Cllr Lucy Caldicott is the Vice Chair of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee, and a councillor in Stockwell ward.
One of the joys of being a councillor in Lambeth is seeing for myself the pride that council staff take in their work and how much they genuinely want to help our residents. Council officers are public servants through and through. Many of them have been Lambeth residents their whole lives so there is a genuine connection between them and our borough.
That’s why it’s so wrong that people who work tirelessly for our communities have been hit so hard by public sector cuts, not only are they having to do their jobs with less but during these years of Tory austerity they’ve had to make do with pay freezes and the pay rises, when they have come, have been below inflation.
It’s time for that to change.
Lambeth Labour doesn’t just want to celebrate the incredible contribution our staff make to our borough, we want to fight for them to get a fairer deal from central government. They deserve better pay, and better conditions. That’s why we are taking a motion on local government pay backed by the GMB union to October’s Full Council and standing alongside the union movement in their call for a fully funded, proper pay rise for local government workers. I am proud that Lambeth Labour will be backing the GMB’s campaign for pay justice for council workers.
During the decade of austerity and deep Tory cuts, Councils have lost over £16bn in central government funding – which equates to 60p out of every £1 compared with what the last Labour government was spending on local government. Chancellor Sajid Javid’s recent spending round promised an additional £1.8bn of funding for councils – whilst this small amount is nowhere near what is needed to plug the funding gap, maybe it does show that even the Tories are beginning to acknowledge that their cuts have gone too far.
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 Lambeth Labour will keep campaigning to hold this Tory government to account to make sure that they do.
Cllr Lucy Caldicott