Latest Stories

Lambeth schools are set to lose an average of £400 per pupil from next year. Cllr Claire Holland says it's vital that we continue to fight Tory education cuts:

Last year, we worked with parents, teachers and local trade unions to oppose huge Tory cuts to Lambeth’s schools. Many parents were extremely concerned about the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds from the budget of their child’s school, due to the Conservative government’s plans to cut funding for Lambeth schools by £24 million.

Sign the petition - protect Lambeth's schools

Lambeth Labour councillors joined hundreds of parents, teachers and local residents at a public meeting at Sunnyhill Primary school last March against these cuts. The Leader of Lambeth Council Cllr Lib Peck spoke at the meeting alongside local MP Helen Hayes, representatives from trade unions and local parents to make clear that we completely oppose cuts to our children’s education.

Over 1000 Lambeth residents signed our petition against the cuts and we spoke to thousands of people on the doorstep across the borough to raise awareness of the cuts. The council submitted detailed responses to the government’s consultations about the cuts and we lobbied the government to think again.


After that extensive campaign, replicated across the country and following significant opposition to the Conservatives during the 2017 General Election as a result of these plans, the Conservative government backed down slightly. 

However, the extra funding announced in July was money taken from elsewhere in the education budget and it has soon become clear that it won’t allow schools to even standstill when ongoing cost pressures and inflation are taken into account.

Indeed, just this week the schools minister was rebuked by the National Statistics Authority for claiming to Parliament that school funding was rising when they have effectively frozen it at a time when schools’ costs continue to rise. It’s a trick we’ve seen Lambeth Conservatives try to pull as well, as they desperately hope that local people won’t realise that a vote for them is a vote for cuts to their local school.

Parents are right to be concerned – independent research on the School Cuts website estimates that Lambeth schools will lose approximately £14 million by 2019/20 – a cut in funding per pupil on average of over £400. Paxton Primary school in Gipsy Hill is estimated to lose £248,000, Bishop Thomas Grant Secondary school is expected to lose £431,000 and Sunny Hill Primary School (where the campaign meeting against these cuts was held last year) is estimated to lose £258,000.

Parents are rightly very concerned and the parent-led Fair Funding for Schools campaign has organised a national day of action with schools next week on 22nd March. We fully support this and we have written to Lambeth schools to set out our concerns about the funding picture.

We will work with parents and teachers to oppose these cuts, which could jeopardise the hard- earned, fantastic improvements that Lambeth schools have made in recent years. If you haven’t already, please sign our petition to oppose these cuts.

Labour believes that our children need investment in their education, not cuts. Sadly, that isn’t a view shared by the Tories in Westminster or in Lambeth. Indeed, the leader of Lambeth Tories criticised parents last year who campaigned against the cuts and their party is fully supportive of taking money away from Lambeth schools.

On 3rd May, residents can vote against Conservative cuts to local schools and for a Labour council which will continue to fight for our children’s education.

Cllr Claire Holland


The threat to Lambeth's schools has not gone away

Lambeth schools are set to lose an average of £400 per pupil from next year. Cllr Claire Holland says it's vital that we continue to fight Tory education cuts: Last...

Helping residents to become more financially resilient is a key part of our approach for a better, fairer Lambeth

As a Labour administration, our commitment to ambition and fairness for all sets us apart from a Tory government that is waging an ideological attack on local government and the most vulnerable in our communities. This is particularly true in relation to benefit cuts, where our residents have been subjected to a dramatic set of reforms to the welfare benefits system driven through by the Conservative government. While no one would argue getting people into work isn't a good thing for society, we in Lambeth fundamentally disagree with the Tories’ wholesale attack on people in receipt of benefits. 

The changes have meant huge cuts in benefits, inadequate support and an increasing refusal to listen to the evidence, particularly as we have seen with the roll-out of universal credit. All of that has created a cruel and unfair system that has forced many people into difficulties and is making the lives of many of our residents worse. Many of them have faced the impact of cuts to their benefits, the introduction of the bedroom tax, the threat of the tenant tax and the arrival of a flawed universal credit system in just a few years.

