‘The council has been on your side’

Admin (23 February, 2022)

By Kieron Williams – Southwark Council leader

46558Southwark Council leader Kieron Williams

Throughout the pandemic, Labour has been on your side.

On your side helping you get the vaccine. On your side through our Community Support Alliance helping over 70,000 residents get food, medicine and other support that they need. On your side protecting jobs through over £120 million of support for local businesses.  And on your side ensuring young people in the borough had the laptops they needed to continue to learn safely.

The way that our community has come together and supported each other through such challenging times has been truly inspiring.

It is therefore even more disappointing that those who were in power and making the rules were not only breaking them, but also had the audacity to try to cover it up. As residents in Southwark and across the country suffered real heartbreak, lost loved ones and missed the chance to say goodbyes, No. 10 partied.

And whilst in Southwark your Labour-run council ensured all of our care homes and schools had the PPE they need, the Conservative government were wasting £8.7 billion of taxpayers – your – money on PPE that was unusable or wildly overpriced, buying much of it through dodgy contracts with their friends, family and local pub landlords. That £8.7 billion that they have had to right off would be enough to fund Southwark Council for the next 27 years!

I know many of you will be as angry as I am, but as the government focuses on trying to save the Prime Minister’s skin, Southwark Council will be focusing on the things that matter to our local residents.

Many residents will be worried about rising energy bills, which are another burden on the already rising cost of living. The council has launched the Southwark Energy Fund supporting struggling families with one off payments, which has already provided support to over 9,000 residents. We are doing what we can as a council, but the reality is that this will not be enough to prevent many residents facing fuel poverty. Especially after the government cut universal credit for thousands Southwark residents. That’s why, alongside local community groups, we are campaigning for the urgent national action needed to tackle the cost of living crisis.

I would like to thank Citizens Advice Southwark, Southwark Pensioners Centre, PECAN and Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations for joining our call to government to put measures in place to tackle the cost of living crisis. Joining forces as the council and community allows us to more effectively make the case and hopefully force the government to take action on this urgent issue. No one should have to choose between heating their home and feeding their family, so we will continue to do everything in our power to support our most vulnerable residents, while also pushing government to do more too.

I know that many people across the borough have faced significant delays to their post due to ongoing issues with the postal service. This is causing huge issues for residents and can have serious consequences, from delayed benefits and pensions letters to missed NHS appointments. I appreciate that Royal Mail has faced challenges as a result of the pandemic, but it is not acceptable that hundreds of residents are still facing significant delays to their post. That is why I have written to the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Mail to request an urgent meeting to discuss your concerns and press the Royal Mail to find a solution.

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