UPDATE: Vote Brixton – The candidates speak

Written by on May 13, 2014 in Community, Council, Housing, Uncategorized - 9 Comments

On 22nd May, all 63 seats on Lambeth Council will be up for grabs in a local election.

A wide range of parties are hoping to win a seat, so we asked all Brixton candidates to write an article explaining why they think you should vote for them, and what they would do if they won your vote.

Their articles are below, in alphabetical order by political party, and we’ll be adding more when other candidates submit their articles to us.

 

Conservative Party’s Brixton team

Graham Pycock, Conservative candidate, Thurlow Park

Graham Pycock, Conservative candidate, Thurlow Park

Fighting Labour’s monopoly on power in Brixton is something of a one-sided struggle.  It’s not always easy to be heard but in an election voters should be enabled to hear the alternatives, so thanks Brixton Blog.

We regard Lambeth Council as debt-ridden and undemocratic, more interested in self-promotion than in supporting vulnerable people and delivering local services.  This is our solution.

THE MESS WE ARE IN – POWER IN SO FEW HANDS

Lambeth Council is run by ten Labour councillors, known as the Cabinet.  These career politicians, on £40,000 per year, make all the key decisions behind closed doors, in the “Informal Cabinet”. Press, public and opposition are excluded.

Labour’s public relations budget has risen to £1.5 million, with millions more spent on so-called “consultation”, actually promoting decisions made already.

Awkward facts are withheld (half the Freedom of Information requests last year were “unresolved”).

The nod-squad of Brixton councillors toe the cabinet’s line.  No wonder so many people are disillusioned and don’t vote.  Daft decisions are imposed from above, local people are ignored.  Democratic reform is long overdue. One-party, cabinet government must be replaced with inclusive and open, local government.

COST OF LABOUR DEBT – HALF A MILLION A WEEK

Tucked away in Lambeth Council’s annual accounts are the borrowing figures.  Direct debt has reached £460 million, rising to £650 million next year.  That’s at least £500,000 in interest every single week!

Yet Labour’s debt burden is actually far worse than it appears.  Several projects are funded by “PFI” deals.  These 30 year contracts with the big banks, lock the council into high interest rates, which are hidden.

Lambeth signed the PFI contracts under Gordon Brown as a means of disguising the scale of debt.  Conservative Wandsworth has reduced its debt to almost nothing over many years and the interest saved goes into improved services and lower council tax.

Housing improvement and other key investments will continue, but we can make a start by selling surplus council offices and modernising the rest.  We will stop Labour’s £50 million Brixton Town Hall vanity project.

RETURNING POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE

Borough-wide decisions should be made at the town hall. Local decisions should be made locally.

Labour’s cabinet has completely sold out to the developers.  We will delegate power and budget to Brixton councillors to make local decisions, in public, enabling people to devise a Brixton Plan, under the 2011 Localism Act, and put it to a local referendum.

Standards can be set locally for housing space and design.

Labour’s campaign unit, overhead costs and the “cooperative council” bureaucracy will be slashed: at least £5 million will be restored to adult care, youth services and libraries.

 

Green Party

Luke Hildyard, Green party candidate, Herne Hill

luke hildyardI moved to Brixton Hill in 2005 and have lived around the area since then, save for a couple of stints in Hackney.

It feels like Brixton and Herne Hill have got a lot richer since then, with all the new cafes, bars and farmers markets, but a lot of the people that live here still seem just as poor.

My rent doesn’t get any cheaper, tube and bus prices are constantly going up. Food is expensive, even though the area is now swamped with Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores that have driven local shops out of business on the basis that they’re supposed to be cheaper.

The country has been run in the interests of big business and the super-rich for ages, and because the UK is so centralised compared to more forward-thinking nations, there’s not a lot that councillors can do to change that.

But if elected, I will at least try and make Lambeth a little bit fairer, greener and more democratic.

That means, for example, not buying council services from companies that pay fatcat executives millions of pounds while refusing to pay their workers the living wage.

Properly enforcing traffic regulations and making roads safer for cyclists (even with speed bumps and speed restrictions, streets such as Milkwood Road in Herne Hill are still terrifying places to cycle).

And putting pressure on the Council to adopt a fairer voting system. At the moment Labour have around three quarters of the seats on the Council with less than half the votes. The Greens have no seats with 10 per cent of votes.

There is a real danger that Labour will sweep the board at this year’s election, meaning there will be no opposition scrutiny of a council spending hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money.

