10 May 2012
Thank you to your paper for opening up a debate about local democracy and the possibility of parish councils in Southwark.
It is telling and sad that Labour's immediate reaction is to angrily scare-monger against any decentralisation of power in our borough.
The local Liberal Democrats are simply asking people if they are interested in the idea of parish councils and, if they agree, to call on the council to carry out a consultation with residents and possibly a referendum.
People are interested in whether something like the old borough of Bermondsey is possible, residents want more say over council decisions that affect them, and people want to stop Labour selling off council homes or allowing developers in some parts of the borough to get away with no affordable homes.
I want less money, not more, spent on council bureaucracy.This idea is all about passing decision making to local communities and that would save money in the long run.
In Westminster residents have voted to pay more council tax to have more local powers, like park management or homework clubs. However, we wouldn't have to have those powers in Southwark and we certainly wouldn't expect residents to pay more without putting it to a vote.
At recent community council meetings residents were really interested in finding out more about what parish councils would actually involve. They wanted to know whether they'd be able to deal with housing, whether they could replace the giant merged community councils Labour are proposing and whether it would be possible to stop local nursery closures through them.
Southwark Lib Dem councillors will be meeting with the people in Queens Park who are in the process of setting up a parish council there. We are excited about the possibility of Southwark residents having more decision making powers as they are the people who know better than a central and controlling town hall.
We will happily report back to residents and to the paper about our progress and we will continue to press Labour Southwark properly to consult about the idea.
Councillor Anood Al-Samerai,
Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat Group.
No comments have been posted.
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