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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.


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.

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