Agenda item

Motions from Council Assembly

To consider motions referred from council assembly.


Councillor Kieron Williams, Leader of the Council confirmed a commitment by cabinet to ensure delivery and action to the points set out in the motions.




The Southwark Youth New Deal


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council Assembly notes:


a.  That under this Labour administration, Southwark is committed to working with young people to deliver the best possible services through a £15 million youth investment. This investment is geared towards improving all outcomes for young people including their health, wellbeing, social, education and employment opportunities. This includes three council managed youth centres and 29 organisations that deliver youth activities in great spaces across the borough, including the reopening and refurbishment of spaces like the Blue Youth Club.


b.  The council has won an international award for its ethnographic engagement of young people in the design of its services.  Young people are currently working with urban creatives We Made That to film spaces on the Brandon which will bring about a youth-led transformation of relevant spaces.


c.  The new Youth Parliament selection is underway – with every secondary school, special education school, pupil referral unit, college, and youth centre currently engaged in canvassing and voting so that the new Youth Parliament can sit in the autumn.


d.  This Labour administration has revolutionised young people’s mental health services. Southwark is now a beacon of mental health support by delivering its commitment to support 100% of children and young people with mental health needs, through its launch of the free open access mental health drop in The Nest and the £2m investment in schools for mental health prevention.


e.  The council has delivered on training and employment for its young residents whilst the government’s implementation of Kickstart made it difficult for employers to navigate, and challenging for young people to participate. Since July 2019, Southwark Works has supported 570 young people; helping 104 of them into secure and good quality jobs and apprenticeships, and 142 into other outcomes including training and work experience. A further 114 young people have been supported into well-paid internships.


f.  Under this Labour administration, Southwark is committed to great outcomes for its young people, with no young person left behind. 199 young people who were previously not in education, training or employment have received training through the Southwark Construction Skills Centre, and a further 961 Southwark school children are engaged with the programme.


g.  Southwark’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Services include great education and post sixteen offers for our young people. We are exemplars, with other local authorities turning to Southwark for guidance on their SEND services. Our Youth Offending Service (YOS) is now a national exemplar, and was praised by Ofsted and HM Inspectorate of Probation for carrying out essential work supporting young people. This Labour administration has protected funding for YOS and will continue to do so in the face of Conservative cuts.


2.  Council Assembly further notes:


a.  Even before the pandemic, children and young people have been stunted and pulled down by 11 years of Conservative austerity. We recognise that cuts to council budgets, attacks on welfare and benefits, a national crisis in care, and the London housing crisis have all impacted on young people in the Southwark.


b.  According to the YMCA over 760 youth centres have closed since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010, widely condemned by experts as pushing young people into violence and exploitation. The list goes on; university tuition fees trebled, arts provision cut, Educational Maintenance Allowance scrapped. In this time, investigations where a young person is believed to be at risk of significant harm have more than doubled.


c.  Children and young people have lost over half a year of face to face learning, and this, combined with unequal access to home learning, has exacerbated existing attainment gaps. Worryingly, in June the government’s schools recovery chief, Sir Kevan Collins, resigned in disbelief over the lack of funding offered - £1.4bn against the £15bn recommended – to help children catch up.


d.  The growing mental health crisis for young people has been magnified by repeated lockdowns, whilst provision remains woefully inadequate. According to the charity Young Minds, 67% of young people believe that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health, whilst 40% said that their school had no school counsellor. Devastatingly, data from the Millenium Cohort Study has shown that 7% of children have attempted suicide by the age of 17.


e.  Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the sectors where young people make up the bulk of employees, such as leisure, hospitality and tourism – according to a London School of Economics (LSE) study, if you are under 25 you are more than twice as likely to have lost your job than an older adult.


3.  Council assembly therefore calls on cabinet:


a.  To deliver the Youth New Deal at pace:


  i.  To put all young people at the heart of service design for young people.

  ii.  To make sure that the new Youth Parliament is inclusive and accessible with co-opted young members with care experience, experience of the youth justice system and school exclusion.

  iii.  To recommission its youth service programmes, (‘Positive futures for young people fund’) to reflect young people’s voices, by directly involving young people in the selection of providers with new programmes, to commence in April 2022.

  iv.  To build on the vision to support 100% of child and adolescent mental health need and the success of the council’s child and adolescent free mental health drop-in service by continuing to provide its outreach service to schools and including pop-up drop-in services throughout school holidays, in order to increase accessibility and profile of and young people’s mental health support.

  v.  To recession-proof youth opportunity and ensure that every school leaver has an education, training or employment opportunity, by delivering ongoing support for vulnerable young people into jobs and apprenticeships through programmes such as Southwark Works.

  vi.  To ensure that, aligned to the emerging digital hub, the Youth Opportunities Campaign will continue to promote job and training opportunities directly to young people and their guardians via a monthly bulletin. The £2m Southwark Pioneers Fund will also support young entrepreneurs to start and sustain their own businesses.

  vii.  Launch a new Sure Start for Teenagers to establish a new cross council and cross partnership initiative to support teenagers and their families where needed.

