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Gipsy Hill Councillor Luke Murphy blogs on Lambeth Labour’s successful record in tackling the housing crisis, despite the Tory government’s failed policies.

London is one of the greatest cities in the world to live and there are few better places to live in the capital than in my home borough of Lambeth. Stretching from the banks of the Thames in the north to Gipsy Hill in the south, the ward where I live and represent as a councillor, Lambeth is one of the most diverse and open places on the planet. People from all over the world come to build a life for themselves and their families.


Two generations of my family built their lives in Lambeth, with my nan bringing up my mum and uncle on the Tulse Hill estate before later moving to the Berridge Road Estate which is just a short walk from where I live now. My family was lucky to have benefited from the stability that council housing can provide.

Increasingly though, living in Lambeth and London has become more expensive and difficult for those on low and middle incomes. The success of our capital has meant that more and more people want to live here, and that’s a good thing, but it’s been clear for some time that our housing market isn’t delivering the homes that our communities need.

A responsible government would have taken decisive action to build the thousands of additional decent and affordable homes that communities like those in West Norwood and Gipsy Hill need. However, since 2010, the Conservatives have taken exactly the wrong approach. Their first act on taking power was to cut the affordable homes budget by 60 per cent. Not content with cutting the budget to build new affordable homes, they slashed the Decent Homes budget which was aimed at improving the quality of existing ones. Moreover, the Tories have allowed developers to get out of their obligations to build affordable homes as part of their developments, weakened powers for councils to improve private renting and undermined the safety net by cutting benefits and introducing the chaotic Universal Credit which is already making many people’s lives a misery.

It’s no wonder that on this government’s watch, we’ve seen home ownership go into freefall, the affordability crisis worsen, increasing overcrowding, and rising levels of homelessness and rough sleeping. The Tories' record on housing is one of failure.

Despite this, Lambeth Labour has been fighting against the Tories' failure to provide decent and affordable homes for all. We are building 1,000 homes at council rent for local families, delivering the first new council homes in a generation. Unlike the government, we’ve also got tough with private developers, introducing new rules to stop them dodging their obligations to build affordable homes.

But we want to do even more, that’s why we’ve set up Homes for Lambeth, a 100 per cent council-owned not-for-profit company. We will use council land, infill on estates and rebuilding others that are of poor quality and which the council cannot afford to refurbish, to build a new generation of the highest quality social housing for local families and homes for private renters with long-term tenancies.

These decisions have not been easy but we’re committed to rebuilding those estates with no loss of social housing, building additional homes at council rent, providing a new home for every existing council tenant (you can find our key guarantees to residents here) and doing all of this without private developers. We’ve worked hard with tenants and leaseholders to make rebuilding our estates fair to our existing residents, and offering the hope of a new home to Lambeth’s homeless families and those in housing need.

We’ve also spent one of the largest sums in the country on improving the standard of our existing council housing stock in Lambeth over the past six years. Many council estates have been fully refurbished, with tenants receiving new kitchens, bathrooms, windows and doors -- making sure homes are warm, dry and safe.

We also have a strong track record in improving private renting, clamping down on rogue landlords and those who put tenants at risk with dangerous overcrowding or substandard accommodation. But with the sector growing rapidly across Lambeth and London, we know we need to do more, so we will be using the full range of our powers to improve life for our private renters.

We can’t solve Lambeth’s housing crisis alone; we need a Labour government for that. And if Labour got into government it is committed to building 100,000 new council homes a year, introducing longer tenancies in the private rented sector and capping rent rises and to provide a well-funded safety net for all, driving down homelessness and rough sleeping. But I know that Lambeth Labour has a record on housing to be proud of and if we’re re-elected in May I know all Labour councillors will be working even harder to ensure that everyone in our borough has a decent and affordable place to call home.

Cllr Luke Murphy, Labour Councillor for Gipsy Hill ward

Only Labour has a plan to provide decent and affordable homes for all

Gipsy Hill Councillor Luke Murphy blogs on Lambeth Labour’s successful record in tackling the housing crisis, despite the Tory government’s failed policies.

After years of campaigning by local residents and Labour councillors, work has started on a new, safer St. Leonard's Junction in Streatham, to be completed by the end of March.

The notorious crossing on the A23 near the Manna bookshop has seen many accidents, two tragically fatal, and has rightly been the subject of vocal concern amongst from people in St Leonard’s.

