Southwark Lib Dems Call on Council to Declare Cost-of-Living Emergency by Freezing Council Tax, Extending Free School Meals

The Southwark Liberal Democrats called for the council to declare a cost-of-living emergency on Thursday by freezing council tax and extending free school meals.

In a letter to council leader Cllr Kieron Williams and its Chief Executive Althea Loderick, the group asked for the authority to take urgent steps to address the cost-of-living crisis.

The first requested policy was to declare a cost-of-living emergency to make the crisis the highest political priority for the council.

This includes marshalling resources towards the emergency and undertaking immediate cost-of-living assessments for the most vulnerable residents.

The group’s other two key policies included a call for the authority to commit to a 2022/23 council tax freeze and for the extension of free school meals over the summer.

The council already extended its free school meals provision in October 2020 for the half term due to a sharp rise in child poverty and food insecurity.

Aside from these asks, the group wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing to ask for the government to reinstate lengthier notice periods for tenants facing evictions.

The government had previously extended the period of notice that landlords must give during the pandemic.

Commenting, Cllr Victor Chamberlain, Southwark Liberal Democrat Group Leader said:

“This is one of the most severe cost of living crises in modern times. Southwark residents are having to choose between eating and heating. Southwark Council must take bold and decisive action now to help our residents in this emergency. By declaring a cost-of-living emergency we can use every lever available to help our residents and put appropriate pressure on the Tory government. The administration must listen to Southwark Liberal Democrat demands by freezing council tax in the next financial year and by extending free school meals. The Government must also ensure no-one is quickly forced from their home during an emergency that is no fault of their own.”

ENDS

Contact Pavle Popovic on +442075250451 for more information.   

NOTES

  1. You can view the cost-of-living letter here
  2. The Southwark Liberal Democrats asked the council to ensure that the remaining £11m in its climate emergency fund be prioritised toward projects that will help residents save money and improve energy efficiency.
  3. The letter to the Secretary of State can be found here.