What do most people want from the council? It’s not gimmicks, election bribes and propoganda. It’s simple basic services like clean streets, good lighting and value for money. That’s why the Liberal Democrats prioritise these things every year in our budget proposals. And that’s why we’ve been so concerned about cuts to basic services while Labour finds money for their pet projects and to stash into council reserves.
Having grown up in Southwark, I remember what it was like in the bad old days, after 37 years of Labour neglect. The streets of Camberwell Green were literally knee deep in litter. It was in 2002 when the Lib Dems transformed our borough by finally investing in those basic but essential services like street cleaning. I’m very worried that the last couple of years under Labour have seen a decline backwards – dirty streets and fly tipping is now much more common. Local residents regularly point out to me that they have noticed it as well and it is a real shame. Sadly, it’s the cummulative effects of less street sweeping and fewer rubbish collections. Labour Southwark is also failing miserably on dumped rubbish which is such an eyesore. In the last week alone I’ve been contacted about 3 different areas in Riverside ward where rubbish is being dumped – and not cleared by the council. Thsi is simply not good enough. Lib Dem councillors regularly take up these sorts of issues as we think that is what matters to local residents.
Don’t forget that every time Labour Southwark tell you they can’t afford a service, they were able to find £120k for a VIP wine terrace. Every time they complain about government cuts, remember that they’ve been able to find £8 million for free school lunches – no matter how rich the family. And every time they say they can’t clean our streets properly, they’ve stashed another £5.5 million into the bank account this year. The Labour leader needs to learn that running a council isn’t about getting perks like Olympics tickets – it’s about getting the boring but important things right like clean streets.