Speech to Wandsworth Council, Dec 6, 2017
We love Wandsworth and want to make it an even better place to live.
In May 2018 at the local elections, local people will have the chance to vote for change. To leave behind a tired Tory party that’s run out of ideas and run out of road.
To trust Labour to deliver homes you can truly afford, better care for older people and outstanding schools.
We’ll defend jobs threatened by Brexit – and protect Wandsworth citizens from its negative impact.
We’ll create a listening council. One that puts local people first.
Wandsworth Tories used to run an efficient council. But they have run out of tricks and lost their touch. Let’s look at their record.
Property developers and their lobbyists have an unhealthy level of influence in the Town Hall. They have an unhealthy level of influence over our skylines, and how fast our communities are changing around us.
Wandsworth Tories allowed the developers of Battersea Power Station to cut 250 affordable homes.
Their priorities are just wrong.
When I joined the council in 2010 there were 400 homeless local families in Wandsworth temporary accommodation. That figures is now more than 1,700. This is a disgrace. This homelessness crisis can be tackled, and under a Labour council it will be tackled.
Tory councillors insisted tonight there are no school budget cuts. Tell it to local parents at the school gates!
Wandsworth schools face Tory government cuts of £9m by 2020. This is equivalent to more than 150 teachers.
Local school reserves were run down by £7m last year and funding for Special Educational Needs fell £1m short.
We know of schools not replacing teachers and teaching assistants.
Science equipment has been cut and arts and music lessons reduced.
After-school and pre-school provision has been cut. Parents have been asked for extra financial contributions
We now know the complacency has spread. The council’s own satisfaction survey shows declines in satisfaction with refuse collection, recycling, street cleaning, road maintenance, libraries, planning decisions, and worst declines of all: services for children and teenagers.
We see tired leadership, limited vision.
After 40 years of the same rigid, right-wing doctrine. Time for a change.
So what would Labour do?
Labour will make better use of Wandsworth’s significant financial muscle, to invest for the long term benefit of local people.
We currently have cash balances of some £500m which are earning 1% per annum – below the rate of inflation. You’re managing half a billion pounds and losing money! We can do better.
More affordable housing, better care for older people, more facilities for children.
We’ll lay out detailed policy plans in the coming months so voters can make up their own minds.
They deserve an election about the issues that matter to them: council tax, Brexit, housing, schools and health.
I’ll briefly outline 5 of Wandsworth Labour’s key priorities
1 Keep the same low council tax
Labour will keep council tax low – and extend support for those who struggle to pay
2 Fight the negative impact of Brexit
Defend jobs and businesses threatened by Brexit. Protect the rights of Wandsworth citizens affected by Brexit
3 Build more genuinely affordable homes
End sweetheart deals with developers, tackle the homelessness crisis, get a fair deal for renters
4 Defend local schools from cuts
Make Wandsworth the best place to raise a family. More nursery places and outstanding schools with proper funding
5 Become London’s healthiest borough
Better care for older people, free swimming for children and full support for our NHS
Labour will create the council that modern Wandsworth deserves.
A digitally switched on, family friendly council that pays every worker a fair wage.
Together we’ll make this wonderful, diverse borough the best environment to live, to work and to raise a family in London.