View from Westminster: Remember to take advantage of opportunities offered by council and mayor

Admin (12 April, 2019) Columnists

Neil Coyle, Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP, draws attention to schemes and funds which can improve lives

17223Neil Coyle MP in his Jamaica Road office

Brexit continues to dominate correspondence.

I’m pleased to have strong support from local people in opposing the damage the Prime Minister’s weak proposals would cause.

The number of people asking me to back May is in single figures.

Over 6,000 people have been in touch to oppose Brexit, almost 80% of our borough back Remain and more than 70,000 people in Southwark want to revoke Article 50.

I will keep speaking up for local people on this crucial issue.

Crime and antisocial behaviour continues to rocket up the list of issues local people raise.

I take concerns to local police teams and our Borough Commander. In Parliament I raised tougher sentences for knife crime offenders.

Local families who have lost loved ones tell me longer sentences would be a deterrent as well as encouraging more witnesses to come forward.

I’m setting up a meeting with the Home Secretary for local organisations tackling knife crime.

The Prime Minister claims Brexit is preventing her tackling the national growth in violent crime.

That is a shocking admission: it is not an either/or choice. People deserve a Government capable of tackling all the issues our country faces.

I visited English Martyrs school in Walworth recently. We live in the heart of London and all kids growing up here deserve the best chances in life.

As MP I get to plug chances to improve lives and I was glad to highlight the council’s new ‘Positive Futures Fund’ at English Martyrs.

Organisations can now bid for £15,000 to help provide opportunities that divert young people away from crime. Bids must be drawn up with young people to ensure they are more likely to be effective.

The council fund works alongside that of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who has provided £15 million for the Young Londoners’ Fund (YLF) which is already benefiting people across Southwark, including anti-knife crime workshops.

I am supporting Downside Fisher Youth Club’s application for the next round of funding.

These schemes can be transformative and I encourage more local organisations to apply. I am happy to work with smaller organisations applying for council or City Hall funds – just drop me a line.

Despite losing half its funding from national Government since 2010, Southwark council has also introduced other help for local families.

Free, healthy primary school meals have saved families a fortune. The council has also announced free annual theatre trips for local primary schools to ensure local children benefit from having so many theatres in our borough.

My own Easter plans have been axed due to May’s intransigence over her awful Brexit proposals.

Parliament is sitting over Easter to vote against her again. Her plans are not good enough for our country and she needs to go back to the people with a new proposal.

But I hope families enjoying Easter breaks are aware Southwark residents are entitled to free swimming pool and gym use in council owned facilities, like The Castle.

Just search ‘Southwark free swim’ online to register and dive in!

My daughter Esme turned three last week and with Parliament’s leaky roof letting rain pour into the Commons, perhaps I should take her to work with me in the hope the April showers continue and we can have our swim there!


Neil Coyle is the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency.

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