I completely agree that there is a housing crisis in this constituency. The Whig Party believes that low quality and overpriced housing is causing avoidable mental and physical health problems. A distorted housing market is damaging the lives of an entire generation. To address this, we believe that Britain needs to build more homes, especially on the green belt, and Lambeth council should be allowed to borrow against future rental income to build more social housing. While there are new homes springing up in Vauxhall, these tend to be luxury apartments for absentee overseas speculators. Lambeth council need to enforce section 106 more robustly to ensure that housing remains affordable for people who live here.
2. Local business
The Whig Party believes that local councils should be allowed to set their own business rates, in order to encourage businesses to develop. More specifically, TfL’s proposals for the Vauxhall gyratory are ambitious and welcome, and they will do a great deal to invigorate local businesses around Vauxhall Cross.
Local businesses should certainly be given more encouragement, as they are the backbone of our economy and often our communities. However, the Whigs are economically liberal and we do not believe that it should be the role of the Westminster government to intervene and make conditions harder for high street chains in order to promote local businesses.
We should be very proud of our local schools, especially Lansdowne and Michael Tippett Schools. There has been a great deal of investment in Vauxhall’s schools in recent years, and schools such as St Gabriel’s College really do show how decent investment in local schools can improve a whole community. Both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have very sensible policies for education in their manifestos, and we would support either party’s education plan in Government.
Well the only way to do this is to resist cutbacks in local council funding. It is impossible for local councils to do ‘more with less’. Local leisure and cultural opportunities are so important for the quality of life of the least privileged in our society, and it is an outrage that these have been cut in the past five years. Local councils, who often make these cuts unwillingly, should be empowered to raise more funds themselves, for example by being able to set their own council tax bands.
Cycling. Across London, and all UK cities, there needs to be greater investment in cycling infrastructure. In Vauxhall in particular, I believe that a well-resourced and intelligently built Cycle Superhighway 5 will result in lower levels of traffic, which will improve high pollution levels more than anything else could. It will also improve health, and reduce the dreadful fatalities and injuries of cyclists around Vauxhall Cross and near Lambeth Bridge.