  viii.  To develop a new youth digital information hub and establish a new youth services portal/website as the cornerstone of the Youth New Deal. To ensure the rapid provision of comprehensive, up to date and accessible information about activities and services for young people and their families.


b.   To lobby the governmentto invest in young people’s futures by:


  i.  Putting forward a comprehensive schools plan that will allow our young people to catch up on their lost education, coupled with a funding package which means this can actually be delivered.

  ii.  Funding our schools in Southwark properly and finding a fairer funding formula that will allow our schools to stay open despite falling pupil admission numbers, so that smaller class sizes can help our young people catch up on lost learning.

  iii.  Ensuring there is good quality mental health support in every school and Higher Education facility, and follow the lead of the Labour-led Welsh Government which has legislated to make counselling support for pupils age 10 -18 mandatory.

  iv.  Address the administrative issues and technical difficulties which are stopping businesses and young people alike from benefitting from the Kickstart scheme.

  v.  Reinstating and ring-fencing youth services funding to 2010/11 real terms levels.


Recognising Single Parent Rights


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a.  There are 2.9 million single parents in the UK, accounting for one in four parents. Around one third of parents experience some period of single parenting.Although almost 70% of single parents are employed, a third of children in working single parent homes live in poverty and almost 30% (double that of coupled parents) report mental health concerns.  Single parents face discrimination throughout their daily lives, from the workplace to accessing housing. This has knock on effects for them, their children and society as a whole.


b.  Many single parents face multiple discrimination given 90% are women, around 27% live with a disability (compared with 21% of couple parent households), and black and mixed ethnicity communities have higher numbers of single parents compared with white communities. In London there are over 260,000 single parents; according to the 2011 census Southwark has 40% rate of single parent households and these figures are likely under-reported.


2.  Council assembly further notes that discrimination towards single parents occurs in:


a.  the workplace when it comes to recruitment, professional development and promotion

b.  housing, specifically accessing private rentals properties especially for those reliant on housing benefit

c.  child benefit calculations: a couple earning £98,000 combined will receive full child benefit for one child, whilst a single parent on £60,000 will receive no child benefit for two children;

d.  childcare vouchers with couples able to access double the amount of vouchers where both are working, regardless of the actual amount they spend on childcare;

e.  universal credit childcare payments;

f.  support and adaptations required for a disabled child to live safely in both homes where parents share care.

g.  entrance fees at tourist attractions are often higher per person for single parent families than couple families. At the National Trust single parents pay 25% more per adult;

h.  membership fees e.g. for birthing/ parenting classes where the second parent in a couple is often ‘free’;

i.  inheritance tax with the child(ren) of a couple essentially have double the threshold compared to the child(ren) of a single parent;

j.  the cost of holidays, and

k.  government and business policies and rules during the Coronavirus lockdown 2020.


3.  Council assembly recognises:


a.  That Southwark Council is committed to promoting equality irrespective of marital or civil partnership status and valuing the contribution made by all citizens. At a national level, however, the legislative oversight in respect of single parents is a chasm which needs to be addressed. Single parents are often subject to systematic discrimination across every aspect of life, and it is unconscionable that these circumstances have been permitted to exist for so long, all the while doing so much harm.


4.  Council assembly therefore resolves to:


a.  Be at the forefront of ensuring that equality for all is embedded in our practices and employment policies.


b.  Actively support the campaign for single parents’ rights, working with the government, campaign groups, community organisations and other partners to ensure that single parents have the parity they deserve.


c.  Lobby the Government to enshrine single parent rights in law including:


1.  The right for employees to request part-time or flexible working from their first day in a job.

2.  Commissioning an independent review into the funding and affordability of childcare, particularly in regards to single parents, and to accept its recommendations.

3.  Better access to financial support for single parents who have to take time off work to care for children sent home from school or childcare settings due to Covid-19.The single parents’ charity Gingerbread is calling for the Government’s £500 Test and Trace Isolation Grant to be extended to parents in low-income households who have to take unpaid time off work when their children are sent home from school or childcare settings due to Covid-19.

4.  End the 5 week wait for Universal Credit and create a faster process for single parents to receive their first Universal Credit payment.

5.  Make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent, as according to Save the Children two thirds of claimants are single parents. 


5.  Council assembly recognises that making theses law changes would have a number of benefits, including:


a.  greater single parent employment;

b.  reduced reliance on government benefits;

c.  greater disposable income for single parents to spend in society;

d.  more stable and decent housing for single parent families;

e.  better mental health for single parents;

f.  lower poverty levels for children of single parents; and

g.  better outcomes for the children of single parents.


