Our Plan for Lewisham
Focus on Education
Taking action on our secondary schools
- Education is probably the area where Labour has failed the most. Six out of Lewisham’s fourteen secondary schools have been rated Inadequate or Needing Improvement.
- Government figures that measure progress from Key Stage 2 to the end of Key Stage 4 rate four Lewisham secondary schools as Well Below Average. This places Lewisham as the second worst borough in the whole of Greater London.
- Lewisham Council is failing to give our secondary schools the support they need.
- This problem is symptomatic of the complacency that has set in under Labour in Lewisham.
- If Lewisham’s primary schools can succeed, why can’t our secondary schools? With Lewisham having so many failing secondary schools, many parents are being forced to send their children to out of borough schools.
- There are people who have experience of turning schools around. Lewisham’s Liberal Democrats will ensure we have a robust plan of action based on advice from the people who know best.
Homes for Lewisham
Labour-run Lewisham Council has failed repeatedly on housing
- Labour has overseen a drop in housing available for social rent in the borough.
- Labour has failed to use money from council home sales to build new homes at social rents.
- Labour has allowed developers to build hundreds of new flats with no affordable housing at social rents. Many of these are luxury flats being sold off to wealthy investors who leave them empty.
- Labour has failed to tackle the issue of empty properties.
- Labour has failed to use available powers to tackle the problem of rogue landlords.
Lewisham’s Liberal Democrats will make housing a priority
- We will ensure the council uses money from the sale of council homes to increase the number of affordable homes for social rent.
- We will ensure Lewisham learns from Lib Dem-run Sutton that has set up a development company to build the homes that are needed in their borough.
- We will stand up to developers and insist that new developments include genuinely affordable homes for rent.
- We will ensure the council uses more Empty Management Dwelling Orders on properties left empty for long periods.
- We will ensure the council has a plan of action to tackle rogue landlords.
- Poor housing and families in bed & breakfast accommodation leads to poor educational attainment and poor health outcomes. Improving housing is key to improving the well being of people in the borough.
A Safer Lewisham
- Labour’s plans to merge Lewisham’s police command with Greenwich and Bexley are the last thing we need.
- We need more community policing to encourage more co-operation from the community.
- Gang violence - especially knife crime - is claiming the lives of too many of our children. Gang violence has been hugely reduced in Scotland. We can do the same here.
- Before adopting a new approach, 15 young people were stabbed to death in Glasgow between 2006-2011. Then Scotland adopted a public health approach to knife crime, in which the police work with those in the health, education and social work sectors to address the problem. Youth workers have been placed in hospital A&E departments to work with young victims in the crucial hours after being stabbed. They provide support and learn vital information that helps to prevent more attacks. The results so far have been dramatic. Between April 2011 - April 2016 not a single young person was killed with a knife in Glasgow. We need to learn from them.
- We also need more innovative youth projects that have been proven to divert young people from crime. The council needs to prioritise funding for these projects.
Improving Our Environment
We can make Lewisham greener and continue to reduce our carbon footprint.
- As a large owner of properties Lewisham Council should introduce renewable energy much more widely. The council should fit solar panels on council and community buildings, including the thousands of homes that are council owned.
- The council should offer interest-free loans to private landlords to do the same. It should also offer to guarantee loans for community energy projects.
- The biggest barrier for many community micro-generation projects is upfront cash. Lewisham Council can overcome this – and it should.
- The council should include renewable energy as a requirement for all new developments.
- The future of transport is no longer seriously disputed – the next generation will be electric. By 2040 it will be against the law to sell a petrol or diesel engine.
- This hasn’t resolved a short term chicken-and-egg problem though. Without chargers there aren’t too many electric cars – and without electric cars there aren’t many chargers.
- Local councils are well-placed to crack it. They don’t have to worry about short term profits and they have the scale to build a big enough network.
- Lewisham’s Liberal Democrats would accelerate the electric transition by installing chargers on every street – and offer Lewisham residents discount rates at the electric pump.
- We would also offer low-interest loans to residents and businesses to help them buy electric cars or vans.
- Lewisham’s recycling rates are far too low. We need an innovative approach to improve this.
- The Liberal Democrats would make recycling an immediate priority – and introduce incentive schemes to push our rate to one of the highest in London.
- We would design a programme with local shops (modelled on Denmark’s innovative scheme) that pays residents a small amount for recycling certain products.
- Stores would tack an extra few pence on the price of an aluminium can, glass bottle or plastic cup – to be recouped when the empties are dropped off at designated drop-points.
- In schools and hospitals, these payments would go to local education budgets and the NHS.
- Lewisham suffers from some of the worst congestion and pollution in London. This is partly due to motorists from Kent driving through the borough into London. We need to address this to protect Lewisham’s school children and improve the quality of the air that they breathe.
- The Mayor of London wants to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to just inside the South Circular. This could result in more congestion as motorists use the South Circular and local residential streets to avoid the zone.
- Chris Maines and the Liberal Democrats want the ULEZ extended all the way out to the M25 to ensure all Lewisham’s residents can benefit from cleaner air.
- The Mayor of London has accepted that the capacity on the DLR needs increasing – Lewisham Council needs to be active in ensuring that happens.
- Chris Maines wants Lewisham Council to be more active in the campaign to extend the Bakerloo line through our borough.
- With Chris Maines as Mayor of Lewisham, Lewisham Council will challenge any attempts to reduce bus services in the borough.
- Chris Maines and Liberal Democrats want more local trains lines transferred to Transport for London and run as part of the London Overground.
- We will campaign to extend the Santander bike hire scheme to Lewisham.
- We support the campaign for a cycling and foot bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf.
Better Local Democracy
- Lewisham is a one-party state. Labour has 53 out of 54 councillors. No-one challenges Labour in Lewisham. Only the Liberal Democrats can bring back democracy to Lewisham.
- The Liberal Democrats are the only party strong enough to have challenged Labour in Lewisham in recent years. We had 17 councillors while the Conservatives had only three.
- Chris Maines and the Liberal Democrats also believe a strong team, instead of an all-powerful mayor, would result in better services for Lewisham’s residents. That's why we will scrap the current mayoral system.