Agenda item


To consider the following motions:


·  Saving South London Buses

·  Save Southwark Buses

·  Fixing Southwark’s Housing Disrepair Crisis

·  Standing Up for Responsible Tax Conduct

·  Make Cycle Storage Accessible for All

·  Equal Pavements Pledge

·  Patients not Passports

·  The closure of St Francesca Cabrini Primary School


Motion 1: Saving South London Buses


This motion was considered prior to the guillotine having fallen.  This motion was debated as a single debate with Motion 2: Save Southwark Buses.


Councillor Victor Chamberlain moved the motion. Councillor Emily Tester seconded the motion.


There was one amendment to the motion.  Councillor Reginald Popoola moved Amendment B.  Councillor Emily Hickson seconded Amendment B.


After debate (Councillors Marina Linforth-Hall, Catherine Rose, Nick Johnson, Richard Livingstone and Graham Neale), Amendment B was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes that:


a.  The current proposal to cut bus services by up to a fifth as a result of the Conservative government’s financial decisions will have profoundly negative impacts on the residents of Southwark.

b.  At a time where the use of buses is actually increasing in the UK, Investment in affordable and sustainable public transport is more important than ever:

i.  Buses offer an affordable means of transport for vulnerable residents struggling with the cost of living crisis.

ii.  Petrol has risen to over an average of £100 a tank meaning driving is no longer an affordable option for residents.

iii.  Public transport offers a sustainable transport option for residents as we continue to tackle the climate emergency.

c.  Reductions in bus services will increase the need for interchanges, making journeys more difficult for those with mobility issues, who heavily rely on direct routes for travel.

d.  The reduction of night bus routes will adversely affect key workers across London and will have a negative impact on people’s safety.

e.  The Conservative party is imposing deep cuts to Transport for London’s funding.

  i.  In 2015, they agreed to remove £1bn a year of government funding from TfL and since the pandemic they have forced through hundreds of millions of further cuts

  ii.  None of the £500m raised every year from Londoners paying Vehicle Excise Duty collected by central Government is used to fund TfL’s maintenance of London’s roads.  Instead, London’s roads are effectively being cross-subsidised from fare-paying bus and tube passengers.


2.  Council assembly further notes that:

a.  Southwark is already poorly served by public transport, with much of the borough relying purely on buses for travel.

b.  By May 2022, bus use had returned to 81% of pre-pandemic levels in Southwark, showing investment in our bus network is vital as we continue to recover.

c.  25% of the routes being cut entirely are routes that serve Southwark.

d.  These cuts will completely withdraw four routes currently serving Southwark residents: routes 12, 45, 78 and 521.

e.  The four routes set for withdrawal connect residents to London Bridge Hospital, Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’s Hospital, Evelina Children’s Hospital and King’s College Hospital. The withdrawal of three of these routes will make it harder for people to access healthcare services.

f.  A further 17 routes serving Southwark residents will be affected by the proposed cuts, which will lead to a reduced service across a borough already inadequately served by public transport.


3.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:

a.  Commission a robust detailed expert investigation on impacts of bus cuts in Southwark, the findings of which will form the basis of a Southwark response to TfL’s proposals.

b.  Campaign with the Mayor of London for the Conservative government to:

  i.  Agree a long term funding settlement for TfL that ensures there can be continued investment in sustainable and affordable public transport in London, including the funding necessary to maintain current bus routes, so TFL can immediately halt any plans to reduce bus services in London.

  ii.  Invest in maintaining and enhancing the existing public transport options, such as buses and step-free access at stations, that Londoners need.

  iii.  Invest in alternative public transport options for South London including a river-crossing at Rotherhithe, reopening Camberwell station and the Bakerloo Line extension.

c.  Ask TfL to:

  i.  Explore all options to prevent the need for reductions to bus and other public transport services

  ii.  Hold public meetings before reducing the frequency of any bus routes.

  iii.  Extend the length of the consultation until the end of the summer to reflect the potential severity of the proposed cuts and ensure as many voices are heard as possible.


Motion 2: Save Southwark Buses


This motion was considered prior to the guillotine having fallen.  This motion was debated as a single debate with Motion 1: Saving South London Buses.