Protecting Green Spaces and Tackling the Housing Crisis for Future Generations


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes that:

a)  For all local authorities, there is a delicate and necessary balance between the building of new council homes and the adequate provision of outside space for residents.


b)  There is a very real human cost to choosing not to explore all sites on which to provide new council homes, just as we must continue to enhance our outside spaces.


c)  Southwark Council is exploring all avenues to provide more council homes, including 70 sites across the borough.


d)  Developing those sites would guarantee that future generations have access to genuinely affordable homes and all of the health and wellbeing benefits that this provides.


e)  All projects will include open, inclusive and transparent consultation with residents including a robust process to take residents with us as we make these decisions together.


f)  In addition to this, our Great Estates Programme seeks to both expand the number of council homes on appropriate existing estate sites, and enrich these estates by working with residents to improve the look and feel of them.


g)  Southwark has 30 green flag parks (the highest number within inner London), and continues to invest in its parks and green spaces:

§  Over £61 million invested in parks since 2010;

§  Launch of the Southwark Nature Action Plan (SNAP) in 2020 to protect biodiversity and make nature accessible for all;

§  ‘Re-wilding’ parts of our green spaces;

§  Introduction of 200 new allotment plots as part of the Allotment Expansion Scheme;

§  Planting over 8,000 trees this year alone under our commitment to plant 10,000 by 2022.


h)  The New Southwark Plan will also increase the amount of protected open space in the borough, including 17 new Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation.


i)  There is a dire need to meet Southwark’s 15,000 household-strong waiting list for housing, and the council’s current approach to site-selection will fully incorporate the importance of provision of accessible, green, outside spaces.


j)  The disastrous right-to-buy policy introduced and extended by successive Conservative governments has led to the loss of over 17,000 council rented homes in Southwark


k)  Despite the fact that Southwark has brought 231 empty homes back in to use this year, the number of empty homes in Southwark is still unacceptable and so in September Cabinet will put forward an Empty Homes Action Plan to bring more empty homes back into use.


2.  Council Assembly further notes that:


a)  Green spaces in London are of significant benefit and popularity to the population surrounding them.


b)  Green spaces should not become a luxury only accessible to the well off. A report by the National Children’s Bureau in 2013 found that better-off children were nine times more likely to have access to green spaces than those in the most deprived areas.


c)  Our green spaces aid wellbeing. A London Green Spaces Commission report last year estimated that green spaces save London £950m per year in avoided health costs. A Public Health England report in 2020 stated, “£2.1 billion per year could be saved in health costs if everyone in England had good access to greenspace.”


d)  After a year of lockdowns, Londoners want to see green spaces protected. A May 2020 poll by CPRE, the countryside charity, and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI), found that nearly two-thirds of Londoners (62%) felt that protecting nearby green spaces should be a higher priority for the government when lockdown ends.


e)  London is facing increased urbanisation. A 2020 report by the London Green Spaces Commission discovered that, in the previous ten years, spending on public green space fell by over 30% to £159m. However, London’s population in that time grew by 11.2%.


f)  Losing parks and green spaces would adversely affect the climate emergency. For instance, the ONS found that UK vegetation removed enough dangerous air pollution in 2017 to equate to a saving of £1.3bn in health costs.


g)  Therefore, it is our duty as councillors to ensure that we protect our green spaces so that future generations can enjoy them equally and gain from them as fruitfully as we have done.


h)  It is also our duty as councillors to do everything within our means to house residents in affordable, comfortable and safe housing; and do all we can to prevent homelessness in Southwark.


i)  London is in the grip of a housing crisis. Between 1997 and 2016 London’s population increased by 25%, but the number of homes only increased by 15%.


j)  In June 2020, over 127,000 children were living in Temporary Accommodation in London.


k)  There are 15,000 households on the waiting list for a home in Southwark. Half of these households include children.


l)  Many of these households currently live in severely overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation – sometimes entire families in a single room. 


m)  There are 3,200 households in temporary accommodation in Southwark.


n)  Southwark urgently needs more council homes.


3.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Conduct an audit of all planned investment in our green spaces, outdoors sports and children’s play facilities across Southwark to ensure that they are recognised and protected for residents' amenity.


b)  Urgently review the site-selection criteria for council-led developments, to ensure there is enough provision to support our commitment to tackle the housing crisis and maintain our dedication to high quality parks and green spaces across the borough.


c)  Invest further and enhance the borough’s parks and open spaces to ensure residents across Southwark have access to high quality green space and to further increase our borough’s biodiversity.  


d)  Focus on building new council homes on sites suited for development — including former industrial/commercial sites across the borough and on car parks and under-used sites on our existing estates and publicly owned land.


e)  Continue to be creative in finding ways to deliver more council homes, including buying new sites and homes where financially viable and continuing to secure more social housing in new developments through planning.


Covid-19 Education Recovery


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes that:


a.  The Government published its plans for education recovery after the pandemic on 2 June 2021.

b.  Sir Kevan Collins, appointed by the Prime Minister as the Government’s Education Recovery Commissioner, had judged that some £15bn was needed to repair the damage done to the nation’s pupils because of Covid-19. The Government’s subsequent offer of £1.4bn falls far short and is severely inadequate. The Education Policy Institute have calculated that this amounts to £50 per pupil per year.

c.  This contrasts with the offer of £1,600 per pupil in the USA and £2,500 per pupil in the Netherlands. There are no quick or cheap fixes if we are to build back better from the pandemic and have an education system that supports high standards and strong mental health for everyone. 


