14 December 2020
Covid-19 Update: London goes into Tier 3 on Wednesday 16 November
- The Health Secretary announced today that as of midnight tomorrow, London will be going in to Tier 3: Very High Alert.
- A reminder of what the restrictions will mean for our residents and local businesses are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert
- The messaging from Government has been regularly criticised for its ambiguity, so at this time it is important that we communicate to our communities how we can all keep safe until the vaccine is fully deployed.
Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) & StreetLink Support
- When the weather is forecast to be very cold for three consecutive nights, the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is activated. SPEAR in partnership with the local authorities is able to provide emergency accommodation for those with nowhere else to go.
- StreetLink aims to offer the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough, and is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to the local services and support available to them.
- If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, send an alert to StreetLink by visiting streetlink.org.uk via the mobile app, or by calling 0300 500 0914.
Lewisham Labour Stands up to the Hostile Environment
- The Government has recently changed the Immigration Rules to include making rough sleeping a legal ground to cancel or refuse permission to stay in the UK – this is an abhorrent and cruel step to take which unfairly discriminates against people simply for not being able to find shelter. Even worse, it deters people from seeking or accepting support.
- We are proud to announce publicly that our services in Lewisham will not collaborate with the Home Office on this issue.
- Read the full statement from Cllrs Bell & Bonavia here: https://lewisham.gov.uk/articles/news/lewisham-council-says-no-to-new-immigration-rules
Local Implementation Plan (LIP) Funding
- At the start of the 2020/21 financial year, all LIP funding that the Council usually receives from Transport for London (TfL) was withdrawn.
- Last month we received notification from TfL that following the financial deal they reached with Government they are able to reinstate LIP funding for the remainder of the financial year.
- As part of this Lewisham will receive £761,000 LIP Corridors funding (compared to £1.94m for the full year). This will enable us to deliver some of the previously agreed programme of works, but not all.
- See here for more details on what this means for the Council: https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/regeneration/transport-and-major-infrastructure/local-implementation-plan
Shop Local: Supporting Lewisham’s small businesses
- Lewisham has one of the highest numbers of small and independent businesses in London. As you will very well know, this year businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, and as we enter the crucial pre-Christmas period, local businesses need us to support them more than ever.
- The Council has launched a ‘Shop Safe, Shop Local’ campaign, which is focused on promoting small businesses in Lewisham and safeguarding local jobs. Follow the link for more info and for the ongoing Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign materials: https://www.lewishamlabour.com/shop-safe-shop-local-to-support-local-businesses-and-protect-local-jobs/
Updated Housing Allocations Policy: Public Consultation
- Following approval at Mayor & Cabinet, a consultation into changes to the Housing Allocations Policy is now live, with an example of progressive changes listed below:
- Modifying the “overcrowded” rehousing reason to ensure that those experiencing the most severe overcrowding are prioritised.
- Increasing the number of properties an applicant can bid for each week.
- The consultation closes on 14th February, please encourage your residents and members to fill in the survey and view all proposed changes here: https://consultation.lewisham.gov.uk/strategic-housing-and-regulatory-services/https-lewisham-gov-uk-media-lewisham-housingal/
Winter Appeal Reminder
- The Mayor has officially launched Lewisham’s winter appeal, raising money to provide gifts to vulnerable children and support people experiencing homelessness this winter.
- You can find out more and donate to the appeal at https://www.lewishamwinterappeal.com/ please share this link with your friends, family and residents.
30 November 2020
- Monday 7th December – Labour Group
- Monday 11th January – Labour Group
Catford South & Sydenham Ward By-Election Council Candidates
- We are pleased to welcome newly selected Labour Council Candidate for Sydenham Ward, Jack Lavery, replacing Tom Copley and James Royston for Catford South, replacing Skip Amrani – Press Releases on website below:
- The Mayor has officially launched Lewisham’s winter appeal, which is raising money for Voluntary Services Lewisham and the 999 Club, to provide a gift to vulnerable children and support people experiencing homelessness this winter:
- £5 donation will buy a stocking gift for a vulnerable child in Lewisham
- £15 donation will purchase a present or gift voucher for a child or teenager in need
- £25 will pay for a food hamper for a homeless person this winter
- You can find out more and donate to the appeal at https://www.lewishamwinterappeal.com/
Decolonising the Curriculum: Motion & Blog
- Cllr Kim Powell brought this motion calling for the Government to review the current curriculum with the aim to make it more inclusive as well as representative. This was passed at Labour Group and subsequently Full Council.
- She has written an excellent blog explaining why this is so important, and detailed some of her own experiences reflecting on this topic:
Classifying Misogyny as a Hate Crime: Motion & Blog
- Cllr Susan Wise brought the Stella Creasy MP backed motion calling on the Government to start recording Misogyny as a hate crime.
- Cllr Sophie Davis has written a brilliant and personal blog detailing her experiences around this, and explained why it is such an important issue.
- Please read and share her blog here: https://www.lewishamlabour.com/classifying-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime/
Local Business Grant Funding
- Since the start of the crisis, we have already provided nearly £40m in grants to hundreds of local businesses.
