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Lambeth’s Labour councillors have achieved a major victory in their campaign to clean up the borough’s air. 

As of today a new clean bus route will operate between Brixton and Streatham, meaning only buses which meet the toughest Euro VI emission standards will be permitted. The Brixton Low Emmission Zone will cover 23 scheduled routes, carrying over 130,000 passengers a day on a total of 450 buses. 

TfL estimate that this will reduce harmful NOx emissions from buses on these routes by around 84%.

In 2016 Lambeth Labour launched the Clean Air for Lambeth campaign, calling on the Mayor to do more to tackle the borough's toxic air problem. One of the key demands was the introduction of a Clean Bus Corridor  on the highly polluted A23. A petition signed by over 1,000 local residents was submitted to City Hall and the campaign paid off when the Mayor announced that Lambeth would become one of the first boroughs in London to get the cleaner, greener buses. Cabinet_clean_air.jpg

2017 has been a year of action against air pollution in Lambeth. Labour councillors have:

The Brixton zone is the second of 12 new Low Emission Bus Zones to be introduced at air quality hotspots. The first zone launched on Putney High Street in March 2017. Already, the route has seen a 90 per cent reduction in hourly pollution exceedances and early analysis suggests a significant reduction in annual NO2 concentrations at Putney High Street.

Cllr Lib Peck said:

“Having a clean bus corridor through the heart of our borough is something we’ve been campaigning for for a long time and I’m delighted that the Mayor has implemented this.  Poor air quality is a killer, there is no doubt about that, and we are determined here in Lambeth to do all we can to tackle pollution and improve the air we breathe. This is an issue that needs us all to work together and I’m encouraged by the Mayor’s commitment to do just that.”

Cllr Brathwaite said:

“Air pollution in our city is a killer and it is something that here in Lambeth we are determined to tackle.  We started the campaign for clean buses over two years ago and I’m delighted that this Mayor has listened and acted to improve our air quality.

“We are working hard every day to improve air quality through our borough, particularly looking at protecting our children and elderly people, and making it easier and more pleasant to cycle in Lambeth, rather than use cars.

Major victory for Clean Air Campaign

Lambeth’s Labour councillors have achieved a major victory in their campaign to clean up the borough’s air. 

Following negotiations with Lambeth’s Labour Council, the company responsible for Lambeth’s waste and street cleaning service has agreed to pay staff the Living Wage. 

The decision means 160 Veolia employees, 45% of whom live in the borough will see their pay go up to the Living Wage of £10.20 per hour from April next year. 

Paying the Living Wage was identified as a key way to improve life chances and social mobility in yesterday's State of the Nation report by the Social Mobility Commission - which placed Lambeth in the top 5% of all local authorities

Since 2012 all Lambeth staff have been paid at or above this rate – and Lambeth has gone further than many other councils by requiring contractors to do the same. Currently 99% of contracts pay the London Living Wage with the ambition for full coverage coming closer. 

 Living-wage.jpg

Lambeth's successes also include getting all 30 of the council's adult social care providers to pay the wage to their employees. As a result 2,217 care workers, three quarters of whom live in Lambeth now receive a rate of pay that reflects the importance of the work they do.

The realities of income inequality emerged as a key theme in Lambeth’s Equality Commission, held earlier this year. Amongst the key findings were that black residents were are four times more likely to be unemployed than white residents and that people from the Portugese community are almost four times as likely to be paid below the Living Wage.

The Commission's ambitious recommendations will be implemented over the next 12 - 18 months and include targeting extra help at children in the greatest need, pushing private firms to offer an apprenticeship programme for groups who have been excluded from the jobs market and campaigning for all local employers to sign up to the London Living Wage

While the Government claimed to have introduced a 'National Living Wage' in 2016, the reality - as confirmed by the Living Wage Foundation - is that at £7.50 per hour it does not meet families' needs.  By contrast, the rate paid by Lambeth is a genuine Living Wage, independently calculated by the Living Wage Foundation and based on what people need to get by.