2.  Council assembly also notes that:


a.  The Department for Education has changed the census used to calculate Pupil Premium funding for the most disadvantaged pupils. This means that £150 million is being taken away from young people and schools most in need, including £1.2m in Southwark – the equivalent of 892 Southwark primary school children not receiving their Pupil Premium.


3.  Council assembly therefore resolves: 


a.  To lobby the Government to value and invest in all our children, so they are supported to learn, succeed, and go on to have bright futures. 

b.  To write to the Prime Minister and call on the Government to scale up its ambition for our children and young people and give our education system the resources they need to ensure that no child is left behind. The Government should show it is serious about levelling up by putting in the investment called for by its own former Education Recovery Commissioner.


Climate Justice: A Green Future For All


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council Assembly notes:


a)  That the climate crisis requires urgent global action to keep warming below 1.5 degrees and to avoid the catastrophic consequences of temperatures rising beyond this, as set out by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


b)  That the UK along with other wealthier countries has a particular responsibility to reduce emissions, being responsible for a larger proportion of both current and historic emissions, and notes the government’s legally binding target to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 and to be net zero by 2050, along with this borough’s ambition to be a carbon neutral borough by 2030.


c)  That in a warming world, Southwark is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events and to flooding, as an urban borough which is bordered by the Thames in the north with flat and low-lying land beneath this, with 60% of residents living less than 10 metres above sea level.


d)  That according to a recent global survey three quarters of young people now feel frightened about their future as a result of climate change. In London, 82% of residents are concerned about climate change, with 66% saying they have become increasingly concerned in the last year. 


e)  That UK government plans including their Net Zero Strategy, are too little, too late, and fail to provide adequate funding for local authorities to deliver on a just transition, especially in the area of social housing decarbonisation which could help reduce fuel bills for residents.


f)   That the government’s record speaks for itself: scrapping the planned zero carbon homes standard, ending the feed-in tariff, continuing to pursue oil and gas exploration, a dodgy trade deal with Australia, and a failed Green Homes Grant. Failing to regulate properly and invest, leaving everything to the whim of the market. And a Prime Minister who doesn’t think twice about taking a private jet to Cornwall.


g)  That the recent Spending Review barely mentioned climate change, whilst halving air passenger duty for domestic flights and freezing fuel duty, just days before COP26 began.


2.  Council Assembly further notes:


a)  That despite a lack of leadership from government, local communities and local authorities are stepping up to make ambitious commitments to bring about change.


b)  That Southwark declared a climate emergency in 2019, accelerating work that was already underway to reduce emissions, and that the council’s operational emissions have already halved since 2018.


c)  That the council has published its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, with 85 priority actions which will put us on the path towards net zero by 2030.


d)  That we have already made excellent progress on much of this, including: 


  i.  Buildings – installing water-source heat pumps on three of our estates to serve over 2100 homes; bringing forward new passivhaus council homes in Rotherhithe; delivering retrofit work to street properties and the Tustin towers; greening our council buildings including by installing heat pumps in libraries; strengthening our planning policies through the New Southwark Plan and establishing a new Green Buildings Fund to retrofit our community buildings.


  ii.  Transport – doubling cycle storage to 500 hangars next year, delivering 4 kilometres of cycleways, installing over 260 electric vehicle charging points with more planned this year; 36 school streets and 11 street space schemes to promote active travel; and major upgrades to London Bridge, Denmark Hill, Elephant and Castle and Peckham stations.


  iii.  Natural environment – planted over 8,000 new trees last year alone, supported biodiversity through its ‘no-mow’ policy, creating 200 new food growing plots on estates, opened the new Elephant Park, invested in renewing Burgess Park, Camberwell Green and Dickens’ Fields, started to consult on Bramcote Park, and retained 30 Green Flag parks – the most in inner London. Through the New Southwark Plan, the council is creating 17 new sites of importance for nature conservation, ensuring biodiversity net gain in development, and creating 11 hectares of new protected open space.


  iv.  Circular and Green Economy – pledged to create 5000 green jobs between now and 2030; ended the pension fund’s direct investments in fossil fuels with a target to be 100% fossil fuel free by 2030; and maintained one of the best recycling rates in inner London, up from the 6th worst recycling rate in the country in 2010.


  v.  Renewable and Sustainable Energy – rolled out LED street lighting, switched to 100% renewable electricity in council buildings, supported the expansion of South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP), sought to maximise renewable energy generation through new developments, and have started to install solar photovoltaic systems on council buildings.


e)  We are investing an additional £25 million of capital funding into carbon reduction projects which will include among other things, electrification of our council fleet, further decarbonisation of council buildings including leisure centres when these are brought in house, and the expansion of measures to support the borough’s climate resilience.


f)   That the council is supporting a citizens’ jury on climate change, which will bring together a group of people who are representative of the borough’s demographics to make recommendations on how the borough can further respond to the climate emergency.


g)  That the analysis underpinning the Climate Strategy and Action Plan estimates that capital investment of £3.92 billion is required for Southwark alone and that the government must therefore demonstrate its seriousness to this agenda by fully partnering with and resourcing local authorities.


h)  That the lack of a long-term funding settlement with TfL is damaging to our efforts to become a carbon neutral borough, putting important projects on hold such as the Bakerloo Line Extension, the Rotherhithe Bridge, bus service enhancements and electrification, and active travel infrastructure.


3.  Council Assembly celebrates and thanks:


a)  The community organisations and projects who have worked hard to bring down carbon emissions locally and protect Southwark from climate change; we applaud you and are grateful to be hearing from some of these groups today. 


4.  Council Assembly resolves to call on Cabinet to:


a)  Continue working with the community and local businesses to build upon Southwark’s climate action plan and ensure collectively we are doing everything we can with the resources we have to achieve net zero by 2030. This work must have a strong focus on decarbonising Southwark’s buildings, and moving away from petrol and diesel vehicles.


b)  Go further in addressing and resourcing action to address the related ecological emergency, building on the existing Southwark Nature Action Plan, to see further flourishing of nature and biodiversity across the borough.


c)  Review Southwark’s planning policies in line with our aim to be a carbon neutral borough by 2030, including through the establishment of a local carbon offset price.


d)  Work to implement all the recommendations of Southwark’s Climate Change Citizens Jury within the council’s capacity, and work with all concerned stakeholders to respond to the Jury’s recommendations. 


e)  Protect Southwark residents from the impacts of climate change by bringing forward an Adaptation Plan in 2022 which will consider:


  i.  An increased population due to climate refugees and displaced citizens.


  ii.  The urban heat island effect which we are already experiencing in London.


  iii.  Flooding and other extreme weather.


  iv.  Public health risks including new diseases.


  v.  Water scarcity and food shortages for residents.


f)  Strengthen its lobbying efforts, working with the Local Government Association and networks like UK100, to push the government for the more ambitious national action and funding that is urgently needed to address the climate emergency.


A roadmap for clean streets for Southwark


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly observes that:

a)  The UK has significant issues with rubbish. According to Greenpeace, the country produces more plastic waste per person than any other country bar the US. Official statistics revealed that the UK only recycled around 44% of waste in 2018, below the EU average. The German rate was 67%.


b)  Charity Keep Britain Tidy estimates that two million pieces of rubbish are dropped every day across the country. The street cleaning cost of this is £1bn annually. On average, 14 calls a day are made to the RSPCA regarding wildlife harmed by litter.


c)  Seven million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away each year, most of which could have been consumed. Experts say that food waste contributes 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions


d)  In an article earlier this year, the Sunday Mirror reported that fly-tipping in Britain has jumped by more than 500%. This has a large impact on the environment as damaged fridges and freezers let out ozone-harming gases.


2.  Council assembly notes that:


a)  Since 2010, the Labour administration has turned around a falling recycling rate, cleaned our streets and maintained a high rate of collection. The last set of formally published results were for 2019/20 when we achieved a 35.14% recycling rate. The recycling rate achieved was the best of the 13 inner London councils.


b)  Since Labour took control of the council, Southwark has had ambitious recycling targets and the council’s recycling rates are a huge improvement on the pitiful Liberal Democrat/Conservative record from pre-2010, when the council had the sixth worst recycling rate in the country.


c)  The council’s waste management team has taken significant steps to tackle fly tipping in the borough, including the setting up of a new fly tipping task force. Between April and September 2021, 98.6% of fly tipping incidents were cleared within 24 hours of reporting to the council’s waste management team.


d)  During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was significant staff absence from the waste management team, as staff were either unwell or isolating. Despite these significant challenges, and more latterly the impact of the HGV driver shortage, the full range of waste collection services have continued to be deployed throughout. The waste collections teams have worked hard under unprecedented conditions to ensure the mainstay of the collection services were kept operational.


e)  The waste management team has now recovered to its pre-pandemic level of performance and is delivering higher overall performance, with missed collections now at below 50 per 100,000, which is on target.


f)  Councillors across the borough are supporting fantastic initiatives to reduce litter on our streets and in our parks, including by working with organisations such as Plastic Free East Dulwich and Plastic Free Peckham and via the Empowering Communities Programme.


3.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  To continue to be ambitious for recycling in Southwark and maintain our place as one of the highest recycling rates in inner London


b)  When the new Environment bill becomes law, to utilise the new powers to further maximise the recycling rate.


c)  To investigate the use of new technology to improve waste collection and recycling rates, including recycling of food waste.


d)  To investigate new means of creatively reducing, collecting and disposing of food and garden waste including incentivising, supporting and encouraging an increase in home composting by residents across the borough.


e)  To improve accessibility and ease of use of Southwark’s reuse and recycling centre in order to make disposing of waste easier, specifically by making such adjustments with the purpose of making the centre more accessible for residents who are digitally excluded and those who do not have access to a car.


f)  To implement the plan to improve bin collection rates, including improvements to IT reporting systems, so residents are able to easily report missed bin collections, and more effective monitoring of problem areas to prevent repeat missed bin collections.


Responding to the Afghan Refugee Crisis and Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  Afghanistan has undergone a devastating and avoidable tragedy and continues to face a humanitarian and political crisis. Our thoughts are with all those forced to flee their homes, with the families and loved ones of those killed and wounded and those who are suffering in and still trying to escape Afghanistan - including the families of many Southwark residents. We continue to have particular concern for women and girls and for Afghan people who have supported the British civil and military authorities in their country in various ways.


b)  More than 15,000 Afghans were evacuated to the UK before  31 August. The majority of those refugees have since been placed in bridging hotels – 30 % have been placed in bridging hotels in London – including here in Southwark.


c)  London boroughs have been integral to providing wraparound support. Without the work of local government, thousands of Afghans would not have had their basic needs met and children would not be accessing play and education. It is equally clear that without local government, resettlement will be impossible.


d)  In the context of a decade of cuts to local government funding and drastic cuts imposed on our own budget in Southwark, it is imperative that government provides adequate funding to councils to support refugees and does not let the burden fall on already stretched local authorities.


e)  That beyond the recent Afghanistan crisis - London boroughs are already supporting thousands of asylum seekers in contingency hotels. This includes Southwark where there has been a lack of meaningful consultation and coordination with Southwark Council.


2.  Council assembly further notes that Southwark Council:


a)  Has a long and proud history of supporting people fleeing persecution overseas and is committed to becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.


b)  Has committed to welcome Afghan refugees to our borough under the new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and is in the process of identifying long-term accommodation. We are proud to have worked through London Councils to agree and sign up to the principle of all London boroughs providing long term homes.


c)  Had already committed to participate in the previous Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and have resettled families through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.


d)  Is already providing wraparound support to Afghan refugees placed by the Home Office in temporary hotel accommodation in our borough. We are working with local partners and Afghan community leaders to provide the appropriate support including mental health provision, English language lessons, co-ordinating school places for children, help registering with a GP and enabling access to our libraries and leisure centres.


3.  Council assembly thanks


a)  All the voluntary and community organisations and residents who have offered their support and donated time, money and energy to make refugees welcome. This includes Panjshir Aid, Community Southwark, the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Little Village, the Red Cross, the Southwark Refugees and Communities forum and many more.


b)  Our local Members of Parliament - Neil Coyle, Harriet Harman and Helen Hayes and their staff for all their work to support Afghan refugees and their families.


4.  Council assembly calls on the British Government to:


a)  Provide greater clarity to Afghan refugees about their future in the UK and resolve delays in the process to match Afghan families with accommodation identified by local authorities. People are stuck in hotels - including here in Southwark - with no idea how long they will be there or a say over their future.


b)  Provide adequate resources to local authorities to support refugees in the short and the long term. This must include finalising the funding for the wraparound support in bridging hotels, and ensuring that local authorities are paid for supporting all bridging hotel residents, including British nationals.


c)  Provide British nationals with resettlement support aligned with ARAP and ACRS, and address concerns around homelessness applications.


d)  Ensure that boroughs are consulted on the processes involved in standing down bridging hotels.


e)  Work with local authorities to achieve a more equitable asylum system and end the hostile environment.


f)  Keep UK borders open to receive asylum seekers from Afghanistan and not deport any undocumented Afghans in accordance with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) non-return advisory. Immediately expand eligibility for family reunion enabling family members who have relatives in the UK to travel safely to join them and quickly decide all asylum claims from Afghans who have arrived in the UK independently, including reviewing previously refused claims.


g)  Abandon their damaging plans to introduce a two tier refugee system under the Nationality and Borders Bill. The government should treat each arrival in the UK based on their needs not how they got here and provide proper support to people in need of sanctuary. The UK must adhere to Article 31 of the Refugee Convention that prohibits penalties being imposed on Refugees who enter or are present in a country without authorisation.


5.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Continue to support refugees and asylum seekers in Southwark.


b)  Call on the government to provide the resources required and to provide clarity on the status of and future of the resettlement scheme.


c)  Continue to work with London Councils to coordinate support and ensure that councils across London as well as the UK are all playing an equal part in responding to this international emergency.


Continue to work with local organisations and community leaders to support refugees in our Borough and respond to their needs.


Refusing Unsafe Building Developers


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  The significant financial and health impacts of the building safety crisis on thousands of Londoners.


b)  Although changes are being touted, support from central government for properties with dangerous cladding hasto date been wholly insufficient to deal with the building safety crisis.


c)  That the UK Government must do more to protect leaseholders in the building safety crisis and must ensure remediation work is completed as soon as possible on all affected properties.


2.  Council Assembly acknowledges that:


a)  The council has been lobbying for building safety reforms and an end to the cladding scandal for a number of years, including lobbying for increased funding for retrofitting social housing to comply with fire and building safety legislation in the 2021 Spending Review.


b)  The council is the largest landlord of high rise blocks in England with 170 residential buildings of 18m or higher. The safety of our residents is our absolute priority and a Building Safety programme is being implemented with a learning and discovery pilot taking place at Andoversford Court in Peckham.


c)  The council is working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the London Fire Brigade to ensure that private landlords remove aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from their blocks. We are also using our powers to serve enforcement notices on building owners where remediation actions are not taken.


d)  The council have been working closely with the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, supporting them in their successful application to the Building Safety Fund to remove cladding and acknowledges the support of the Leader of the Council in contacting the Secretary of State on their behalf.


