We have had seven years of Budgets from Tories and their Lib Dem Treasury friends.
Budgets that have seen Southwark lose out considerably: in funding for adequate, genuinely affordable housing; in police numbers; in resourcing our council; and in a wasteful reorganisation of our NHS that has caused the crisis we now see writ large. GP, ambulance, A&E and hospital discharge waiting times are all rocketing. I am nervous that Southwark stands to be hit again by an uncaring and incompetent administration.
I have asked the Chancellor to stop Southwark businesses being hit with an average jump of 40% in business rates – with some in SE1 seeing an 80% hike. Businesses are already experiencing uncertainty over Brexit and have seen the Government increase charges like the apprenticeship levy and national insurance contributions. The latest nationally controlled cost should not put Southwark businesses at risk. The Federation of Small Businesses have warned that London is in ‘serious danger of losing its vital support system of micro and small businesses’.
Businesses have also been hit by a failure to ensure adequate policing. Southwark police work hard but have been undermined by the loss of 200 officers and PCSOs since 2010. Commercial burglaries and a rise in crimes targeting some business customers have been a result of the police being overstretched. It is an outrage and a condemnation of seven years of Tory/Lib Dem policing measures that officers are now left to choose between crimes to investigate rather than trying to tackle all incidents as the HMIC reported last week.
I’ve also asked the Education Secretary to stop Southwark schools losing £5 million in Government funding. My petition to oppose Government cuts to our school budgets is online, please sign up at: www.boslabour.org.uk/stop_tory_education_cuts.
In more positive news, congratulations to London South Bank University on its 125th anniversary!
LSBU has helped transform thousands of lives and makes a huge contribution locally and well beyond Southwark – with strong partnership work recognised as far afield as China. I introduced an Early Day Motion in Parliament to commend and recognise their fantastic achievement: here’s to another 125 years!