It’s understandable that people would vote Labour where the alternatives are the Tories and Lib Dems.

But in Herne Hill, the Greens are a close-second behind Labour. We had a seat on the Council from 2006-2010. So we have a real chance of winning in Herne Hill and of bringing an alternative voice to the Council.

 

Andrew Child, Green party candidate, Brixton Hill

andrew childI’m a freelance writer and campaigner and have lived in Brixton Hill for more than 10 years. I’ve a keen interest in strengthening democracy and I’m a board member of two national campaigns for democratic reform. My background is in financial journalism and I worked as a journalist at the Financial Times for 11 years.

Many of you will rightly associate the Green Party with its strong commitment to environmental issues. However, just as important to me are its distinct policies on fairness and social justice, and its here where we are really challenging a Labour Party that seems to have run out of ideas.

I’m a firm believer in being involved in the local community – as I think any local elections candidate should be. I co-founded the Save George IV campaign to save a landmark Brixton pub from the clutches of Tesco and am an active supporter of Lambeth SaveOurServices, Lambeth United Housing Coop and Lambeth Cyclists.

My campaigning priorities for Brixton – regardless on whether I’m elected or not – are:

* Maintain the current level of education provision at Lambeth College’s Brixton Campus, and prevent it being side-lined by an unwanted free school. Local Labour councillors have failed to back campaigners.

*Extend the London Living Wage to as many employers as possible. Lambeth Labour have failed to fulfil a commitment to pay its contractors the Living Wage.

*Tackle Lambeth’s social housing crisis. Lambeth Labour’s record is woeful: it has purged the borough’s 40-year-old housing coops and let big house-builders off the hook over promised social housing provision.

*Prevent Bedroom Tax evictions. Nationally, Labour has promised to abolish this unjust tax but in Lambeth the party is doing the Tories’ bidding and pursuing an evictions policy.

The Greens are 2nd in Brixton Hill – only we can hold Labour to account.

 

Nicholas Edwards, Green party candidate, Herne Hill

nick edwardsI’ve lived in Herne Hill for 10 years, I have campaigned for green routes/links, for the Bakerloo line extension, road safety, and other improvements for Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction.

I’m a committee member of the SE5 Forum, the Friends of Ruskin Park, and the Friends of Carnegie Library.

If elected I would work to establish a Neighbourhood Council for the ward, which could help to fund policing, library, parks and other local services and give residents direct control over our area.

Together with other Greens I will work for improved cycling parking and routes, for segregated cycle lanes on Milkwood Road, street greening and more green spaces, air pollution monitoring on major roads, improved sports provision, an Overground station at Loughborough Junction, and to restore 1-o-clock club provision in Ruskin Park.

For Ruskin Park, I’m involved in renovation of the stables as a community resource, and working on opening the North path in evenings.

I’ve helped to identify funding for sports and other improvements. For Carnegie Library, I’m concerned to ensure its future as a public library. After years of neglect by Lambeth, it needs £3 million investment, but Lambeth have provided only £400,000.

Lambeth Labour claim that they are ‘protecting residents from Tory cuts’, but they are themselves imposing cuts and privatisations, selling off sheltered housing and co-op housing, and cutting £500,000 from policing despite increasing violent crimes in Lambeth (up 7% to 7311 per year, almost the worst in London), and Herne Hill having the worst burglary rate in London.

For a genuine alternative to government and council cuts, please vote for me and for other Greens, to make a real change and improvement in Herne Hill and Lambeth!

 

Tom Wood, Green party candidate, Coldharbour

tom woodHousing is now London’s number one issue and there is increasing pressure on London’s limited social housing stock.

The number of London families with school age children being housed by boroughs outside of London has risen from 21 in 2010/11 to 222 in the first three quarters of 2013/14.

2,687 other families with children have had to move to another London borough in the same period, compared to 1,428 in 2010/11.

In these circumstances it makes no sense for Lambeth to sell of its housing stock, not with a waiting list of 15,000, but that is what has been happening. Lambeth has been evicting long term residents, some in their 70s, from housing co-ops and selling off the properties.  Even local Labour MP Kate Hoey has been scathing about their approach.

Lambeth claim that the money raised is going back into housing but when a Green Party member made a Freedom of Information Act request for the evidence that this was really happening the council refused to answer, saying that the request was vexatious.

