that guarantees all residents the right to a new home on their estate, and which guarantees an increase in genuinely affordable housing.
We need you to help get the word out there. So please share this on social media. We’ll be out campaigning across Lewisham this weekend, talking to residents about our radical plan to tackle the housing crisis. Find your local session and sign up here.
Finally, if you want to join us for the launch of our full manifesto on 8th April, sign up here.
Lewisham Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham
Damien Egan and Lewisham Labour activists outside Place Ladywell There is no greater challenge facing our community than the housing crisis. It will be the biggest single issue at...
This morning I, alongside fellow Lewisham Labour members, councillors and candidates joined the workers and students of Goldsmiths University on the picket line in Deptford. We wanted to show our solidarity with their struggle and support their campaign.
The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) are striking over damaging changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). These changes would effectively destroy the pension scheme; they would abolish the guaranteed pension benefits, leaving university workers up to £10,000 a year worse off in retirement. The strike is now in its third week, and it is affecting 65 campuses across the country – including Goldsmiths University.
Beyond the dispute over pensions, there are growing concerns about how our higher education system is run – and who it is run for. Following the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition tripling tuition fees, students now leave university with an average debt of over £50,000, and – perversely – it’s the poorest students who are paying the most. Yet at the same time, we’ve seen growing insecurity for university staff and pay packets for Vice Chancellors at the top accelerating away. It’s just one example of how the Tories have rigged the system in the interests of the few.
Education is a human right. That’s why a Labour Government would scrap tuition fees, reintroduce maintenance grants, and transform the vocational system for those who choose not to go to university. We have a bold vision for a National Education Service, which would provide high quality education for all, free at the point of use. As part of the radical manifesto we are developing here in Lewisham along with our Labour members, we are looking at how we can improve education for our community – from access to apprenticeships and university to lifelong learning.
So I was proud to join the workers and the students on the picket line this morning to show our solidarity. Donations are being accepted to the UCU strike fund – if you are able to do so, please donate here. And you can share our message on social media.
Labour is much more than a political party – we are a movement. We were created by the trade unions and other socialists to represent working people in parliament, and to ensure that our country is run for the many, not the few. The ongoing link between our party and the labour movement is a source of strength and it’s one we must build on in the future.
Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham
This morning I, alongside fellow Lewisham Labour members, councillors and candidates joined the workers and students of Goldsmiths University on the picket line in Deptford. We wanted to show...
This evening, Lewisham Council will set the budget for next year. In the face of savage Tory cuts we are being forced to increase Council Tax. We don’t do this lightly, but we believe that it is the right thing to do to protect vital public services from Tory cuts.
Years of Tory austerity have hit Lewisham Council and Lewisham’s community hard. Since 2010, the Tory Government – with the support of the Lib Dems – has cut its funding for Lewisham Council by over half. And they are planning yet deeper cuts in the coming years – by 2020, Government funding will have been cut by 63%. Yet at the same time, demand for Council services in Lewisham has been increasing, driven by a growing and ageing population.
With demand rising and savage cuts to our funding, the Council has been hit hard. Next year, the Council budget will be £233 million. Had our funding risen in line with demand since 2010, our budget would have been £423 million. With the Council being forced to find nearly £200 million of savings, we have seen the number of employees fall by almost half – from 4,000 in 2010 to around 2,000 today.
Over the years, Lewisham Council has sought to keep Council Tax as low as possible in order to protect residents suffering from the squeeze on living standards. But as a result of these huge cuts in our funding, the Council has been forced to increase Council Tax this year in order to protect public services as much as possible. Next year, Council Tax will increase by 3.99% in Lewisham. This will represent a rise of just 89p a week for a Band D property. But this will generate nearly £4 million of funding to mitigate the impact of the huge Tory cuts.
Even in these tough times, Lewisham Council is still able to make a real difference:
- This year we will exempt care leavers aged under 25 from Council Tax altogether.
- We are proud that Lewisham was the first Living Wage Council in the country, and we will continue to pay the Living Wage and promote fair pay across the borough.
- We will continue to build the council and affordable homes that we need across the borough to tackle the Tory housing crisis.
Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources, said;
“Lewisham has been especially hard hit by Tory government cuts. Despite this, our priority as a Labour Council will always be to protect our most vulnerable residents as much as we can. Our help this year to care-leavers through council tax relief builds on our work to ensure we are a London Living Wage Council and that we are building more homes for our homeless families.
“The Tory Government’s failed austerity agenda – inflicted on us with the support of the Lib Dems - have hit Lewisham Council hard. Our public services, including from this Council which is now half the size it was in 2010, cannot take much more of these brutal cuts. We need to send a message to the Tories in our next election on 3 May that they must end the cuts and help restore public services for the many.”
This evening, Lewisham Council will set the budget for next year. In the face of savage Tory cuts we are being forced to increase Council Tax. We don’t do this...
Lewisham Labour Councillors Damien Egan and Chris Best
Damien Egan – Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham – has today committed to making Lewisham an Ethical Care Council.Lewisham Council provides adult social care for thousands of our most vulnerable residents. Since 2010, adult social care across the country has faced increasing pressure as a result of savage Tory cuts to Council funding and growing demand from an ageing population.
Care workers do some of the most important work in the country; looking after the elderly and those with disabilities. But employment standards in the sector are often poor and too often care workers do not receive the respect that they deserve.
Many care workers across the UK have to work just 15 minute visits which leave them unable to provide the care that is needed, and many are not paid for their travel time between visits. Many are forced to work on zero-hours contracts, and many receive just the minimum wage. These poor practices are bad for care workers and bad for those receiving care too.