3.  Council Assembly also acknowledges that:


a)  Southwark, like the rest of London, is facing a housing crisis, with 16,000 households in the borough on our waiting list, including 3,200 who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation.


b)  We are reliant on the social housing sector and housing associations to deliver the homes our residents need.


c)  Whilst action is needed urgently on building safety, it is wrong to pit the interests of people who are in urgent need of new homes against the needs of leaseholders who are facing unfair costs of building safety work. Both of these groups need solutions which can ultimately, only be provided by central government, including greater funding.


4.  Council Assembly therefore resolves to:


a)  Continue to work with London Councils and the GLA to put pressure on government to do more to protect leaseholders, to ensure that they do not bear the cost of the building safety works and to provide funding to ensure that remediation works can be completed as soon as possible.


b)  Actively engage with our local MPs to push for amendments to the Building Safety Bill to protect leaseholders from additional costs and to establish a new public works agency to oversee cladding remediation.


c)  Continue to support leaseholders in Southwark who are affected by the building safety crisis, including carrying out enforcement of landlords not complying with the removal of cladding.


Youth Democracy


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  Young people aged 16-24 are the age group that is least likely to vote in elections, as demonstrated by the turnout of 47% amongst 18-24 year olds compared to 74% amongst the over 65s at the 2019 general election.


b)  Despite these low election turnout figures, young people today are often leading the fight on the important political issues of our times, such as the climate school strikes and the Black Lives Matter movement.


c)  The Elections Bill 2021 includes provision for the requirement of photographic ID at polling stations, which is likely to act as a form of voter suppression, particularly amongst groups who are already the least likely to vote.


2.  Council assembly welcomes the fact that:


a)  In July 2021, Southwark Council created the Southwark Youth Parliament, which is for young people aged 14 to 19. Two candidates from each Southwark school and two candidates from ten community areas were successfully elected, along with Southwark’s first-ever Youth Leader and Deputy Youth Leader.


b)  The Welsh government has successfully lowered the voting age to 16 in Wales via the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. This meant 16 and 17 year olds in Wales were able to participate in the recent Senedd and local council elections in May 2021.


3.  Council assembly believes:


a)  Young people’s participation in politics is essential to our democracy.


b)  More needs to be done to support young people to engage in politics on a local and national scale.


4.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Continue to support the good work of Southwark’s Youth Parliament.


b)  Put in place measures to make voter registration easy and accessible for all Southwark residents ahead of any future elections, in an effort to increase voter turnout.


5.  Council assembly calls on the government to:


a)  Support legislation that would lower the voting age to 16 across the UK, as is already the case in Scotland and Wales.


b)  Support the provision of high quality Citizenship education in all schools, including appropriate training for teachers and discreet curriculum time.


c)  Abandon the flawed Elections Bill, which will act to deter voter turnout through the introduction of ID requirements at polling stations.


Support for Borough, Bankside and the Wider Area


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes that:


a)  Southwark is home to some of the UK’s most significant cultural and historical locations in Bankside, Borough and North Bermondsey.


b)  The area’s history goes back to the earliest days of London, with Anglo-Saxon and Roman settlements. It has historic links with the lives and works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens. This rich historic heritage continues with Shakespeare’s Globe and the remains of the Rose Theatre. 


c)  The area is still a cultural hub for London. In 2019, the Tate Modern was the second most visited attraction in England with six million visitors. 


2.  Council assembly identifies that:


a)  The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the area and its businesses. In October 2020, Better Bankside Business Improvement District said that footfall was about half what the area experiences for that time of year.


b)  There is a need to continue to support the area and its businesses recover from the pandemic. Continuing to promote the area’s heritage and associated tourism will play a part in any such revival.


c)  Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the council has provided a large amount of support for business across the borough. In Borough and Bankside, 428 business where supported to the value of £3.64 million.


d)  We must continue to protect and celebrate its historic cultural heritage.


e)  There are a number of heritage protections in place for Bankside. In addition to the listed buildings and scheduled Monuments, we also have the Borough High Street Conservation Area and the Thames Policy Area.


f)  Southwark Council’s Culture and Events team has directly invested over £13.3million in our cultural and heritage offer since 2010, in addition the sector has received funding from several non-culture specific grant programmes.


g)  The council has been able to open the Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library at a time that other local authorities are reducing their commitment to funding heritage projects.


h)  Southwark Council takes its role as the custodian of the historic environment very seriously. Southwark has stated its vision is to preserve, conserve, celebrate and enhance Southwark’s unique, but also fragile and irreplaceable historic environment. The Heritage Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) plays a vital part in designing a heritage strategy for Southwark that identifies what people value about their heritage and how it plays an active role in community life. The council welcomes proposals from the local community for locally listed buildings, in line with the criteria set out in the Heritage SPD.


i)  Southwark is a rich ecological resource with its parks and open spaces home to various species of birds, fish, mammals, wildflowers and invertebrates. The New Southwark Plan introduces 21 new Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) to protect the future ecological diversity of Southwark.


j)  The council has supported cultural institutions within that area including bringing the Africa centre to Southwark, which the council has given assistance in growing the centre from their HQ building to include arches on the Low Line; supporting the Central School of Ballet; and are collaborating with community groups to deliver a new permanent LGBTQ+ centre at Bankside.


3.  Council assembly calls on cabinet to:


a)  Launch and deliver a cultural recovery plan ensuring that Southwark continues to be a borough for cultural excellence; collect, conserve and celebrate our local history for future generations and enable all of our diverse communities to have access to cultural opportunities while protecting, preserving and growing our cultural venues, spaces and provision.


b)  Continue to support business and cultural institutions in Borough and Bankside and across the whole of Southwark. The council must continue to champion the role heritage plays in Southwark’s cultural life while reaffirming that it is the basis of Southwark’s distinct character and allure.


c)  Continue to acknowledge the great benefit in the many diverse voices through musical, literary and artistic creative events that are delivered through cultural groups, open spaces, libraries, heritage centres, museums, theatres, galleries and venues across Southwark.


d)  Continue the Council’s work in supporting heritage and culture with the understanding that history, and how people interpret the value of historic places, looks very different depending upon who you are and where you are looking.


e)  Continue to amplify the many different voices that contribute to making Southwark so special, including social, communal, cultural, economic, spiritual, political, activist, artistic, and literary experiences and these reflect personal matters of belief, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, age, mobility. All have equally important histories that must be preserved, recorded and protected.


Centenary Celebrations for Ada and Alfred Salter


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  2022 marks the centenary of Ada Salter becoming Mayor and Dr Alfred Salter being elected MP. The Salters were a legendary and much loved couple, who became famous locally and nationally.


b)  Ada left a well off home in the Midlands to do social work amongst the city slums. Alfred gave up a brilliant medical career to become a local doctor. Together they dedicated their lives to the people of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.


c)  Their pioneering work on the environment, housing and public health was transformational. Ada’s Beautification Committee planted 9,000 trees and filled public spaces with flowers, playgrounds, music and sport. She designed model council housing and supported women factory workers. Alfred promoted free medical treatment, a solarium, a convalescent home for mothers, and health education by cinema vans on the streets. As Quakers, they both campaigned tirelessly for peace.


d)  The Salters’ key issues – environment, housing and public health – are even more crucial today, as we face a climate crisis, worldwide homelessness and a global pandemic.


2.  Council assembly welcomes the fact that:


a)  Community activists have set up a Salter Centenary Project to celebrate the Salters’ vision and continue their inspiring legacy.


b)  Dame Judi Dench has become their patron, giving her support as a fellow Quaker and enthusiastic environmentalist.


c)  The project will create and support events and activities in the spirit of Ada and Alfred, so their principles are carried forward into the future.


3.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Celebrate the inspiration of Ada and Alfred Salter in their centenary year by providing resources, for instance to organise a Salter exhibition from the local studies archives.

b)  Support the Salter Centenary Project in its community activities, such as environmental plans for greening the area.

c)  Invite civic representatives and residents from Ada’s home town of Raunds to join the centenary celebrations.


Transport for London funding


That the motion referred from council assembly as a recommendation to cabinet, set out below be agreed.


1.  This Council Assembly is appalled by the Government’s lack of concern for the future funding of London’s transport system. With less than three weeks to go before the emergency deal with Transport for London (TfL) expires on 11 December 2021, there is still no certainty on long-term funding.


2.  Council assembly believes that:


a.  This continued uncertainty poses a grave threat to Londoners’ jobs, livelihoods and health; the delivery of new homes; and efforts to address the climate emergency. Not only is the capital struggling to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic both socially and economically but TfL itself has lost valuable traveller revenue which undercuts its business model.


b.  The alternative to guaranteed funding would be drastic cuts in public transport services, such as:


  i.  An 18% cut in bus services leading to a withdrawal of 100 routes and less frequent services on 200 more;

  ii.  A 9% cut in underground services – resulting in reduced maintenance and the scrapping of the Bakerloo Line extension;

  iii.  Stopping the introduction of new electric buses;

  iv.  Cutting funding to local road improvements – including no more cycle lanes and 20mph zones, and the closure of Rotherhithe Tunnel;

  v.  And a consequent increase in bus and tube fares.


c.  The effect of these cuts would cause widespread disruption and gridlock across the capital, unfairly punishing millions of Londoners, and would put both London’s and the national economic recovery at risk. Without urgent Government investment to plug a £1.9 billion funding gap there will be a resultant ‘managed decline’ in services creating a ‘vicious circle’ of under-investment and service cuts resulting in an infrequent and unreliable transport system.


3.  London’s public transport system desperately needs a proper funding settlement from the Government. It is vital to the national recovery from Covid-19, and it is vital to creating a sustainable, green future. London’s commuters and key workers deserve a world-class public transport system - not drastic cuts and fare hikes.


4.  This Council Assembly therefore calls upon the Leader and the Cabinet to liaise with the Mayor for London, the GLA and London Councils to lobby the Government to guarantee the future funding settlement for TfL.

Supporting documents: