A site for residents of Prince's Ward, SE11, in the London Borough of Lambeth. Check for updates from your Labour Action Team's campaigning, local information, and meetings.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Mark takes fight for lower rents to Westminster

Lambeth Council was forced to put up rents this year because of an appalling catalogue of Lib Dem incompetence dating from their time in office from 2002 to 2006 that left the council with too little money to pay for the housing service.
When the Lib Dems were voted out of office in May 2006, they left:
-Housing overspend of £8m
-Zero financial reserves
-£3m missing in the biggest housing fraud in British local government history
-£11m Government subsidy for de-pooling rents and charges unclaimed
-A contract for temporary accommodation that caused a £12m overspend because the housing had to be paid for even after the number of homeless people was reduced by half.
The total Lib Dem financial black hole adds up to £34m.

Even though Labour cut the costs of managing council homes by one third and got them down to the London average, council rents still had to go up to pay off the difference.

Now the Lib Dems have called a special vote at the town hall next week, claiming that the rent rise is "still not enough". Labour will not be supporting this Lib Dem attempt to force through an even higher rent rise.
Instead, Labour councillors and Mark Harrison, Labour's candidate in the Princes Ward by-election, are calling on the Government to step in with some of the cash the Lib Dems failed to claim.

Mark Harrison said: "This year's rent rise was forced on the council by the Lib Dem legacy of fraud and failure, and now they've called a special vote to put rents up even higher. I'm backing calls for the Government to step in and help the council out instead. Why should tenants be left to pay more rent just because Lib Dem incompetence created a £34m black hole in the finances?"

Together with Kate Hoey MP, Mark has already met with Housing Minister Margaret Beckett to argue that Lambeth tenants should have this year’s rent rise reduced.

To read Kate's speech in the House of Commons on Lambeth's rents please click here .

Sunday 26 April 2009

Members and supporters join Labour's campaign

' I've spent this first weekend of the Prince's ward by-election campaign visiting our Labour members and supporters in the ward, to let them know about the campaign and ask them to get involved.

'I've been delighted with the response, with people putting up posters, pledging time, making donations, and signing up to deliver leaflets. People recognise the good work that Labour is doing in beginning the transformation of Lambeth Council, and the importance of having good Labour councillors to stand up for our estates and streets.

'I've really enjoyed this weekend as it's been a chance to speak to the many people in our area who are members of the Labour party. It's reminded me what a fantastic movement the Labour party is- made up of people from every kind of background- but who all share the belief that the Labour party is the force through which we achieve change for the better.

'If you share the values of the Labour party, why not join us?

'If you'd like to find out how to help us in this campaign, please visit the 'get involved' page.

'This picture is from Saturday, and is of me with Akosua Poku, a Labour member from the Vauxhall Gardens Estate.'

Friday 24 April 2009

Mark Harrison selected as Labour candidate for Prince's ward

The Labour party has selected its candidate for the Prince's ward by-election on 4 June. 25 year-old Mark Harrison is a well-known community campaigner, and a resident of the Ethelred Estate.

Mark has lived in Prince's ward for nearly five years. He serves on the Board of the Ethelred Estate Tenant Management Organisation, the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum and the Friends of Vauxhall Spring Gardens. He is a member of the Kennington Association and attends meetings of the Safer Neighbourhoods Panel. He's also been working closely with residents of the Vauxhall Gardens and Vauxhall Five Estates to campaign for much-needed improvements for their areas.

Mark wants to be a councillor who is active in the community, ready to campaign for improvements and stick up for Kennington, Vauxhall, and North Lambeth. He is concerned about the poor services that many tenants and leaseholders receive, and is campaigning for a reduction in this year's rent rise.

Mark hopes to meet as many residents as possible over the next six weeks. To get in touch with him, email markh@lambethlabour.com or call 07534 136085. Mark will be blogging regularly on www.se11.org.uk .

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Your chance to choose a new councillor

Dear Neighbour,

Our fellow councillor, Sam Townend, has decided to resign from the council. That means there will be a by-election on 4th June so you can elect a new councillor to represent you at the town hall.

Sam is stepping down as he is no longer able to devote enough time to represent local people to the best of his ability. Sam and his wife Tamara recently had a new baby, his job as a barrister has become busier, and he has also been selected to stand as an MP in Bristol. With all those new demands on his time, Sam feels it’s right to allow you to choose a new councillor who can commit the time necessary to represent you properly. The by-election will take place on the same day as the European elections so there will be minimal inconvenience and expense to voters and tax payers.

Steve Morgan and Lorna Campbell remain as two of your councillors, but on 4 June you have the chance to vote for a third councillor to work with us. We hope you will vote for the Labour candidate because that’s the only way to guarantee no return to the days of chaos, fraud and 40% council-tax hikes we all suffered when the Lib Dems ran Lambeth Council before 2006.