In the face of that, we have tried as a local council to use our powers, our networks and some funding (despite the 56% cut in our funding from the Tories) to target support at those residents who most need it. The details of this work are set out in a paper to be considered by Lambeth’s cabinet which sets out how we’ve established a relief fund to help struggling families pay their bills and to provide debt and benefits advice services.

In particular, they show that:

  • We’ve helped over 56,000 residents since 2014 to resolve financial problems, develop budgeting skills, and increase their incomes
  • Since 2014 we’ve supported over 400 long term unemployed people into jobs and in total 2,000 people have been helped move towards work, better jobs or a new career.
  • We provided advice on benefits, debt, housing and other issues to 14,900 people last year
  • We helped 4198 people access over £13.5 million in benefits income that they were entitled to but hadn’t received in the last 18 months
  • We helped 401 people who were struggling with council tax debt to avoid a court summons last year
  • We ran over 650 sessions last year in children’s centres to provide advice on benefits, housing, money and debt
  • Trained over 500 Money champions who help people in their community to be more confident with budgeting and money management
  • Our digibuddies scheme trained over 1,300 people last year about how to use the internet to access online benefits services, particularly vital now all such services are moving online
  • Over 2,000 families received emergency support for white goods, furniture, fuel or food assistance in 2016/17
  • We helped over 2,200 people struggling with their housing costs in 2016/17
  • We provided council tax exemptions and discounts to almost 30,000 people, including pensioners, carers and disabled people in 2016/17

Many of these shouldn’t have to be provided – but with government benefit cuts, stalling wages and increased use of services like foodbanks, they represent Lambeth’s welfare safety net – our efforts as a Labour council to protect the most vulnerable. They sit alongside our policies around stopping the use of bailiffs for vulnerable people in debt with their council tax and those we use to prevent evictions, where we have helped over 3,000 families to avoid becoming homeless since 2014.


Cllr McGlone gives evidence about our welfare safety net in Parliament in 2015

Unfortunately, the report before Cabinet also sets out our fears that these challenges could get worse, with the full roll-out of Universal Credit in Lambeth.

We’ve lobbied against that system and provided evidence to the government that the pilots of it were causing more arrears, pushing more people into debt and leading to huge delays in people getting the money that they need. But the government refuse to listen.

We’ll continue to make the case against universal credit and continue to help people receive the advice, support and benefits that they need.

And at the local elections on 3rd May, Lambeth residents have an opportunity to send a message to this government about its cruel and ineffective reforms to benefits and to vote for a Labour council that will continue to ensure that we protect our most vulnerable residents.

Councillor Paul McGlone, Deputy Leader of Lambeth council

Helping residents in the face of Tory cuts

Helping residents to become more financially resilient is a key part of our approach for a better, fairer Lambeth As a Labour administration, our commitment to ambition and fairness for...

'Labour supporters don’t expect miracles but they do expect hard work, decent values and a willingness to stand up for local communities.' Cllr Jim Dickson on Lambeth Labour's record and the choice facing voters on 3 May.

There’s been a revealing exchange of views taking place on the message boards of a popular local online forum over the past couple of weeks. It has the timely subject line ‘Are Lambeth Labour going to voted back in 2018’?

The thread ebbs and flows via discussion of estate regeneration, Brixton Arches and Pop Brixton - a passing mention of the People’s Audit - to a frustrated conclusion that splits on the Left and national trends are likely to mean that an undeserving Labour administration is reelected to run Lambeth council again on May 3rd.


Full marks to those taking part in the debate.  I disagree with the premise and much of what’s said but no one wants the campaign to pass without proper consideration of the Lambeth Labour record over the past 4 years.

Nevertheless, the conversation falls prey to the familiar mistake made by many steeped in the minutiae of council scrutiny reports, the intricacies of annual accounts and the swirl of claim and counter claim on social media. That’s to assume that what voters will be asking themselves on May 3 as they make up their minds are the questions ‘Have Labour councillors got everything right since 2014?’ ‘Have they transformed the big picture items like the Tories’ war on council funding? Or have they fought the pernicious effect of London’s housing markets on inner London communities sufficiently hard?’

I’ve listened to large numbers of residents on the doorstep in my own community of Herne Hill and across the borough since 2014; our local action team has had well over 3,500 conversations during the past 4 years. It’s clear to me that people really want to know something very different in deciding where to place their cross on election day. They are much more likely to be asking themselves ‘Do these people share my values, including the importance of fairness, arguing for quality public services and protecting the most vulnerable?’  They will probably then go on to probe ‘Whether candidates will work hard to deliver on those on these principles?’ ‘Will they fight for the things I care about like providing more affordable homes and decent social care, helping people stay safe, giving kids a strong start and ensuring the public realm is looked after?’

On the doorsteps people understand very well the crippling and constraining effect of austerity on what councils can do.  If local politicians are honest with them about the tough dilemmas a lack of money creates, residents are much more realistic about the choices this generates than the people who pack drafty halls on Thursday evenings to discuss the merits of setting illegal council budgets would ever conceive. 30 years ago a previous set of Labour colleagues attempted the overthrow of capitalism from SW2; their success was confined largely to bankrupting the council and ensuring a legacy of abysmal services for the next decade as a result.  

By contrast people I speak to in Herne Hill are calmly realistic when it’s explained that a loss of £250m of government grant over the past 8 years has meant for instance that £800k has to come off the council library budget. They understand this may well mean that the best way to keep open a library that’s away from one of the busy town centres - such as our much loved Carnegie – is to change the way its run.  There is an acceptance too that there are tradeoffs going on here; against other important funding priorities such as paying the London Living Wage to care workers (and thereby improving the quality of support) or keeping open Lambeth’s 23 outstanding children’s centres (incidentally many more than any other London borough).

The practical good sense of local residents is also seen in action when people consider difficult issues such as parks budgets. It’s readily recognised that adequate funding for our open spaces will be hard to sustain without some extra commercial income.  And it’s understood that this may bring the distinctly uncertain appeal of a large event taking place in the park to raise money. As long as it’s well-managed, results in some tangible local benefits and doesn’t deprive residents of their park for too long, people see that as worth a try; doing so without the ideologically freighted accusation that the park has been ‘privatised’. Above all most recognise that doing nothing (or in the case of Lambeth Greens campaigning against changes without having any costed alternatives) is likely to take us back to the days of neglect for a unique asset like Brockwell Park. In the late 1980s it had fallen into a sad state of semi-dereliction, a notable contrast with the ’top London borough for parks’ accolade recently bestowed on Lambeth for its management of our green spaces.

Fortunately, the Labour administration’s work hasn’t all been about the tortured honesty of difficult choices. With our NHS partners we’ve been radically transforming our mental health services getting early help to people, reduce dependency on acute care and tackling the scandal of unequal access to services; we’ve started to build the borough’s first new homes at council rents in a generation; we’ve tackled head-on the need to regenerate estates and we’ve made reducing obesity, fighting domestic violence and working with partners towards the elimination of HIV key local priorities. Residents’ satisfaction with council services is – at 72% - at a historic high. We’ve started to create the template for a borough focused on single mindedly addressing inequality head on. Our soon to be published manifesto for the next 4 years will challenge us to build on our position amongst the top 5% of boroughs nationally for social mobility, to create a better, fairer Lambeth.

Labour supporters don’t expect miracles but they do expect hard work, decent values, a willingness to stand up for local communities and to explain decisions even when they’re challenging. It’s true that recent polls have looked good for Labour in London but I’m clear we only want another 4 year term if Lambeth residents think we genuinely deserve it. 

Cllr Jim Dickson, Joint Cabinet Member for Healthier & Stronger Communities


What people really want to know when deciding where to place their cross on election day

'Labour supporters don’t expect miracles but they do expect hard work, decent values and a willingness to stand up for local communities.' Cllr Jim Dickson on Lambeth Labour's record and...

More Stories >

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.