Councillor Jon Hartley moved the motion. Councillor Gavin Edwards seconded the motion.


After debate (as set out in Motion 1 above), the substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  The Council notes that:


a.  Southwark is facing unprecedented and damaging cuts to its public transport. Across the city, seventy eight of London’s bus routes will be affected by recent proposals, with seventeen of the affected routes serving our borough, representing 22% of the changes across the capital.


b.  Of the sixteen routes to be cut in their entirety, four are in Southwark, representing one in four bus routes. These routes included the 12 bus, a much-loved bus route which many Southwark residents use to get to and from the West End.


c.  These cuts to services make it harder for our residents to get around the city, make journeys longer and often more expensive.


d.  Transport for London (TfL) is still recovering from the huge financial damage caused by the pandemic. It reports that, in the latest funding settlement, the Government is asking TfL to cut the bus network by 4% by 2025.


e.  These cuts are a political choice, forced on TfL by a government making an active decision to level down our city. London is one of the only transport systems in the world that does not receive any significant regular subsidy from its national government. Moreover, London generates £500m of vehicle licensing excise money that goes straight to Government. This means that in recent years, over 70% of TfL costs have been paid for by fares.


f.  These regressive cuts will affect many of our lowest income residents during the cost of living crisis, impacting shift workers, keyworkers and those who need to travel early or late in order to get to work. Hard working people who keep the city running will now need to break their journey and wait for multiple buses as they try to get to work, making their working day even longer.


g.  Southeast London’s public transport is already less well-served than other parts of London and has weathered previous cuts. Our small number of tube stations means buses are the backbone of our transport network. If we are to build the homes and town centres people want and need, we have to have a public transport system that can serve them.


h.  Southwark Labour councillors have made a difference by creating pop up street stalls and supporting a local petition to Save Southwark Buses, however more can be done to put pressure on the Government to provide TfL with an adequate settlement that London needs in order to run an efficient public transport system, in line with other major cities across the world.


2.  Council Assembly further notes the impact on key resident groups, including:


a.  Users with mobility issues who may struggle to use other forms of transport or may not have access to alternatives locally.


b.  School communities, parents and carers who may struggle to get children to school without adequate local buses.


c.  Women, as transport hubs have been highlighted as a potential risk of increased violence against women and girls, therefore increased interchanges pose greater risks.


d.  Worsening health inequalities by making it more challenging for people without access to either a car or alternative forms of transport to and from hospital or doctor appointments. This is also likely to disproportionately affect older people for the same reasons.


e.  People living in social housing or those in private rented accommodation already dealing with fuel poverty who are far less likely to be able to absorb any additional costs of having to take alternative routes.


f.  Local businesses who heavily rely upon people getting across the borough to increase footfall on our high streets.


3.  Council Assembly therefore resolves to:


a.  Continue to make the case to the Department for Transport for a better funding settlement for TfL on behalf of all Southwark residents, particularly those disadvantaged most by these changes.


b.  Work with TfL to mitigate any changes to the Southwark bus network to ensure that disadvantaged groups in Southwark can still travel to and from work, school, town centres and key services.



c.  Call for further engagement and meetings with key community groups in Southwark so TfL better understands the impact of the proposals put forward in Southwark.


Motion 3: A plan for Southwark’s Housing Repairs


This motion was considered after the guillotine had fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion. 


Amendment C was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council notes that:


a.  In 2010, an incoming Labour administration inherited one of the poorest standards of housing stock in London from the previous Liberal Democrat and Conservative administration. Only half of council homes met the decent homes standard, with 18,000 homes in disrepair.

b.  By 2020 Southwark’s labour run council had nearly doubled this number with 95% of homes meeting the decent homes standard.

c.  In 2014, Labour also began a programme of replacing old kitchens and bathrooms in all our council homes. By 2020, more than 5,000 council homes were fitted with a new kitchen and/or bathroom.