Labour are also anxious to get rid of the residents of Carlton Mansions despite having no use for the property which will become part of the Somerleyton Road development.  (We must assume they plan to forgo council tax from the current residents and pay Camelot to keep the buildings empty until the development starts).

Initially Lambeth tried to have the residents evicted on the basis of a fire risk assessment which they refused to show residents and which, they said, showed everyone had to go at once.  The Courts looked at the report and said “No they don’t”. However the bullying of the residents, who are reluctant to spend money they cannot afford challenging the council’s approach, continues.

In Coldharbour ward Labour have approved redevelopment at the Guinness estate which has resulted in far few units of social housing.  In Brixton Square they let Barrett Homes (annual profits in excess of £100 million) off their obligation to include 48 social housing units in the development.

Lambeth’s housing policy needs to be subject to serious scrutiny and we are not going to get that by electing more Labour candidates.

 

Amelia Womack, Green party candidate, Herne Hill

amelia womackI am really proud to be standing in an area that has such strength in its community, a love of its local shops and a passion for its park.

In the time I have lived on Herne Hill I have realise that the times of change that we are seeing at the national level are seriously impacting these local values.

As a Green candidate I am dedicated to fighting against cuts in our community. We need to protect our libraries, and protect the most vulnerable people in our society through ensuring that we have healthy local services that aren’t put in the hands of big business.

We also need to protect our social, sheltered and cooperative housing to ensure that residents have a safe place to live. The stories of Lambeth residents being forced from their homes for them to be handed to big developers is morally wrong. We need more Green voices in the council to fight against these injustices.

We also need to protect our high streets from yet another chain supermarket. Herne Hill is unique as a result of its market, local shops and local businesses and a Green voice is a voice that will fight to preserve that.

We also need to ensure that our streets are safer for cyclist and pedestrians by ensuring that we have cycle lanes and a 20mph speed limit.

My skills and experience as an active campaigner to on a variety of issues including protecting our NHS, fighting austerity cuts and campaigning to protect our environment means that I have the attributes to serve as a voice of the people on the council.

 

Boniface Awogta and David Warner, independent candidates, Coldharbour

boniface awogtadavid warnerBoniface Awogta and David Warner are both long term Coldharbour Ward residents and standing as independents to highlight these Coldharbour Ward issues:

We think that an open air gym would be more helpful to the community on Coldharbour Lane in front of Southwyck House than the temporary car wash.

The space which was formerly a petrol garage in front of the Barrier Block is owned by Lambeth Council, but the lease issued to the garage has passed to a property company who rent it out as a car wash.

The rest of the space had been grassed over and planted with trees after the original shops and pub were knocked down in 1971. Back in 1997 there was a move to build on part of this greened over site, but this was vetoed by Environmental Services Committee, and the land was designated “Community Open Space”.

We think the council should recover the car wash site from the lessees and create green space running Somerleyton Road to Moorland Road. This would offset the intense urbanisation with massive new private residential blocks on the opposite side of the road – soon hopefully to be joined by a Lambeth housing scheme running along the railway side of Somerleyton Road.

Providing an outdoor gym on part of the car wash site would be fantastic addition. Southwark Council have 11 of these – mainly serving high density social housing where cost is an issue (these outdoor gyms are free to use). Lambeth currently has 2. A park outside the barrier block would be an excellent site for another gym.

We think that Lambeth should press for the reopening of East Brixton Station to give access to the Overground network. Overground trains pass directly over Brixton Station on the high level track. To build platforms at Brixton station is not feasible for engineering and cost reasons.

The logical alternative is to reinstate the platforms at East Brixton (which operated 1866-1976). This would provide a walkable interchange to both Brixton and Loughborough Junction.

There is a shortage of GPs – in fact there is no GP surgery in Coldharbpour Ward. The only doctors surgery in the ward closed two years ago when the authorities pressurised the late Dr Konzon to move his practice to join two other medical practices in the Ackerman Health Centre much better paced to serve the new Oval Quarter development than Coldharbour Ward residents.

The original Iveagh House surgery building (itself fairly modern) is currently empty and  occupied by a security company to prevent squatting. In an area where the population is constantly increasing we think that doctor’s surgery should be brought back into use. Lambeth should pressure the CCG to achieve this.

 

Labour Party

Joint statement from Labour Herne Hill candidates

Herne Hill Labour TeamIf you talk to people on the doorstep in Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction most people will say they are great places to live. We agree but we also think they could be even better and that it’s vital we support people for whom the Tory/Lib Dem cuts and mismanagement of the economy aren’t delivering homes and jobs.

