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Tag: mayor

Very, very small riot breaks out as Mayor approves cuts

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.

Lewisham Mayor’s February newsletter

Celebrating apprentices

I got a taste of the role of a sports coach apprentice, training pupils from Kelvin Grove Primary school in football skills, to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week (7-11 February).

Later in the week 36 Lewisham apprentices graduated in a special ceremony held at the Town Hall. Their graduation was the culmination of two years of hard work on the job and in the classroom. Every one of them is an absolute inspiration to others, and a great advertisement for what young people in Lewisham can achieve.

 Go to Millwall’s website to see the apprentices (and me) in action.
 The search for Lewisham’s local leaders  

I’m delighted that the Council will again be teaming up with Operation Black Vote to run a second Civic Leadership Programme to nurture Lewisham’s future leaders. The project aims to increase Black and Minority Ethnic participation in all areas of civic and public life. This unique scheme gives individuals from under-represented parts of the community the opportunity to develop the skills that will enable them to take up key roles in public life. We’ve already seen some extremely talented individuals emerge from the scheme and I encourage others who also want to help build even stronger communities to get involved. 

Remembering Ron 

Last week I attended the funeral of Cllr Ron Stockbridge. Ron was a great servant to Lewisham and he will be missed by his many friends all across the borough. I feel Ron’s passing personally as he was one of the first councillors I got to know after being elected in 1982. 

Ron was someone to whom we younger councillors looked to leadership and inspiration. He was Leader of the Council from 1984-1985 during the most difficult year Lewisham has ever experienced as a council. The fact that he continued to serve his borough for so many years afterwards is testimony to Ron’s decency and commitment. His good humour and friendship will be sorely missed – it is hard to think of Lewisham without him.

 Budget update 

Mayor and Cabinet will meet on 17 February to consider final recommendations on the budget. Savings totalling some £8.8m will be considered by Mayor and Cabinet. More than half of these would be achieved by making the Council more efficient. The Council continues to protect services to the most vulnerable as much as possible – 6.5 per cent of savings come from services that protect children and 5.5 per cent come from services that care for adults and older people. Decisions on the budget continue to be informed by the results of consultation with the public (including Our Lewisham, Our Say) and with service users and stakeholders. Full Council will meet on 1 March to set the budget.

Lewisham Life to your inbox

 As part of our budget savings we are reducing the number of issues of the Lewisham Life magazine that we print. However, we will be transforming this enewsletter into the Lewisham Life monthly

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham
More about the Mayor

Lewisham’s Mayor – January enewsletter

As I mentioned in my last e-news before Christmas we will be reducing the number issues of Lewisham Life this year. The Council will be supplementing the printed editions of the magazine with a much improved electronic newsletter, which we will launch in April. This will highlight important news and service updates and help you get the very best out of living, working and learning in Lewisham.

 New Cross Fire

Tuesday 18 January marks the 30th anniversary of the New Cross Fire, one of the most tragic and painful events in Lewisham’s history, which resulted in the loss of the lives of 14 young people.

A number of events are taking place to commemorate this significant anniversary. A special memorial service will take place at St Andrew’s Church in Brockley on Sunday 16 January and it will be my honour to lead the borough in remembering the victims of the fire at this event. On 18 January, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled at the site of the fire – 439 New Cross Road, SE14.

In 2006 I established a lasting memorial to the young victims of the fire. The annual New Cross Bursary Scheme helps two young people achieve their potential at university, something, tragically denied to the fire victims. Each year the bursaries are awarded to Lewisham educated students to support them through their study at Goldsmiths, University of London. The latest recipients will be receiving their bursaries at a special ceremony at Goldsmiths on 18 January.

The memorial service, the plaque unveiling and the bursary scheme are all significant ways that will ensure we continue to remember and I hope all residents will join me in remembering and reflecting upon these tragic events.

More new schools

During these difficult times it’s a welcome change to let you know about a good news story. Unlike many other local authorities the Building Schools for the Future programme was not cancelled in Lewisham due to the fact that we were so advanced in the scheme. Just before Christmas contracts were signed as we reached financial close on the fourth phase of the scheme.

The signing of these contracts means that work will begin this year on building a brand new special school for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), a new all-age school (Prendergast Vale College), and the rebuilding of two secondary schools, Bonus Pastor Catholic College and Prendergast Hilly Fields College. I remain determined to provide our younger residents the facilities they need to achieve their goals and aspirations. I look forward to keeping you updated  on these exciting developments.

Lewisham has to find an extra £13m in cuts

The results of the complex settlement made by the Department for Communities and Local Government means that LBL has to find an extra £13m in cuts over and above the £60m it has already budgeted for.

Lewisham’s Mayor Steve Bullock announced this depressing news in his recent mayoral E-newsletter – see the key paragraph below:

“The Council had been planning to have to reduce its budget by £60 million over the next three years. Following the recent announcement, it now seems it will be forced to find a massive £89 million over the coming four years. Next year alone it is facing a reduction of £33 million.
These figures add up to the greatest financial challenge the Council has ever had to face. So far we have been able to meet most of our savings through efficiencies and have protected services to the most vulnerable. We had been expecting to reduce our budget by around £20 million next year now we know we have to increase that amount by a further £13 million.”

