New year, new ideas

by Anood Al-Samerai on 1 January, 2012

I’m really proud of the excellent 2011 which Southwark Liberal Democrats have had. From holding our share of the vote in council by-elections; putting forward real alternatives to Labour’s cuts; and proposing excellent new policies about green manufacturing jobs, apprenticeships, parents mentoring, council housing and community councils, we’ve been an extremely effective opposition ensuring that Southwark Labour answer for their wasteful decisions and control freakery!

The new year is always a time to look forwards as well. I am delighted that we’ve tabled motions to council assembly in January which are radical and which will make a real difference to people’s lives. We’re developing policies about the environment which will not only tackle climate change, but also reduce people’s energy bills massively. We are proposing that Southwark  Council should be carbon neutral by 2020. It is completely possible with ambition and commitment and, as one of the main sources of carbon emissions, the council must take a lead in reducing them. If not, Southwark will end up under water and we have to be responsible to future generations.

Local Lib Dems are also really concerned about the lack of ambition in Labour Southwark’s plans for cyclists. Unless the council gets serious about protecting cyclists we’ll never be able to make real progress.

And our council group is also looking, with great interest, at the coalition government’s plans for post offices. Lib Dem Minister, Ed Davey MP, has said that Post Office Ltd should be talking to councils about the post offices in their borough, where the best locations would be and how they can be combined with other services like libraries and police front counters. This is a great opportunity for us to undo some of the damage caused by the Labour government’s closure of post offices in places like the Brandon Estate. This month, I will be meeting with senior officials from Post Office Ltd and with other Lib Dem cllrs to discuss how we can use their services to regenerate shopping areas in our communities.

I became a Liberal Democrat because I am passionate about communities being involved in improving their local areas and protecting our environment. So, as always, there’s lots of work to be done and local Lib Dems continue to work hard, all the year round. We’re always keen to hear ideas from local residents and businesses so please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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