- This grant funding has helped countless local businesses through the crisis, and helped to protect thousands of local jobs.
- The Government has recently announced a series of further grant schemes to support businesses most impacted by the crisis.
- Applications for these grants opened today, with details of how to apply here. Please do feel free to share this with any local businesses in your ward who might be eligible. The earlier they apply, the earlier we can get them the cash.
Small Business Saturday 5th December
- Small Business Saturday comes at a difficult time for local businesses: we are a borough of small businesses, and we want to do all we can to support businesses locally to thrive and create good quality jobs.
- But encouraging residents to support small businesses and to #shoplocal is more important than ever – we will be sharing more information this week on how we will be supporting our small businesses – and how members can get involved.
COVID-19: Local testing update
- From next week, an additional local testing unit will open in Lewisham, making it even easier for residents to get a COVID-19 test.
- This will be seven day a week facility at Molesworth car park (Molesworth Street, Lewisham, SE13 7DS) and it will operate from 8am to 8pm every day.
- The Mobile Testing Unit in Catford will also be visiting the borough more frequently throughout December.
Rough Sleepers Funding Award
- Lewisham Council has been awarded our full bid of £2,279,900 from the MHCLG. The funding comes from the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme.
- This is on top of the £19m we were awarded from the GLA as part of our building programme earlier in October.
- This funding will be used for further homelessness initiatives in Lewisham
16 November 2020
- Monday 23rd November – Labour Group
- Wednesday 26th November – Full Council
- Monday 7th December – Labour Group
- We are faced with a massive financial challenge, task is to make our residents aware of the sheer scale of it and the visible impact it will have on Council services (Government has cut our budget by over 40% in real terms since 2010) – ten years of austerity combined with the overwhelming financial impact of COVID has left with us with far less money than we need, and Government refuses to help.
- Council has put together shareable graphics representing the huge financial challenges we face. You can download all the images and an animation for the new comms campaign from WeTransfer here: https://we.tl/t-725svi3d35
- Sharing the above within your wards and community networks through social media networks and local WhatsApp groups will help raise awareness of the Council’s financial position.
ProxyAddress Trial launched in Lewisham
- ProxyAddress is a new project that provides those facing homelessness with a free address which they can use to access the support they need.
- Without an address people experiencing homelessness can be prevented from accessing vital services like banking, applying to jobs, accessing benefits or even registering with a GP.
- Lewisham is the first local authority in the UK to trial this service, and you can read more about the scheme online.
Free School Meals
- We have been supporting Marcus Rashford’s campaign to get the Government to help vulnerable families and children over the holidays: The Mayor’s Foodbank Appeal raised over £142,000 during Covid-19
- The Mayoresses’ raised over £34,000 to provide packed lunches for Lewisham schoolchildren over the half-term holidays: Lewisham Labour Blog
Lewisham & Lee Green Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
- Changes to the scheme have recently been publicised, you can find all the relevant info here
Refugee Resettlement & Borough of Sanctuary
- Since 2018 our refugee resettlement programme has been working hard to support an additional 100 families in need. As of March we had already resettled 30 families, but the arrival of COVID unfortunately led to the Government suspending the entire UK resettlement scheme.
- Last week, we co-ordinated a joint letter with 15 other London councils urgently calling on Priti Patel to restart the scheme and save lives.
- Subsequently we received confirmation from the Home Office that it is now looking to restart the scheme early in the New Year. We are currently pressing them for further details and are preparing places for the pending arrivals.
- On 11 November 2020 Mayor & Cabinet approved the Council’s ground-breaking new sanctuary strategy, the first of its kind in the New Year. More info can be found here
Schools in Lewisham Remain Open
- Evidence indicates that a significant number of those children who could not attend school during the original lockdown period may have suffered educational, social and health problems as a result. The Labour Party is supporting the policy of keeping schools open – to protect children’s safety, welfare and educational development.
- Lewisham Council is in weekly talks with the local NEU and other education unions about protecting staff, children and families. We support the unions in calling for more resources to keep people safe.
- We sent a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Education, calling for schools to be given extra resources for supply staff to cover self-isolating or shielding teachers, comprehensive testing, PPE, cleaning and laptops for deprived children.
Planning for the Future: Lewisham Response
- We have raised concerns in our response to the Government’s Planning for the Future White Paper, and have contributed to the response submitted by London Councils on behalf of London authorities.
- The Mayor and Cllr Paul Bell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, have both signed CPRE’s open letter calling on the Secretary of the State to reconsider the proposals.
- We will continue pushing for the Government to rethink their approach, in order to ensure that any changes protect local democracy and help deliver genuinely affordable and good quality housing for Lewisham residents.
- On 11 November 2020 Mayor & Cabinet approved consultation on new Housing Policy.
- There is a chronic shortage of new social homes. There are increasing numbers of households in need of larger family homes, but the availability of 3-bed and up, is very limited.
- In 2019/20 there were 363 families in need of a 5-bed home but only one of its size was let. Full details can be found on Cllr Bell’s blog here