If you have any questions about the by-election on 4 June, or you need our help with any other council issue that is affecting you then please get in touch with us.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Lorna Campbell

Cllr Steve Morgan

Monday 20 April 2009

Rent rise “not enough” say Lib Dems

Local campaigner Mark Harrison is calling on town hall bosses to think again after tenants on local council estates were hit with a £12-a-week rent rise. But Lib Dems have provoked fury by saying the increase is “still not enough”. Mark, who lives on the Ethelred Estate in Kennington, is calling on Labour Government ministers to step in with financial help to cut the rents.

Lambeth was forced to put up rents after Lib Dem councillors failed to claim an £11m grant while they were in charge at the town hall. This shocking Lib Dem blunder forced rents up to balance the books.

Mark said: 'I’m taking this issue right to the top. I’m going to see the Minister for Housing to explain why the Government must help'. He continued: 'Labour wants to limit the rent rise, but Lib Dems say the increase is not enough! Why should local people suffer just because Lib Dem councillors were so incompetent while they were in charge?”

Friday 10 April 2009

A new mayor for Lambeth: Christopher Wellbelove

Lambeth has elected a new civic Mayor for 2009/10, Cllr Christopher Wellbelove, Labour councillor for Clapham Town ward.

Mayoral duties include representing the borough at official functions, meeting and greeting dignitaries and helping to raise cash for local charities.

The new Mayor plans to use websites like Twitter and Facebook to let people know what he is doing, and hopes that by embracing technology he will be able to give more people an insight into the role.

Councillor Wellbelove said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed being deputy mayor, which has been excellent grounding to prepare me for becoming Mayor. However I am really looking forward to taking the full role. By using some of the free services available on the internet I hope to extend the reach of the Mayoral role to people who otherwise would not come into contact with the mayor or know about the work that the mayor does in the borough. I hope that this will demonstrate that this very traditional role can be modernised whilst retaining some of the traditional aspects which many people value."
The move to embrace modern communication packages has seen a new website created especially for the mayor: http://www.mayoroflambeth.com/ and you can also follow the Mayor through Twitter at www.twitter.com/mayoroflambeth

All in a week's work for SE11 Labour

Last Saturday residents from the Ethelred and Whitgift estates met at Pory Hall for a coffee morning with councillors and Kate Hoey MP. It was a good chance for people to meet their neighbours and chat, discuss some of the problems both estates are facing, and an opportunity for Ethelred TMO board members to update councillors on efforts to get the Council to sort out the estate's CCTV and doors. There is some optimism that the new Lambeth Living Chief Executive is keen to sort the problem out, but there is a still disagreement about the service charge residents will be expected to pay.
On Monday the Vauxhall Gardens Estate Tenants and Residents Association met for the first time in a few months. Major works are underway across the estate, and there was concern that scaffolders are blocking streets and car parks, and that builders are not cleaning up after themselves properly. Mark Harrison offered Labour activists' assistance in taking round a petition against coaches parking on the streets around the estate at weekends, which has been causing a nuisance in the area for several years.
On Tuesday the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum held its quarterly public meeting at the Pedlars Acre Hall in Kennington. There was concern that pavements are being left in a poor state when street lighting is replaced. Complaints were raised against the lack of a review of the Kennington controlled parking sub zone, which Cllr Stephen Morgan promised to take up. There was an update on the Mayor of London's cycle hire scheme - Lambeth will be applying for planning permission for around 30 docking sites in the north of the Borough. John Kazantzis, Lambeth's Cabinet Member for Business, gave a overview of how Labour is trying to help small business in Lambeth through the recession. Finally, Stephen Morgan gave an update on plans for a craft school and museum on the Beaufoy Institute site in Black Prince Road, and plans for a community hub on the old Lilian Baylis School site. Both are progressing well, if slowly.
On the same evening Labour supporters joined members of the Portuguese community at the Casa Madeira restaurant on Albert Embankment for a fantastically-successful fundraising dinner. Leader of Lambeth Council Steve Reed, and London Assembly Member Val Shawcross both practised their Portuguese, to the pleasure and amusement of everybody there.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

NHS waiting times now at their lowest ever

Last week some national news that deserved more coverage than it received was that the NHS has now met the target of cutting waiting times to a maximum of only 18 weeks.

12 years ago waits of up to 18 months were common for many operations. Labour's sustained investment in the NHS has paid off, allowing doctors and nurses to deliver the quality of care that they aspire to.

Promoted by David Amos and Joanne Simpson of Prince's Branch Labour Party (Vauxhall Constituency and Lambeth Borough) all at 264A Rosendale Road, SE24 9DL