Stephen Donnelly, Cllr Robert Hill and Cllr Saleha Jaffer of the St Leonard's Labour Action Team have worked with local MP Chuka Ummuna, Streatham Action and residents to press Transport for London to improve the poorly designed intersection. Thanks to these efforts, construction began in February on a major upgrade which will see a new pedestrian crossing in place, along with a number of other improvements.

Stephen, Robert and Saleha said: “We would like to thank all the resident groups and organisations who have worked with us over a number of years to get this dreadful junction improved. Across Lambeth, many dangerous junctions are being redesigned and improved, part of Labour's commitment to improving safety for all Lambeth residents. 

Get in touch with your local Labour team to tell us what you think of improvements to the St Leonard's Junction. 


Stephen Donnelly, Cllr Saleha Jaffer and Cllr Robert Hill at St Leonard's Junction 



Labour Team Hails Safer Junction Improvements In Streatham

After years of campaigning by local residents and Labour councillors, work has started on a new, safer St. Leonard's Junction in Streatham, to be completed by the end of March....

An ambitious new approach to tackling youth violence in Lambeth is set to be agreed by cabinet tonight

The council and partners have committed to a simple vision, that - "Young people in Lambeth should be free from violence" - for this generation and the next.

The outline strategy already agreed by statutory and community partners will mean reducing serious youth violence becomes a collective priority in terms of resource, outcomes and most importantly seeks brighter futures for children who would otherwise have been victims or perpetrators of violence.


Last year in London there were 12,074 knife crime incidents, up from just over 9,000 the year before and 24 teenagers lost their lives in stabbings or shooting incidents. On new year's eve, whilst millions were celebrating the onset of 2018, a young boy lost his life to mindless violence on a Lambeth street.

Led by Cllr Mohammed Seedat, Lambeth Council’s response aims to “coordinate the work and investment of statutory agencies and the community. It will be led by the community, and focus not just on the immediate crisis but more importantly how we prevent the next generation of young people from becoming involved. This is an ambitious vision which will take many years to fully materialise. But this first step must be taken.”

The issue of serious youth violence is particularly acute in Lambeth, which suffered 7,000 crimes over a ten year period - the highest volume in London.

One of the core aims of the outline strategy is to improve coordination and collaboration between the multitude of agencies and community groups who deal with the effects of youth crime. For the first time, all council departments will be brought round the same table as the police, Safer Neighbourhood Board, the Young Lambeth Co-op and health groups such as Black Thrive. The aim to collaborate systematically and share better intelligence will result in safer Lambeth communities.

Underpinning all of this will be the adoption of a ‘public health approach’ - at its most basic interpretation this is treating violence as an illness that can be cured if the tell-tale signs are detected early enough and then acted upon.

For example, a 2014 study suggested 91% of all sentenced children present in a Youth Offending Service had suffered childhood trauma in the form of loss or abuse [pdf].

That is why the outline strategy seeks to complement the investment already undertaken by Lambeth Council: in supporting women fleeing domestic violence, working with families of girls at risk of grooming (child sexual exploitation), rehabilitating women offenders [pdf], investing £12 million per year in the broad range of mental health services provided by the innovative Living Well Network Alliance and ensuring Lambeth’s 23 children’s centres remain open (and well used) so all Lambeth children can have the best start in life.

It also means looking at ways to curb the influence of peer groups as well as tackling ‘socio-health’ factors including the prevalence of poverty and deprivation when considering which children are likely to be involved in criminality.

Given the prevalence of youth violence on council & housing association estates, a further aspect of Lambeth’s plan will be the development of ‘estate-based local plans’. Working with residents and housing organisations, bespoke action plans for each estate where violence has been identified as a concern will be drawn up.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick has endorsed this approach, arguing that “this is something that goes beyond the Home Office, way beyond policing. It is a public health issue, it’s an epidemic.”

So too has local MP Chuka Umunna who said: “This is an issue which the whole of our society needs to tackle - not just as a criminal justice issue but also one of mental health, community cohesion and social integration.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has also recognised the importance of working with communities to intervene early in a child's life. His recently announced "Young Londoners Fund" will support education, sport and cultural activities targeted at disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.

Drawing on the success of the Gang Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow, whose public health approach helped halve violent offending amongst those taking part, councillors hope this will be the first steps in realising the vision set out on the first line of the strategy that “Young people in Lambeth should be free of violence”.

Tackling youth violence

An ambitious new approach to tackling youth violence in Lambeth is set to be agreed by cabinet tonight

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