Southwark Council cut its street cleaning budget and team by nearly a fifth in the last ten years, according to Liberal Democrat research released on Friday.
Statistics unearthed by the Southwark Liberal Democrats show that the street cleaning budget fell by 20% from when Labour took control of the council in 2010 to the 2012-13 financial year.
Although street cleaning finances have increased since, the 2021-22 budget remains 21% below 2010-11’s allocation when adjusted for inflation.
Staff cleaning numbers also dropped between 2010 and 2021 by 17%, with 36 less employees working for that council team this year.
The Liberal Democrats discovered this information following correspondence with the authority’s officers and in response to a members’ question at the November council assembly.
At the council assembly, the Southwark Liberal Democrats put forward a motion that proposed hiring more staff in waste management teams.
Labour councillors removed this proposal from the motion via an amendment and voted for the amended version instead.
This was in spite of the fact that government data shows that Southwark Council has the 12th highest number of fly-tipping incidents per 1,000 people in England.
Commenting, Cllr Hamish McCallum, Leader of the Liberal Democrats said:
“Southwark Labour are failing to deliver basic services and are refusing to listen to residents asking for something as simple as emptier bins. These cuts to the council’s budget and street cleaning team are having a direct impact on the cleanliness of our pavements. A democratic council needs to react to its constituents’ concerns. We did that when the Liberal Democrats ran the council and it’s no surprise that Southwark then had the third cleanest streets in London.”
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