For the Mayor’s full message see 



Message from Mayor of Lewisham

This year has been tough for Lewisham residents. We all know the economy is about people’s lives, not mere numbers. It’s about people having a job, the ability to look after their family and to feel secure in their homes and on the street.

This has been a difficult year for everyone involved in public service in Lewisham. The effects of the cuts to public spending have affected us all and we know now that we face an even more testing time in 2011. However our commitment to Lewisham and the strength of our community means that we will be able to come through this together and ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community continue to be supported not only in the cold of winter but throughout the year.

Government spending cuts

Lewisham Council is absorbing the true scale of the spending cuts it is faced with following the Government’s announcement of the money it proposes to give local councils over the next two years.

The Council had been planning to have to reduce its budget by £60 million over the next three years. Following the recent announcement, it now seems it will be forced to find a massive £89 million over the coming four years. Next year alone it is facing a reduction of £33 million.

These figures add up to the greatest financial challenge the Council has ever had to face. So far we have been able to meet most of our savings through efficiencies and have protected services to the most vulnerable. We had been expecting to reduce our budget by around £20 million next year – now we know we have to increase that amount by a further £13 million.

We will continue to do what we can to reduce the Council’s costs, like, for example, with our innovative IT procurement deal done in partnership with Bromley Council that is saving us around £1.5 million a year. I will also continue to prioritise services for vulnerable adults and children and young people.

We will, inevitably, have to shrink the size and scope of the Council and seriously consider what services we continue to provide and how we provide them.

It is still not clear how all the grants to the Council from central Government will be affected. The Council has until 17 January 2011 to respond to the Government’s provisional settlement.
My Space funding secured
My Space is a state-of-the-art youth centre for 13–19 year olds that was proposed for Sydenham. The future of the centre that was to be based on Wells Park Road has been in some doubt over the last few months and I have written and lobbied ministers on numerous occasions for this great scheme not to be dropped.

Much to my surprise this week we received a letter from the Minister confirming that funding for the scheme would not be cut. This youth-led project will benefit young people aged 13–19 in Bellingham, Sydenham and Forest Hill, particularly young people with disabilities, teenage parents, homeless young people, those at risk of crime and young carers. We are still awaiting this good news to be confirmed by the relevant department but I can’t see any problems now that we have the letter.

Children’s services – good news
Ofsted has judged Lewisham’s children’s services to be performing excellently, the highest rating that can be achieved, for the second year running.

The annual children’s services assessment examined how well Lewisham children and young people were served across education, childcare, child protection and a range of related services. Ofsted found that a very large majority of services, settings and institutions are “good or better” at helping young people to be healthy and stay safe, achieve academically, and at providing opportunities for them to do well and enjoy their learning.

D-Day for Lewisham council cuts

Lewisham is facing cuts from its budget amounting to between £50-60m over the next three financial years. At the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on the 17 November the Mayor and Cabinet is expected to approve the first tranche of these cuts – £19.78m over three years plus a further £12.7m savings where consultation with staff and public are currently taking place.


A decision on closing five Lewisham libraries has been postponed for two months pending further investigations on “alternative community library proposals” and the cost of moving to these alternatives (see ).

Here are some of the cuts expected to be approved at the meeting:

  •  Severely cutting the borough’s economic development unit with the loss of 22 jobs, meaning that there will be no community business support and no town centre managers
  • Reducing the number of flower beds in parks – a saving of £30,000
  • The financial control department to reduce cost and staff saving £943,000
  • Corporate communication department’s budget to be cut by £97,000 (£64,000 of this to be saved by cutting Lewisham Life from 10 issues per year to six)
  • Reduce park investment by £396,000 which will mean fewer Green Parks, hanging baskets and street planting
  • Head of strategy department to be cut – savings £70,000; loss of three posts
  • No more spraying of weeds on streets and pavements saving £50,000
  • Saving £170,000 by reducing the amount of printing and photocopying by borough
  • IT savings of £1.3m by sharing services with Bromley council; IT data services to save a further £200,000
  • Mayor’s Fund (giving grants to local wards) cut by 25%; Local Assembly grants budget cut by £45,000 and admin costs for LA cut by £31,000
  • Close Clyde Children’s Centre (Deptford) and reduce budgets of Early Years Centres in Rushey Green, Honor Oak and Ladywell to save £2.1m
  • Reduce Lewisham’s contribution to Arts and Brodway Theatre by £43,000; One Lewisham Funs for Arts support also reduced by £25,000
  • Cut Lewisham’s contribution to borough’s Police Support Team by £125,000 (currently £250,000) resulting in “changes to PCSO deployment” . Note – this was postponed by M&C on the night
  • £450,000 cut in “Valuing People Agenda” (due to personal care packages scheme for elderly and disabled currently being proposed by central government); some savings could be gained by closing existing day care centres
  • A £22.84 charge to households for replacing lost, damaged or stolen wheely bins. Note – this was postponed by M&C on the night
  • £63,000 cut in waste advisors who encourage recycling
  • A reduction in the strategy and performance division saving £278,000
  • Amalgamating the community safety service and the community wardens service to create three area based neighbourhood safety teams and reduce staffing – saving £811,000

For full details of proposed cuts see: