Cllr Marianna Masters’ speech at Full council on Wednesday, on how Labour’s budget for Lambeth protects violence against women and girls services and invests additional funding in tackling youth violence.
I’m proud to have been born and lived all my life in Lambeth. Becoming a Lambeth Labour councillor has been for me a great honour but I must be honest and say it is a depressing time to be a councillor anywhere under this level of cuts from the Tory government.
Indeed as the cross-party Local government association has confirmed, “If the government fails to adequately fund local government in the spending review then there is a real risk to the future financial viability of some services and councils.”
What is more likely, as we’ve seen year after year is that we’ll see more cuts for councils that will push them to Breaking Point.
For Labour councillors, that means putting the blame squarely where it lies – at the door of the Tories in Westminster.
And it means it is even more important that we focus on what we can protect.
That’s why I’m proud that Lambeth Labour is protecting violence against women and girls services and investing more in tackling serious youth violence.
My amazing ward colleague Cllr Seedat set out earlier the important work he, Cllr Peck and others have done to make Lambeth at the forefront of the fight to end serious violence and protect our young people. That includes being the first borough to adopt the public health approach after it was used successfully in other parts of the world, most notably in Scotland and the USA.
My daughter, who teaches at Dunraven school, a school not only in the Borough but also in Streatham Wells the ward I was elected, like many recognises that risk factors, such as childhood trauma, a chaotic home life, exclusion from school and neighbourhood poverty and disadvantage can be causes of violence. And it means tackling those underlying causes, in partnership with the community, the police and our NHS.
I’m also proud that Lambeth has been a leader of tackling violence for years – particularly gender based violence which blights the lives of so many women and girls.
Maintaining our 52 refuge beds and supporting more than 1,7000 women last year at Gaia. This centre, which is run on our behalf by domestic violence support charity Refuge, is viewed as model for the rest of the UK. It is a great achievement that this budget protects it putting Labour values into practice.