Cllr Jim Dickson’s speech to full council on Wednesday 17 October in support of our motion supporting a fully funded, proper pay rise for local government workers. Cllr Dickson is the Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector & Patnerships, and a councillor in Herne Hill ward.
“I want to start by paying tribute to the incredible staff that make Lambeth Council so brilliant, every single one of them changing lives for the better in our borough on a daily basis. Our workers are public service super heroes – they keep the borough beautiful, look after those in need and create opportunities for people to live a life full of potential. Many of our council workers are Lambeth residents, and have been their whole lives, so they have a strong connection with our borough, and a stake in its future.
That is why it is unforgiveable that the people who work tirelessly, going above and beyond for our communities have been hit so hard by 10 years of Tory austerity. Not only is the government asking our staff to do their jobs with much diminished resources, but they ask them to do it through years of pay freezes. When pay rises have come, they have been below inflation.
Simply, this cannot be allowed to continue. It is time for serious change.
We do not want to just celebrate the amazing contribution that our staff make to Lambeth. We want to fight for them, to fight alongside them, to get a fairer deal from central government. Council workers deserve better pay, and better conditions than this failing Tory government are willing to give them.
That’s why we have brought this motion on local government pay, backed by the GMB Union, to full council tonight. We are standing alongside the trade union movement in their call for a fully funded, proper pay rise for local government workers. I am proud to be supporting this motion today.
Over almost 10 years of relentless Tory cuts, local government has lost over £16bn in central government funding. That equates to 60p out of every £1 compared with what Labour was spending on local government back in 2010! At the Chancellor’s recent spending round, he promised an additional £1.8bn of funding for councils. Even the Tories are beginning to realise that year after year of savage cuts have gone too far. Whilst we of course welcome this injection of funding – let me be very clear: This goes nowhere near plugging the gap that exists. More is needed, and it’s needed now.
Now is the time for the Government to reinvest in our local authorities so that they can continue to deliver the vital services that our communities need, like adult social care and children’s services, without operating on a shoestring budget. And as Lambeth councillors, we will be holding this Tory government to account to make sure that they do.”
Cllr Jim Dickson