Tag Archives: budget

Revolutionary Brixton

Lots of protesting to be done in Brixton in the coming weeks – mostly organised by Lambeth Save our Services and UK Uncut. Please add other events in the comments below and I’ll update as I go:

Saturday 5 Feb: Lambeth Save Our Services will be joining the National Day of Action to Defend Libraries outside Brixton Library in Windrush Square. Sign the petition to save Lambeth Libraries against the cuts here.

Monday 7 Feb: Lambeth Save Our Services again. This time they’ll be protesting against the budget cuts at 6pm outside Lambeth Town Hall, while the council cabinet meets inside.

Wednesday 23 Feb: It’s the day the council decides the budget. Expect demonstrators en masse.




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Lambeth By Numbers

The stats from last night’s Scrutiny Committee:


Amount the council says it will save in 2011/12 through “efficiency savings”


Amount the council will cut from frontline services in 2011/12


Number of posts in the council’s communications team that have been made redundant. The number of full-time equivalent posts has fallen from 43 to 20


Number of posts in the council’s policy, equalities and performance team that have been made redundant. The number of full-time equivalent posts has fallen from 43 to 25


Amount cut from the council’s human resources budget for 2011/12. Last year the budget was £2.8m

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Lambeth Council Scrutiny Committee

Kaye Wiggins reports from last night’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Lambeth Council – councillors, parent governors and church representatives meet to publicly hold Lambeth’s decision-makers to account

Lambeth’s policing, schools, housing, care services and back-to-work programmes will be protected from the council’s £79m in spending cuts, council leader Steve Reed told councillors last night.

At a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee, Reed said the council must save £79m over the next three years because of cuts in its funding from central government. It would announce its final plans for doing this on 23 February, he said.

Reed said he had identified the five areas as priorities that needed to be sheltered from spending cuts.

In practice, he said, this meant the council would make sure there were 100 extra police officers on the beat in 2011/12. It would retain its funding for police community support officers, targeted youth services and support for victims of domestic violence, he said.

Reed also said the council would not change its eligibility criteria for care services and would protect funding for schools, housing and employment services.

“We have saved £24m through efficiency savings,” he said. “To do this we have hollowed out our back office so much that there must be a risk about our ability to deliver frontline services.”

“We can’t protect all vulnerable people, but we’ve chosen to protect the most vulnerable people.”

Reed confirmed that the council would not cut the pay, sick leave and holiday entitlements of council staff. “It is not worth being aggressive with our staff when they are already going through immense pain,” he said.

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2010 – the year in Brixton

Kaye Wiggins reports on 2010 in Brixton – a year of elections, closed leisure centres, happy lido days, rising market rents and a jerk chicken festival.


2010 has been a year of change for Brixton. It has said hello to Windrush Square, Starbucks, Chuka Umunna and the co-op council. Here’s a quick round-up of the bigger stories of the year.

The renamed and re-landscaped Windrush Square opened in February. Lambeth Council said it would “create a safe, high-quality public space reflecting our unique and diverse community.” But critics questioned whether an “expanse of concrete” could really reflect Brixton’s character.

Also in February, the council announced its plans to “go co-op”. It has spent much of the year trying to explain to residents what this means, and gather our thoughts about it, sometimes in unorthodox ways. Asking us to put coloured balls in different bucket and stickers on bits of paper was a memorable example.

But what the council claims is a worse-than-expected budget settlement from central government, announced in October, has brought a sense of urgency to the plans. They are due to come into force from spring 2011.

Sticking with politics, the general election in May saw Labour hold its Streatham, Vauxhall and Dulwich and West Norwood seats. Chuka Umunna replaced Keith Hill in Streatham, Kate Hoey kept her Vauxhall seat and Tessa Jowell held onto Dulwich and West Norwood.

In the local elections, there was a strong showing for Labour, which gained seven seats. The Lib Dems and the Tories each lost three seats.

A plan to temporarily move Streatham’s ice skating rink to the site of the Pope’s Road car park in Brixton caused unrest this year. In October, more than 100 demonstrators marched to Lambeth town hall to protest about it.

The plan also angered traders on Brixton market, who said using the closed car park as an ice rink, rather than reopening it for parking, could cause them to lose more trade. They had been arguing since February that the closure of the car park in December 2009 had affected their trade, and a Freedom of Information request in October added weight to their argument.

Market traders have had a difficult year, warning in September that rent rises could force more of their shops to close. But there was good news in April, when Brixton’s indoor markets were given listed status.

Shopping in Brixton changed a lot in 2010. Whilst several market stalls have closed down, and independent shops like Lori’s Frothy Coffee have struggled, big brands including StarbucksH&MT-Mobile and, most recently, Holland and Barrett, have arrived in the town centre.

But Brixton’s local businesses have had some causes for celebration. The Brixton Pound marked its first birthday in September. And who could forget Charles and Camilla’s surprise visit to the market in July?

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Lambeth Primary Schools and cuts

Primary school league tables for Lambeth were published yesterday. The BBC explains how to read the tables here. It’s interesting to note that 15 Lambeth schools boycotted Sats this year in opposition to the way the data is compiled into league tables, with many claiming that the focus on Sats is to the expense of teaching the broader curriculum. Nationally, faith schools have performed the best and that’s the case in Lambeth too, with Corpus Christi and St John the Divine schools showing the highest average point scores.

And it was announced this week that Lambeth council will have 8.72% cut from its budget, exluding NHS funding for 2011/12. See here for Londonist’s very useful map. And here for Cllr Pete Robbins’ explanation of how the cuts will affect Lambeth.

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