Lib Dems announce budget plans

Southwark Liberal Democrats have announced their two amendments to the Labour budget. 

Both are fully costed and will prioritise funding a specialist Knife-crime unit and a new hub for rough sleepers.

Agenda item 2.1 – Policy and Resources Strategy 2019-20 revenue budget

Amendment A - Police Officers not Press Officers

Moved:            Councillor William Houngbo

Seconded:       Councillor David Noakes

Council Assembly notes that:

  1. It is a tragedy that Southwark has the highest rate of knife crime in London and the Council should take the lead in tackling this issue;[1]
  2. In the past two years, more than 100 Police Officers have disappeared from Southwark’s streets;[2]
  3. A key part of the Council’s response to knife crime must be to increase the number of Police Officers working on our streets.

Council Assembly believes that:

  1. Southwark taxpayers want us to spend money on their priorities rather than on spin doctors, waste and councillor perks which do nothing to improve front-line services;
  2. We should be funding Police Officers not Press Officers.

Insert after paragraph 2:

  1. Council Assembly amends the budget as follows:

 

Insert the following budget line into Appendix 1C (Efficiencies and Improved Use of Resources):

Insert the following budget line into Appendix 1F (Commitments)

·      Reduce communications budget (reduce press officers and cut Southwark Life) £309,000

·      Cut waste and perks (including golden goodbyes and deputy cabinet members) £299,000

·      Make more efficient use of council buildings £392,000

·      Fund extra Police Officers -
£1 million

 

Chief Finance Officer assurance on robustness of budget estimates

Insert after paragraph 19: 

  1. The Strategic Director of Finance, as the statutory section 151 officer, has confirmed that these proposals are legal, implementable and overall do not impact on the total budget requirement for 2019/20 and that subject to the agreement to this amendment by Council Assembly, plans will need to be put in place to review further the communications, back office and staff accommodation budgets across all Council departments. It is assumed that other changes would be implemented with effect from April 2019. In the event of any slippage on savings identified to achieve these plans in 2019/20, contingency included within the base budget would need to be set aside allowing for the plans to be fully implemented in the following year.

[1] https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/justice_matters_knife_crime_-_23_march_2018_-_presentation.pdf

[2] Police Officers in Southwark, Dec 16 – Dec 18: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac/data-and-statistics/policing/workforce-dashboard

 

Agenda item 2.1 – Policy and Resources Strategy 2019-20 revenue budget

Amendment B – A roof over every head

Moved:            Councillor Victor Chamberlain

Seconded:       Councillor Hamish McCallum

Council Assembly notes that:

  1. The number of people sleeping rough on Southwark’s streets has more than doubled since 2014;[1]
  2. Because of the complexity of their personal circumstances, a significant proportion of people who are living on the streets are either not eligible or not able to access the support currently available for rough sleepers in Southwark.

Council Assembly also notes that:

  1. Many private sector rental properties in Southwark do not meet basic standards of habitation;
  2. Other local authorities have introduced a voluntary scheme enabling hotel guests to pay £1 on top of their bill as a contribution to the area which they are visiting.

Council Assembly therefore resolves to:

  1. Introduce a borough-wide licensing scheme to ensure a minimum standard of decent homes is guaranteed to our residents;
  2. Introduce a voluntary scheme enabling hotel visitors to contribute £1 per night they stay in Southwark.

Council Assembly further resolves that the additional funding raised by these two measures be allocated to eliminate rough sleeping in Southwark by:

  1. Working with the voluntary sector to establish a permanent hub which is free at the point of access for people sleeping rough in Southwark who are not eligible or able to access existing support;
  2. Ensuring that this hub offers both immediate respite from rough sleeping as well as access to multidisciplinary, wrap-around support to help people move away from life on the streets on a more permanent basis.

Insert after paragraph 2:

  1. Council Assembly amends the budget as follows:

Insert the following budget line into Appendix  1D (Income)

Insert the following budget line into Appendix 1F (Commitments)

·      Expand property licensing scheme to the entire borough                              - £415k

·      Voluntary visitor contribution scheme                - £85k

·      Work with voluntary sector partners to establish a permanent hub for people sleeping rough in Southwark   - £500k

 

Chief Finance Officer assurance on robustness of budget estimates

Insert after paragraph 19:

  1. The Strategic Director of Finance, as the statutory section 151 officer, has confirmed that these proposals are legal, implementable and overall do not impact on the total budget requirement for 2019/20 and subject to the agreement to this amendment by Council Assembly, plans will need to be put in place to review the current licensing scheme and to implement the voluntary visitor contribution scheme as soon as is practically possible. In the event of any slippage on savings identified to achieve these plans in 2019/20, contingency included within the base budget would need to be set aside allowing for the plans to be fully implemented in the following year.

 

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rough-sleeping-in-england-autumn-2018