Despite the savage cuts, Lewisham Labour is committed both to protecting the most vulnerable and to ensuring staff are treated with the respect that they deserve. Lewisham was the first Council in the country to become a Living Wage employer and we are now committing to becoming an Ethical Care Council too.
The UNISON Ethical Care Charter is designed to ensure both decent care for vulnerable adults, and good employment standards for care workers. There are nearly 3,000 adults receiving support from over 600 care workers in Lewisham. By signing up, Lewisham Council is committing to these high standards, including:
- Paying at least the London Living Wage to all care workers.
- Scheduling care visits according to the needs of the individual, with care workers given enough time to provide the care needed.
- Paying care workers for travel time and reimbursing travel costs
- Giving care workers the right to a fixed hours contract.
- Providing homecare workers with regular training, and the opportunity regularly to meet co-workers to share best practice and combat isolation.
- Ensuring providers have clear and accountable procedures for care workers to raise concerns about the wellbeing of the people they are caring for.
Damien Egan – Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham said;
“Savage Tory austerity has hit Lewisham Council hard – putting pressure on all our services, including adult social care.
“Despite the impact of Tory cuts, Labour are committed to protecting our must vulnerable residents, and we are committed to maintaining high employment standards for care workers, who do such an important job for our community. So I’m proud that we’re committing to signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter.
Councillor Chris Best – Lewisham Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People, said;
“Despite the Tory cuts, we need to ensure that our vulnerable residents get the high quality social care that they need.
“We are developing a truly person-centred approach to care, which is based on the needs of care recipients, and which gives our staff time to care.
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government at UNISON, said
“I am delighted that my own local authority - Lewisham - has signed up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter, which aims to improve vital care needed by our elderly and vulnerable residents by giving good pay and conditions to care staff. It is clear that you can’t have one without the other and Lewisham is helping to lead the way towards quality care and quality employment.”
Lewisham Labour Councillors Damien Egan and Chris Best Damien Egan – Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham – has today committed to making Lewisham an Ethical Care Council.Lewisham Council provides...
Save the date! Lewisham Labour Manifesto 2018 Workshops
Please join us for a series of manifesto workshops in January that will help build a radical manifesto for the local elections next May.
The past few months have been a huge democratic exercise for our local party. We now have all of our candidates selected to fight the local elections in May 2018. But it doesn’t stop there. Together, our ideas can help tackle the key challenges facing the borough and help improve the lives of residents here in Lewisham.
Joining us will be your local MP, Lewisham Labour Group Councillors/candidates, and guest speakers, including John McDonnell MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, and Emily Thornberry MP.
We’re holding three workshops in each of our CLPs in January, as follows:
- Saturday January 20th 2018 – Lewisham Deptford – Deptford Methodist Church
- Sunday January 21st 2018 – Lewisham East – Civic Centre, Lewisham Council
- Sunday January 28th 2018 – Lewisham West & Penge – Forest Hill Methodist Church
Click below to RVSP for your opportunity to help build a more prosperous Lewisham for its residents:
Can you help?
If you can spare some time to help at the workshops or to help with the campaign, then please get in touch!
Finally, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. I look forward to joining you on the campaign trail in 2018.
Cllr. Damien Egan, Labour Mayoral Candidate 2018
Save the date! Lewisham Labour Manifesto 2018 Workshops Please join us for a series of manifesto workshops in January that will help build a radical manifesto for the local elections...
STATEMENT FROM LEWISHAM LABOUR GROUP OFFICERS
Lewisham Labour Group welcomes the findings of the Dyson Inquiry into the New Bermondsey/Surrey Canal proceedings relating to the decision to compulsory purchase land currently leased to Millwall football club.
We wish to emphasise that the remit was to establish whether Council members and officers behaved legally and properly during these processes and are pleased that the Dyson Inquiry has done that. We also wish to stress that these findings in no way validate the initial CPO decision and that those issues will be looked at in the coming weeks and months.
Further, we condemn the attacks in the media on fellow councillors – particularly those threatening physical abuse in social media on Cllr Paul Maslin. Members, rightly or wrongly, take their decisions in what they see as the best interests of the community. To subject them to the level of abuse encountered by Cllr Maslin is completely unwarranted and unjustified. We would ask those members of the public involved, no matter what their affiliation or where their sympathies lie, to desist.
Cllr Bill Brown, Labour Group Chair
Cllr Liz Johnston-Franklin, Labour Group Secretary
Cllr Jim Mallory, Labour Group Chief Whip
30 November 2017
STATEMENT FROM LEWISHAM LABOUR GROUP OFFICERS Lewisham Labour Group welcomes the findings of the Dyson Inquiry into the New Bermondsey/Surrey Canal proceedings relating to the decision to compulsory purchase land...
To mark White Ribbon day on 25th November, Lewisham Labour has again pledged its continued commitment to never commit, condone or remain silent about the violence against women and girls.
Mayor Bullock made an announcement at the Full Council meeting on November 22nd highlighting Lewisham’s continued support of outlining the need to tackle violence against women, and challenge social attitudes and behaviours that lead to gender based violence.
Cllr Janet Daby, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said “This day gives us an opportunity to put a spotlight on the continued prevalence of violence against women and girls in our communities. This is an issues that affected so many women and girls, it shocking that the statistics show that 1 in 4 women and girls will suffer domestic abuse and 1 in 5 will experience sexual violence.”
“It is clear that is can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation or culture. This why is so important that we send a message to all parts of our communities that any form of violence against women and girls is unacceptable and we need tackle it together.”
To find out more about the White Ribbon Campaign please click here
To mark White Ribbon day on 25th November, Lewisham Labour has again pledged its continued commitment to never commit, condone or remain silent about the violence against women and girls....