Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 17 February to approve £80m of cuts over four years began at 10am – a time recommended by police to avoid the scuffles and smoke bomb of the two previous cuts meetings. The earlier time and a strong police presence seemed to do the trick.
In what Mayor Steve Bullock called a “meeting in public” rather than ” a public meeting” those members of the public entering the Civic Suite were subjected to full body “pat-downs” and a search of belongings. The half a dozen or so protestors who did manage to get into the meeting had to resort to a few desultory shouts plus throwing a number of badly aimed paper planes towards the Cabinet table. After about an hour the protestors decided to leave.
In a meeting that lasted the best part of five hours, the Mayor approved presentations by officers which will lead to £80m of cuts in the borough over the next four years. Telllingly, the Mayor made a number of exceptions to the cuts on the basis of submissions made to him by individuals and groups who attended the meeting.