2.  Council also notes that:

a.  The Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown had a severe impact on services.

b.  Southwark is one of the largest council housing landlords in the country, therefore the proportional impact of the pandemic in terms of the number of repairs that were delayed (with officers not able to visit residents apart from essential repairs) was substantial. Residents report an average of 4,500 repairs requests per month.

c.  Furthermore, the pandemic continues to affect repair staff, with staff testing positive for Covid (and therefore unavailable to visit residents).

d.  That over £1 billion is required to fully decarbonise and replace inefficient heating systems and increase the insulation of homes to a modern energy efficient and low carbon standard.

e.  The impact of the Conservative party’s hard Brexit which has had a catastrophic impact on supply chains in the construction industry, with waiting times for many essential repairs materials having increased from days to months.


3.  Council assembly thanks members of the repairs services for


a.  the role they played getting support to vulnerable people during the peak of the pandemic, delivering food and support to thousands of Southwark residents

b.  the work they have done to clear the whole backlog of repairs from the pandemic, that had been accumulated during the period when non urgent repairs had to be suspended.


4.  Council resolves to


a.  Ask cabinet to bring forward the repairs improvement plan to ensure an effective and efficient repairs services, that gets repairs right first time 

b.  Ask cabinet to bring forward a housing asset management plan which aims to bring every council home up to a decent standard, including within this an updated damp and mould strategy.

c.  Welcome the pilot of a dedicated repairs task team compromising of specialist operators such as electricians, wet traders and decorators, with the view to roll services out where they are effective in terms of value for money and efficiency of service.

d.  Publish an updated damp and mould strategy and make the council’s specialist leaks team permanent.

e.  Implement the heat networks strategy which aims to replace old heating systems with new, reliable, affordable and greener alternatives. This forms part of the commitment to decarbonise council housing stock.

f.  Ask Cabinet to lobby the Government for the national investment needed to deliver a Great Homes Upgrade to bring homes in the UK, including all council homes, up to a modern highly energy efficient and green standard, with upgraded insulation and low cost zero carbon heating.


Motion 4: Standing Up for Responsible Tax Conduct


This motion was considered after the guillotine had fallen.

The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council Assembly notes that:


a.  The pressure on organisations to pay their fair share of tax has never been stronger.


b.  Polling from the Institute for Business Ethics finds that “corporate tax avoidance” has, since 2013, been the clear number one concern of the British public when it comes to business conduct.


c.  Two thirds of people (66%) believe the Government and local councils should at least consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax, as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when awarding contracts to companies.


d.  Around 17.5% of public contracts in the UK have been won by companies with links to tax havens.


e.  It has been conservatively estimated that losses from multinational profit-shifting (just one form of tax avoidance) could be costing the UK some £17bn per annum in lost corporation tax revenues.


f.  The Fair Tax Mark offers a means for business to demonstrate good tax conduct, and has been secured by a wide range of businesses across the UK, including FTSE-listed PLCs, co-operatives, social enterprises and large private businesses.


g.  That Southwark Labour have a nationally recognised track record on procurement which builds on the aims of this motion. Our Fairer Future Procurement policy ensures that companies must demonstrate social value through a range of measures including requiring companies to pay London Living Wage and excluding companies who break the law by blacklisting.


2.  Council Assembly believes that:


a.  Paying tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be.


b.  Tax enables us to provide services from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also helps to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies.


c.  As recipients of significant public funding, local authorities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct; be that by ensuring contractors are paying their proper share of tax, or by refusing to go along with offshore tax dodging when buying land and property.


d.  Where councils hold substantive stakes in private enterprises, influence should be wielded to ensure that such businesses are exemplars of tax transparency and tax avoidance is shunned.


e.  More action is needed, however, as current and proposed new UK procurement law significantly restricts councils’ ability to either penalise poor tax conduct (as exclusion grounds are rarely triggered) or reward good tax conduct, when buying goods or services.


f.  UK cities, counties and towns can and should stand up for responsible tax conduct - doing what they can within existing frameworks and pledging to do more given the opportunity, as active supporters of international tax justice.