Over the past 4 years Labour councillors have worked hard with the local community to improve our neighbourhoods. We have helped pedestrianise the centre of Herne Hill facilitating the new market, we’ve fought for new primary school places for local children, we’ve helped bring in investment for Brockwell and Ruskin Parks and we have got a programme of road and pavement renewal started. We continue to support new investment and a neighbourhood plan for Loughborough Junction and big investment in Lambeth owned homes.

The improvements that have been achieved in Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction have largely come as a result of local residents taking the lead alongside a ‘co-operative’ council which is committed to supporting people to take control of assets and services for the benefit of the whole community. Transferring Carnegie Library and Brockwell Park to resident run bodies and putting Herne Hill Forum and Loughborough Junction Action Group in charge of shaping the vision for their areas are all about giving local people control.

But the work to transform our area needs to ensure that there are enough new affordable homes for local people, that those the council and housing associations provide are of a high quality and that everyone in our community has the chance of a job with decent pay and prospects. That is why Labour is pledged to build new 1,000 new homes at council rent levels and support the creation of 5,000 new jobs for local people as well as many more new apprenticeships for young people. And it also why we will continue with our £30m investment in homes for older people – including refurbishement of Matlock Close in Herne Hill – and our transformation of Lambeth owned estates including the Lilford in Loughborough Junction.

As Herne Hill residents and campaigners our vision for our area -as it is for Lambeth as a whole –  is of strong communities, mutual help and opportunities for all.

Jim Dickson, Michelle Agdomar and Jack Holborn

Our key pledges to Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction residents:

•Reduce speeding traffic in Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction including the introduction of a borough wide 20 mph Zone

•Build new affordable homes for local residents and repair and improve all council owned housing

•Work with local residents to protect and improve Carnegie Library

 

Joint statement from Labour Tulse Hill candidates

Tulse Hill has 3 local Labour Councillors. We enjoy representing the people who live and work in Tulse Hill.

We are working to ensure Tulse Hill benefits from developments elsewhere in the borough and pledge the following:

  1.  To increase access to job opportunities, advice and services for local residents
  2. Work together with residents to improve our environment and make Tulse hill greener
  3. Enable local groups, residents associations and businesses to work better together to improve Tulse hill

We have different backgrounds and experiences but make a good team:

Adedamola Aminu

I have been a Councillor in Tulse Hill since 2006. I lecture in business and management and I am a school governor for two schools in the borough. As the former Deputy Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, I’ve worked to improve the standard of education in our borough. I am currently Deputy Mayor and I have enjoyed meeting the many people in Tulse Hill and elsewhere working to improve their communities.

Mary Atkins

I was born and brought up in south London and have worked in a number of jobs in local and central government.  I have many interests in the arts, especially music, and I am a keen cyclist. I have represented Tulse Hill for 10 months now and I am hoping to be able to continue my work for the ward. I enjoy campaigning for the rights of local people and hope to develop closer working partnerships between groups.

Marcia Cameron

I have lived in Tulse Hill all my life and has been a councillor since 2006. I have worked a lot to improve the ward including providing support to small businesses.  In the council, I have been chair of housing scrutiny, this committee reviews and challenges decisions on housing. I also worked with local residents to ensure Tulse Hill received Christmas lights for the first time. I am committed to ensuring that Tulse Hill continues to be a good place to live. I will also support our local residents in developing community enhancement projects or programs that will improve the environment in Tulse Hill.

 

Joint statement from Labour Vassall candidates – (l-r) Jacqui Dyer, Paul Gadsby, Annie Gallop

Vassall Labour candidatesAs three members of the local community, we want to be a strong voice for the views of our neighbours in the Town Hall.

From talking to local people and their families, we know that residents from all walks of life are struggling financially and hurting from the impact of this government’s policies – sadly backed by Vassall Liberal Democrats.

The bedroom tax and savage government cuts have had a shocking affect on many of the most vulnerable in our community, while working people have seen their budget eaten away by rising bills and rents. The housing crisis continues to be ignored by the Lib Dems/Tories, who are doing nothing to crack down on bad landlords or encourage new homes to be built.

Despite this bad news we feel we can not only help residents through these tough times, but make our community better. As a team, we have helped secure £180,000 worth of investment to improve our roads and green spaces, including funding for a regenerated playground area in Russell Grove.

