Cllr Amanda de Ryk, Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy, at Lewisham Council’s Full Council meeting on 28 September 2022 announced Lewisham Labour’s initial plans to respond to the Cost of Living Crisis. She said,
“Inflation is at a 40 year high and the country is facing a cost of living crisis with a government which either doesn’t care or doesn’t know how to respond. The Conservative chancellor’s fiscal event last Friday saw tax cuts for the highest earning 1%, and bigger bonuses for bankers. In an unprecedented statement, the IMF, said: ‘the nature of the UK measures will likely increase inequality.’ In Lewisham, we already know this is true. I’ve been to the food bank and listened to residents concerns. Recent survey data shows that there are more than 61,000 Lewisham families struggling to pay their bills. Food bank referrals are on the rise, homelessness is increasing and we’ve got tenants who are asking to have their gas disconnected so they aren’t tempted to put their heating on. This is what a cost of living crisis looks like on the ground, not round the table at No 10. The council is working urgently to respond to the crisis even though there is no extra money coming to Lewisham from central government. But as with the pandemic we know we can’t do it alone. We need to harness the strength of Lewisham’s brilliant charities, advisory specialists and other third sector partners. Officers, the Mayor and myself, are meeting regularly with them to co-ordinate and and target our response. Work has already begun to set up a network of places where residents can get a warm welcome when it’s cold this winter. We’ve launched a food justice programme and are getting ready to deliver food parcels. And we have a new dedicated web page on our website which targets people towards further support. At our next council meeting we will bring forward a motion that calls this what it is. A Cost of Living Emergency. And we will announce further measures to help tackle it. we know that we need to do more, and we will.