3.  Council Assembly resolves to:


a.  Approve the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration.


b.  Lead by example and demonstrate good practice in our tax conduct, right across our activities.


c.  Ensure IR35 is implemented robustly and contract workers pay a fair share of employment taxes.


d.  Not use offshore vehicles for the purchase of land and property, especially where this leads to reduced payments of stamp duty.


e.  Undertake due diligence to ensure that not-for-profit structures are not being used inappropriately by suppliers as an artificial device to reduce the payment of tax and business rates. 


f.  Demand clarity on the ultimate beneficial ownership of suppliers UK and overseas and their consolidated profit & loss position, given lack of clarity could be strong indicators of poor financial probity and weak financial standing.


g.  Promote Fair Tax Mark certification especially for any business in which we have a significant stake and where corporation tax is due.


h.  Support Fair Tax Week events in the area, and celebrate the tax contribution made by responsible businesses are proud to promote responsible tax conduct and pay their fair share of corporation tax.


i.  Support calls for urgent reform of UK procurement law to enable local authorities to better penalise poor tax conduct and reward good tax conduct through their procurement policies.


Motion 5: Making Cycle Storage Accessible for All


This motion was considered after the guillotine had fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion. 


Amendment D was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes that:


a.  Southwark needs more cycle storage

b.  As we tackle the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency it is vital that we ensure cycling is accessible and affordable for all residents.

c.  The Labour administration delivered over 500 cycle hangars since 2020. It has also already created 2,616 secure bike hangar spaces, the third highest of all London boroughs.

d.  A comprehensive exercise has been undertaken by the council to identify many more residents who require cycle storage, with a website where people can request new cycle hangars. 

e.  Local ward councillors have access to funding streams such as Local Community Infra Structure Levy, Cleaner Greener Safer funds and Devolved Highways Funding which they can prioritise to deliver more cycle hangars. Wards with Liberal Democrat councillors delivered the lowest level of cycle hangars since 2020.

f.  That the Labour administration’s investment in cycle hangars and cycle lanes has led to Southwark having one of the highest cycling rates in London

g.  That the council plans to bring cycle hangar provision in-house, meaning that we can roll out more at a faster pace.


2.  Council assembly calls on cabinet to:


a.  Make Southwark a Cycle Friendly Borough by:

  i.  Offering free cycle lessons for all Southwark residents

  ii.  Doubling the number of cycle hangars so you can store your bike close to your home, stations and in town centres.

  iii.  Rolling out more segregated cycle lanes,

  iv.  Extending cycle hire

  v.  Creating new ways for residents on low incomes to access an affordable bike.

  vi.  work with local communities to design safer, greener and healthier streets for walking and cycling, including safer junctions and crossing.

  vii.  ensure no group is left behind as we change all our streets for the better. Ensuring older and younger people, women and our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities all have a full say, so we design streets that works for everyone.


b.  Identify and collaborate with local and London-wide organisations (such as Transport for London and Business Improvement Districts) to improve cycle storage provisions.


Motion 6: Equal Pavements Pledge


This motion was considered after the guillotine had fallen.

The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  This Council notes:


a.  the campaign of Transport for All calling on councils and transport authorities to sign an Equal Pavements Pledge (appended below)

b.  95 per cent of roads are the responsibility of London boroughs and only 5 per cent belong to the TfL network. 

c.  the majority of disabled people polled recently by Transport for All are worried that streets remain inaccessible with many streets still lacking even dropped kerbs to enable level access along pavements or to cross the street.

d.  disabled people are concerned at the risk of further barriers being presented – either from the way in which changes to streets are delivered, or from al-fresco dining being delivered without consideration for the need for clear access on pavements.

e.  Islington’s people-friendly pavements programme, created following feedback from local people and engagement with a range of organisations representing disabled people in Islington, including Disability Action in Islington and Transport for All

f.  That people-friendly pavements is a key element of the people-friendly streets programme and will help the Council make Islington a better place for all

g.  The programme will include measures such as footway repaving, additional dropped kerbs and street clutter removal, and more

h.  That our borough continues to need investment and progress in making pavements fully accessible.


2.  This Council notes that the Transport for All Equal Pavements Pledge outlines a need to:


a.  Listen to disabled people, and act

b.  Keep pavements clear

c.  Cut pavement clutter

d.  Reduce the impact of waste removal

e.  Audit pavements and install dropped kerbs where they are missing

f.  Protect blue badge parking, with relocation kept to a minimum

g.  Work with disabled experts, committing to co-production of schemes.