We have campaigned successfully to get a host of roads resurfaced, ensured the local Minet library remains open and tackled irresponsible off licenses on Brixton Road.

We have sought to give local residents the power to take charge of their affairs by helping one tenants group get off the ground and supporting others to take forward projects, including lobbying for funding for green space projects from the Mayor’s Office.

In the future we will continue to work hard for residents on their issues, as well as holding Lambeth Living, developers and others to account on the services they provide and making sure street by street problems are fixed.  And we will lobby for the policies that will help our residents.

We are delighted that Lambeth Labour will freeze council tax for a sixth year in a row,  build 1,000 council houses in the next five years and offer free breakfasts to all our primary school children.

Most importantly, we will use our strong local experience to make things happen. Jacqui has spent years championing the views of resident’s about the Myatt’s North redevelopment as chair of the local residents’ group, striving to hold the developer to account.

Annie was chair of the Cowley estate board and helped found the award winning local food farm. Paul has helped get residents’ groups running and organised meetings to help local residents with their issues, especially to navigate the welfare changes.

We hope that you will share our ambition for our local community and cast all three of your votes for the team that works on your behalf – your Labour team.

 

Joint statement from Labour Ferndale candidates – Paul McGlone, Sally Prentice, Neil Sabharwal

Lambeth Labour have delivered on our promises. While Lambeth never gets everything right, as Ferndale councillors we are focused on serving our residents well and getting the basic services everyone depends on right. Going forward, if we are reelected we want a borough that is fair to all and ambitious for everyone.

We are very proud that the first new library in Lambeth for over forty years was official opened in  July 2012 in Ferndale ward. In tough times many councils are having to close libraries, but   this one – and every other in Lambeth – is staying open!  This £60m development, built at no cost to the taxpayer, has given local residents a new leisure centre, GP surgery, social housing and this new library to enjoy!

We want to protect Brixton’s character and support a vibrant Brixton market, because this is so unique. We also recognise the problems that are caused by being in the centre of Lambeth’s and surrounded by large venues like the 02 Academy in Brixton and night time drinking venues on Clapham High Road. That’s why we are committed to clamping down on anti-social behaviour by involving businesses in Brixton, Clapham High Street and Acre Lane in respecting local resident’s rights to live peacefully and in a clean environment.

Finally, we want to continue to attract investment to build on the success of the new Clapham library and leisure centre so Ferndale residents have more community facilities to enjoy, especially for young children.

 

Cllr Paul McGlone

Paul McGlone has lived in Lambeth for over 27 years and has been a Ferndale councillor since 1998. Paul has led on high profile developments such as the new Clapham Library and leisure centre, Windrush Square and is now a governor of City Heights Academy, Lambeth’s newest secondary school. Paul has lead the council on Finance for the past four years, fighting government cuts while keeping council tax frozen for the sixth year in a row. 

Cllr Sally Prentice

Sally has represented residents in Brixton and Clapham since 2002. Sally is working with residents on the Stockwell Park and Robsart estates to improve their housing and has been closely involved in the development of the new library in Clapham and the transfer of the old library to Omnibus, a community arts organisation. As a Cabinet Member, Sally has led projects to provide new leisure centres and to refurbish Lambeth’s libraries.

 

Cllr Neil Sabharwal

Neil Sabharwal has been a Ferndale councillor since 2006. Neil runs his own internet company and uses that expertise to promote entrepreneurism to help Ferndale’s residents in tough economic times. Neil also sits on the committee that act as trustees for Lambeth’s Pension Fund, ensuring wise investment decisions are made to enable pensions to be paid.

 

Mark Chapman, Pirate party candidate, Vassall

mark chapmanFed up with Politics?  Care about Digital Engagement? Think Democracy is in danger, and want Openness and Transparency from your Council? Vote Pirate on May 22nd.

As your candidate for Vassall I want change. I want to end the distance residents feel between themselves and Politicians. Democracy and Politics work best when we’re all involved, we can’t leave it to ‘professional politicians’. We all need to engage with our communities to make them work.

What does this mean for Vassall?

It means councillors engaging and listening to residents’ concerns. I’ll rank your opinions above petty party politics. I’ll take a local, not national view. If Labour have a good idea I won’t disagree for the sake of it. But when Labour doesn’t listen to you, I’ll be your independent voice speaking up for you.

It means regular dialogue with community groups – with local Residents Associations, the Friends of Myatts Field Park, with Vassall members of the London Cycling Campaign and many others. It means actively supporting local residents campaigning for quieter streets to cycle on.

We deserve wholesale changes to the way we ‘do’ politics so that you are included. I’ll improve communication both ways. Too often Lambeth Council makes decisions without including us. From changing bins, to redeveloping Vauxhall bus station. Residents feel disengaged and unempowered. I will fix this lack of communication. With electronic and social media this doesn’t need to be expensive, but can be transformative.

Let’s hold the council to account for their decisions. I’ll ensure decisions are made in good faith, are properly communicated to residents, and provide complete transparency in decision making processes.

You have three votes in this election. I’m asking you for just one of those. Just one vote is all it takes to demand openness and transparency from your council.

 

Danny Lambert, Socialist party candidate, Ferndale

danny lambertThese borough elections are an opportunity for people to register their rejection of austerity, capitalism and the whole profit system.

The Socialist Party makes no apology for raising the issue of socialism in local elections. Things are not produced today to meet people’s needs, they are produced to make a profit and that’s the cause of the problems people in Lambeth as everywhere else face.

It’s not what local councils or even national governments do that shapes how we live. It’s the economic system which requires that profits be put before people. That’s what has to be changed to make things better.

Lambeth Council are under economic pressure, transmitted via the government, to balance their books both by cutting spending and increasing their income through selling off assets such as sheltered accommodation.

This year the Council plans to cut £4 million from helping disabled, vulnerable and older residents, also £3.9 million from children and young people services. They are evicting tenants from the short-life housing co-operatives where they have lived for 30 years. Some residents have even had to seek charity handouts from Food Banks.

It’s profits before people. That’s how capitalism works.

The only alternative is socialism, to replace the profit system with one based on common ownership and democratic control so that there can be production to satisfy people’s needs instead of for profit. Socialism, as a society of common ownership, will apply the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.”

People in Clapham Town and Larkhall wards as well as Ferndale ward can register their rejection of the profit system and the need for a socialist alternative by putting an X next to the name of the Socialist Party candidate there.

 

 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

James Ivens, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, Ferndale

james ivensLambeth deserves socialist councillors. We are one of London’s most deprived boroughs. But we’ve shown we’re ready to fight.

Lambeth College and the Ritzy Picturehouse are standing up to greedy bosses with strikes. Clapham Fire Station was saved by a large and vibrant local campaign. The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) backs the lot. But Lambeth is still blighted by high rent, low pay and gaping cuts to vital services.

I live on the Waltham Estate in Ferndale Ward. I see a lot of poverty. My priority for the ward is housing.

A social tenant, a private tenant and a leaseholder can live in exactly the same home. But that home can cost three very different amounts. Meanwhile, vulnerable Lambeth residents can wait years to be housed.

Young people and low-paid workers are forced further and further out by obscene rents. But instead of responding to a social housing crisis by building social housing, Labour is selling it off and evicting the tenants! This council has offloaded around £100 million of public stock while welcoming luxury developments for the rich.

TUSC wants the council to use its licensing powers to control rents. Private rents should be brought in line with social rents. We also want a massive programme of council house building and renovation.

I would use a council seat as a platform to back trade union struggles. We want a £10 an hour minimum wage with no exceptions. Like all TUSC candidates, I pledge never to vote for a single cut or for privatisation.

TUSC is funded and controlled solely by working-class activists and community campaigners. While other parties make election promises, only we can guarantee to stand up for ordinary people every time. Vote TUSC on 22 May: for a Lambeth we can all afford.

 

Louise Scott, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, Herne Hill

louise scottI am not a politician. I am a local resident and unrelenting advocate for social equality, justice and the potential of our most marginalised communities. They are suffering most from the government’s austerity cuts, which councillors from ALL the major parties persist in supporting.

Despite what mainstream media might lead us to believe, these cuts are unnecessary. Why is Lambeth Council reducing much-needed local services – lifelines for our most vulnerable – when it is sitting on more than £500 million in reserves? Councillors DO have the power to say no to cuts. I will fight to reverse all cuts and refuse to make more.

My greatest passion is young people, especially the most disadvantaged. I am a mentor to a 14 year-old local boy through the charity Kids Company and spent a year helping on a mobile youth club visiting estates in Camden. I am also a volunteer journalist with West London YMCA, where I have interviewed homeless young people so they can tell their stories. I’ve been committed to gaining insight into these issues first-hand rather than through what the newspapers choose to portray.

I will expand youth clubs and support grass roots organisations in Herne Hill ward, so that young people can find outlets and purpose, and contribute to our society. This benefits all of us. I will strive to build community spirit, so we help each other and not just our ‘own’.

I will fight for rent caps to stop landlords profiteering at extortionate levels and pricing you out of your own neighbourhood. I will campaign for a £10 minimum wage to help ordinary working Londoners achieve the standard of living that is everyone’s right.

I will expand democracy by supporting trade unions, residents’ associations and community groups to lead campaigns against cuts. Above all, I will act with integrity and against inequality at every step.

 

Joint submission from TUSC candidates for Vassall, Brixton Hill and Tulse Hill

We are anti-cuts activists, community campaigners and working-class fighters. TUSC was launched in 2010 by Bob Crow, alongside other leading trade unionists and socialists.  We fight for a genuine alternative to the parties of the rich and big business.

TUSC is backed by the RMT nationally. It includes the Socialist Party, other socialist groups and trade unionists and campaigners fed up with Labour’s betrayal of the people.

For a Lambeth we can afford to live in

Since 2010, the Con-Dem millionaires have been emptying our pockets to line their own. What has Lambeth’s Labour Council done to stop them?

  • Lambeth’s youth unemployment tripled in2012
  • Slashed £12million of jobs and services in 2013
  • Promised a brutal £25 million more in 2014/15
  • Attacked elderly and disabled residents with plans to scrap sheltered housing
  • Evicted housing co-ops
  • Sold-out our children with cuts and privatisation of One O’clock clubs, adventure playgrounds and youth centres

We Stand For

  • TUSC Councillors will never vote for cuts or privatisation
  • Use reserves and prudential borrowing to restore services and build a mass trade union and community campaign to win every stolen penny back from Westminster
  • £10 an hour living wage

Councillors should campaign for at least the London Living Wage in every workplace. Scrap zero-hour contracts! Trade union struggle for decent pay, conditions, hours and pensions! Support the Ritzy workers!

  • Cap rents, Axe the bedroom tax

Bring private rents in line with social housing rents. The Council should licence private landlords and to set rent controls. Bring private housing back into public ownership. Launch a mass programme of council house building and renovation. Refuse to collect the hated bedroom tax or threaten tenants in arrears with eviction

  • Restore Proper Benefits

Over 40 jobseekers chase every vacancy in some parts of the borough. Meanwhile working-class students drop out of college and cancel university plans because they cannot afford it. We would use council reserves to restore council tax benefit, the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and Adult Learning Grant.

  • TUSC can really make a difference

Labour and the Con-Dems would have us all believe they “don’t have a choice”. It’s cuts, cuts, cuts – while their big business backers rake in more and more from slashed wages and privatised services. Big business is sitting on £800 billion in unpsent stockplies. Even without talk of an economic “recovery”, the money is there – it’s just not being given to us!

We would support any Labour councillor voting against cuts.

VOTE TUSC FOR COUNCILLORS WHO WILL FIGHT FOR OUR JOBS AND SERVICES

 

Elizabeth Jones, UKIP candidate, Ferndale

elizabeth jonesElizabeth Jones is the UKIP candidate for Ferndale Ward, UKIP MEP London Region candidate ranked 3rd and chairwoman of UKIP Southwark.

She is a long standing family solicitor and lives in Ferndale ward. She has never worked in the public sector and has no pension.

Her interests are theatre, opera, concerts and watching the actions of the elected. She campaigned against Westminster City Council parking fees proposals and against Syrian intervention and won both contests.

UKIP guarantees NO increase in Council Tax and will increase the Single Person’s Council Tax Rebate to 50% when we leave EU which costs us £55M A DAY.

Your money is being wasted by Lambeth Council on inflated salaries, PC non jobs, expensive consultants and unwarranted propaganda. UKIP will scrap all Town Hall propaganda, impose salary ceilings, end consultants and one UKIP councillor will be the Lambeth Waste Watchdog and scrutinise salary hikes, freebie junkets, contract bids and accountability.

UKIP will reduce housing pressure by leaving EU and ending open door immigration. Create social housing priority for local residents of more than 10 years and those with parents and grand parents born locally. End social cleansing and insist 30% on affordable housing ring fenced for Lambeth locals.

UKIP -more places in local schools for local children, more vocational, technical choices for teenagers.

UKIP-Will deliver tailored Local Neighbourhood Plans supported by local people and bring in binding referendums on the petition of 5% of population for all planning proposals and major Council service change decisions.

UKIP-Will fight to scrap Transport for London’s 24/7 bus lane and review other routes. Modernise diesel emission engines especially HGVs and review their access to Lambeth roads.

UKIP will end the stigma of taxis to schools for children in care, protect sports and cultural facilities for Lambeth’s super talented youth-invest in youth clubs and voluntary and community sector youth organisations.

UKIP will end the misery of sky high Major Works Service Charges. Leaseholders must get new protections in their leases and a fair option to resolve disputes with Lambeth. We will bring in a new mediation service.

UKIP councillors believe the views of their constituents come first not the party line.

About the Author

9 Comments on "UPDATE: Vote Brixton – The candidates speak"

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  2. what is it worth May 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm ·

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  3. RWQ May 22, 2014 at 4:19 am ·

    Nothing still within this article from Lambeth Lib Dems on the day of polling. Nothing through the door either from them in the run up to these council elections. Why should the people of Lambeth vote for them when they cannot even be bothered to get their message across by writing a paragraph for this article, as others have done? They deserve to lose seats as a result.

  4. RWQ May 17, 2014 at 11:02 am ·

    Where are the comments from Lambeth Liberal Democrats? Have they given up since they are wallowing in the polls nationally? Can you enlighten us with your proposals and pledges for Lambeth; the elections are in 5 days. Although if the Bedroom Tax, the increase in tuition fees and the reduction in police numbers brought in with their Tory chums is anything to go by, it is probably wise not to bother telling Lambeth residents what your pledges are, they can’t be any worse, surely?

  5. Richard May 17, 2014 at 8:13 am ·

    So what if the UKIP candidate lives in the ward she is standing in (Ferndale). That did not stop her standing in our ward, Tulse Hill, last year!

  6. Richard May 17, 2014 at 8:09 am ·

    The Conservative Candidate mentions ‘career politicians’ who make up the Cabinet in Lambeth. One look at these 10 Councillors shows that most have been representing their constituents for the best part of 10 years. Some even longer, for 15 and 20 years. Even the previous Leader of the Council Steve Reed was Leader for a decade and a Councillor for much longer before he became an MP. I would have thought that that was merely natural career progression. To sling the term ‘career politician’ at this Cabinet is somewhat disingenuous.

  7. George May 13, 2014 at 12:18 pm ·

    I find it fascinating that the Tory candidate says

    “Tucked away in Lambeth Council’s annual accounts are the borrowing figures. Direct debt has reached £460 million, rising to £650 million next year. That’s at least £500,000 in interest every single week!”

    And the TUSC candidate

    “Why is Lambeth Council reducing much-needed local services – lifelines for our most vulnerable – when it is sitting on more than £500 million in reserves?”

    Either the Council is borrowing irresponsibly to maintain services for the most vulnerable in the face of Con/Dem cuts to local government funding

    or

    The Council are frugally sitting on reserves deliberately withholding services from the most needy so that they have cash for a rainy day.

    Can’t have it both ways

    • CP May 14, 2014 at 8:14 am ·

      I find it fascinating how these candidates throw figures around which are totally inaccurate, misunderstood and/or delibrately misleading. How is Lambeth sitting on £500 in reserves? Looking at the 2012/13 Statement of Accounts (the 13/14 have not been produced yet) shows that Lambeth has Usable Reserves of £241m not £500m. This is made up of approx:
      *£25m in General Fund balances – authorities are required to maintain a certain level of balances.
      *£15m for Locally Managed Schools Balance – this money belongs to indvidual schools and so can’t be used for non-schools services such as street cleaning etc
      *£68m for General Fund Earmarked reserves (see page 128 for full breakdown) which is a mixture of reserves for carried forward revenue grants that have no conditions of use, project funding and specific contingencies
      *£11m in HRA Earmarked Reserves – ringfenced legally to the HRA so can only be used for projects/other expenditure related to social housing.
      *£9m in HRA Balances – this by law cannot be in deficit
      *£54m in Capital Receipts Reserve – proceeds from selling assets so by law can only be used for capital expenditure to enhance or create new assets such as the new leisure centres in the borough and not on revenue expenditure such as day to day services.
      *£44m in Capital Grants Unapplied Account – these are capital grants which have been received but cannot be applied against expenditure yet.
      *£13m in Major Repairs Reserve – this is ringfenced to the HRA.

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