Continuing efforts to tackle entrenched low pay have seen Lambeth Labour take on zero hours contracts and campaign and 'scrap the cap' by ending the decade long public sector pay freeze. Councillors passed a motion at full council earlier this year in response to the average 21% pay cut suffered by local authority workers since the Tory-led Government froze pay in 2010 and called for an immediate lifting of the cap across the whole public sector.

Nationally, Labour is committed to bringing in a 20 point plan to improve security and equality at work, which will see zero hours contracts banned, the Trade Union Act repealed and the Minimum Wage increased to the level to the Living Wage by 2020. 

Pay boost for Lambeth's refuse workers

Following negotiations with Lambeth’s Labour Council, the company responsible for Lambeth’s waste and street cleaning service has agreed to pay staff the Living Wage. 

Chancellor’s Budget fails the Lambeth test

The Chancellor had a crucial opportunity in yesterday’s Budget to make a difference to the lives of Lambeth residents.  Earlier this week, I set out the key priorities that matter to our residents, priorities that Lambeth Labour councillors have heard on the doorstep, in community meetings and in conversations that are happening throughout the borough.image.png

 People in Lambeth have been clear to us that they want genuinely affordable housing, council homes that have first rate fire safety, an end to the universal credit fiasco and investment in our young people. So how did the Chancellor do against these key asks from Lambeth residents?

Housing:

Chancellor’s score: FAIL

This was a classic example of the Tories misunderstanding the reasons for the housing crisis. The changes to stamp duty will deliver no real benefit to people in Lambeth looking to get on the property ladder given the rising level of house prices.

On house building, Lambeth Labour is committed to building 1,000 new homes at social rent, including the first directly delivered council homes in Lambeth in a generation. But our attempts to provide more homes are increasingly hamstrung by government rules. We asked the Chancellor to allow us to use money from right-to-buy sales to build replacement affordable homes, but he said nothing. And the government are now reneging on promises to fund the £3.1 million bill for urgent safety work carried out in Lambeth in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.  

Education

Chancellor’s score: FAIL

School funding and early years investment was barely mentioned in the budget, with no new funds announced. Like adult social care and council funding, there was little sign of respite for these under pressure services.

A campaign by Labour councillors helped suspend devastating Tory cuts to local schools earlier this year, but many still face the prospect cuts over the next few years, which could see less teachers, less investment in buildings and less support for children who need extra help in the classroom.

We will now renew our efforts to protect Lambeth schools as well as oppose planned Tory cuts which place our excellent children’s centres and other early year’s services at risk.

Welfare

Chancellor’s score: FAIL

Despite the chaos being caused by the rollout of the universal credit system, the government said it would only cut the wait time for vulnerable residents and their families to receive their benefits by seven days. This will still leave many facing up to 4-5 weeks without financial support. The Chancellor ignored the evidence from every part of the country that this roll-out is simply not working and the policy is not fit for purpose.

The Chancellor also failed to lift the pay cap that affects thousands of public sector workers throughout Lambeth, which we called for last month.  

Sadly yesterday, we saw once again that this government won’t stand up for our residents on the issues they care about. We’ll continue to put pressure on the government to protect our most vulnerable residents, to let us build more genuinely affordable homes and to invest in our young people. But we know that we need a Labour government to really deliver for Lambeth residents and a Labour council to stand up for them.

At the local elections next May, there will be a clear choice, between a local Labour party that is fair and ambitious for all, and a Tory party stuck to a cruel mantra of austerity that delivers nothing for the people of Lambeth.

 

Cllr Lib Peck

Leader of Lambeth Council 

Chancellor’s Budget fails the Lambeth test

Chancellor’s Budget fails the Lambeth test The Chancellor had a crucial opportunity in yesterday’s Budget to make a difference to the lives of Lambeth residents.  Earlier this week, I set...

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