3.  This Council resolves to:


a.  support the Transport for All Equal Pavements Pledge

b.  engage directly with organisations representing people with specific accessibility requirements 

c.  call upon the Mayor of London through Transport for London (TfL) to respond to the Equal Pavements pledge with a comprehensive programme of support to boroughs to be delivered in this current term

d.  Call on central Government to fully fund TfL to support London Boroughs to deliver people-friendly Equal Pavements.


Motion 7: Patients not Passports


This motion was considered after the guillotine had fallen.

The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council Assembly notes that:


a.  The NHS was established after the Second World War at a time when there were high numbers of refugees and displaced people and general social chaos. It was founded on the principle of being free to everyone who needed it, regardless of their ability to pay, but has now become part of the Hostile Environment. 


b.  The Government is demanding that NHS Trusts check patients’ ID before giving them treatment. If they don’t have the right documents, they are forced to pay.  If patients get into debt their details are sent by the Trust to the Home Office, creating fears about visa status or immigration claims and deterring many people from accessing healthcare.


c.  This policy has had a devastating impact on those who are unable to pay, such as those from the Windrush generation. The impact of the hostile environment on migrants has become even more acute during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly as it is known there is a higher mortality rate in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.


2.  Council Assembly notes the impact of this system which:


a.  embeds racial profiling because people have their entitlement to care challenged on the basis of their appearance, their name or their accent; 


b.  discourages those who are often already vulnerable from seeking help, including women needing maternity care, and their children;


c.  normalises discrimination in institutions that are set up to care for the most vulnerable.


3.  Council Assembly resolves to:


a.  Work with Lambeth and Southwark Patients Not Passports campaign to raise awareness of migrant charging in the NHS and the climate of fear that surrounds it


b.  Write to every GP surgery in Southwark to ask them to become a Safe Surgery to improve migrants’ access to healthcare


c.  Work with our hospitals to support migrant rights and access to healthcare.


Motion 8: The closure of St Francesca Cabrini Primary School


This motion was considered after the guillotine had fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion. 


Amendment E was put to the vote and declared to be lost.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council Assembly notes:


a.  That St Francesca Cabrini Primary School is a brilliant local school in Peckham Rye ward which has served our local community for over 100 years.


b.  That the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have made the decision to leave London and the UK and as a result are withdrawing their sponsorship of the school from September 2023.


c.  That like many Southwark and London schools, the school has seen declining pupil numbers in recent years. This means the school’s financial viability is increasingly difficult.


d.  That the school’s governing body has explored with both the London Borough of Southwark and the Archdiocese of Southwark merging with another school on the school site. However, this proved not to be possible as the land and buildings are not owned by the Archdiocese or Southwark Council and the nearest other Roman Catholic School is some distance away.


e.  That ward councillors, parents and the wider community were therefore saddened to learn the governing body is now consulting on a proposal to close the school from September 2023.


2.  Council Assembly recognises the excellent support that council officers and the Cabinet Member for Children and Schools have already offered to the school and school community as they navigate this very difficult process.


3.  Council Assembly calls on the Council to:


a.  Continue to work closely with the school and governing body to explore all possible options that might allow the school to stay open and ensure its future financial viability.


b.  Continue to explore with the Archdiocese of Southwark all possible options for amalgamation with other schools across the area including exploring whether any Catholic secondary or specialised provision could be offered at the site.


c.  Ensure that the children at the school remain the absolute priority during this unsettling time and, if the proposal to close moves forward, ensure that the Council offers all possible support to children and families as they transition to other schools.


d.  Additionally ensure that the pre-school children and families that have been allocated Reception places at the school for September 2022 have all information available to them as they make decisions about what might be best for their children given the school’s uncertain future.


e.  That should the proposal move forward, to work closely with the Archdiocese to offer support and assistance to staff to find new employment. Given the location of the school this should include working with neighbouring local authorities to ensure all staff are fully aware of vacancies within local schools.

Supporting documents: