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Another jewel in Southwark’s cultural crown

It was wonderful to be at the unveiling of the new premises for the Central School of Ballet in Southwark this morning.

We are immensely lucky locally to already have:

  • World class art at Tate Modern engaging local volunteers;

  • World class museums in the Imperial War Museum and HMS Belfast; and

  • World class theatre at The Globe providing opportunities to Southwark schoolchildren to perform.

Now we can add the world class Central School of Ballet – providing classes for local people as well as A-Levels and degrees for students from across the world. The school has an amazing employment success for its students and aims to open soon – when the final fundraising push has paid for the fitting out of their excellent new site on the corner of Paris Gardens and Colombo Street in SE1.

I look forward to visiting again – and it is an incredibly positive day to see another jewel added to Southwark’s cultural crown!

 

 

 

Another jewel in Southwark’s cultural crown

Another jewel in Southwark’s cultural crown It was wonderful to be at the unveiling of the new premises for the Central School of Ballet in Southwark this morning. We are...

Same speech, different day appears to be the theme for Spring Budget 2017. Brexit is the biggest issue facing the whole country and could bring huge economic damage. Now was the time to ensure the UK is ready for the impact and the Government have missed the boat. The full budget is online here and the BBC analysis is here.

On housing: nothing to tackle the drop in home ownership. Nothing to boost house building to tackle the housing crisis. Nothing to deliver more genuinely affordable homes. Nothing to tackle the growth in homelessness.

On education: nothing to avoid the swingeing cuts about to hit Southwark schools. I asked the Government to help prepare our children for the uncertain future outside the EU. Instead, the Chancellor pressed ahead with those cuts – costing some schools £100,000 a year by 2020. Please help oppose these cuts by adding your name to my petition here

On health and social care: nothing to tackle GP waiting times, ambulance delays and A&E delays in treatment. Social care has been promised some more money – but nowhere need the amount required now to help relieve pressure on the NHS and tackle long term costs.

On broadband: the Chancellor recommitted £16m for 5G mobile technology and £200m for fibre broadband. I will be asking the Government to ensure this reaches all areas of slower speeds/access, including Rotherhithe, rather than just rural areas.

On business rates: the Government announced a slight potential reprieve for Southwark businesses expecting a huge rise in rates – almost 80% in the SE1 postcode. I raised this issue with the Chancellor previously and today he committed £300m to go to councils to mitigate the national rates rise. It is unclear how this will be distributed and what access mechanisms councils will use to support businesses. I will be seeking clarification on these issues as soon as possible.

On employment and welfare: a new ‘tax on the self-employed’ hitting them with a 2% rise in National Insurance contributions. This contravenes a Tory manifesto pledge and comes despite inaction by the Government to tackle rogue employers who abuse workers forced to take on ‘self-employed’ status and denied basic rights on leave, maternity, pension and sick leave. Nothing to tackle the growth of in-work poverty which leaves hundreds of employees in Southwark using the local foodbank. With millions of workers needing tax credits, housing benefits and other state interventions to make ends meet, the Government continues to ignore how taxpayers subsidise an employment market that is no longer working.

Nothing announced to relieve pressure on disabled people with the Government still apparently committed to take support away from over 160,000 PIP claimants after the courts ruled in their favour. 

Another fudge-it Budget

Same speech, different day appears to be the theme for Spring Budget 2017. Brexit is the biggest issue facing the whole country and could bring huge economic damage. Now was...

Today the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published a report on policing saying that the Metropolitan Police Force ‘requires improvement’ and that its effectiveness in protecting people vulnerable from harm and supporting victims was rated ‘inadequate’. This is very worrying. The full report is online here.

The report also says that the Met’s investigation of crime and management of offenders requires improvement. The report found that progress in completing risk assessments for registered sex offenders is too slow and that neighbourhood teams have limited knowledge of these offenders locally and do not monitor or collect intelligence about them routinely.

I have today written to the Borough Commander for Southwark to raise concerns. Over the past seven years under Coalition and current Government, police forces have seen huge cuts to funding which has clearly had a knock-on effect on the ability of forces across the country to provide the service people need. It has been found that there are 700 fewer detectives than the Met requires. Southwark has lost 200 police officers and PCSOs since 2010 with people’s safety and security being undermined in a rush to make ‘efficiency savings’ that leave crimes under-investigated, prosecutions dropping and areas feeling less secure.

My letter to the Borough Commander is below and I hope reassurances can be given.

Policing concerns

Today the Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published a report on policing saying that the Metropolitan Police Force ‘requires improvement’ and that its effectiveness in protecting people vulnerable from harm...

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