Venue: Barnes Wallis Community Centre, Wild Goose Drive, London SE14 5LL
Contact: Paul Gale 020 8314 3387
Welcome from the Chair
Cllr Luke Sorba welcomed everyone to the assembly meeting and introduced Cllr Joan Millbank. He then gave apologies on behalf of Cllr Paul Bell who was in Cardiff on work business.
Lewisham's Big Budget Challenge
Cllr Sorba told the meeting that whilst everyone is aware of the austerity programme from the Coalition Government, the fact is that the poorest areas have suffered the biggest cuts and the current reductions in funding from the Government are the worst that there has ever been. He explained that Local Government in particular has been targeted and that this is a political agenda to erode the capacity to provide public services.
Aileen Buckton explained that the challenge Lewisham faces is that the Council has to reduce its spending by a considerable amount; £1 in every £3. This is driven by central Government reducing its grants within Lewisham and every other local authority across England. In Lewisham, savings of £85 million need to be found over the next 3 years. She explained that this was not a formal consultation but a means to get a conversation started and gain initial feedback on the subject and what lies ahead.
The purpose of the presentation was to explain:
· How the Council currently spends its money
· Where that money comes from
· How our income is being cut
· How and when decisions will be made
· How you can influence those decisions
For a copy of the presentation contact Paul Gale on 020 8314 3387 or
To give your views or have a go on the online budget simulator go to www.lewisham.gov.uk/bigbudgetchallenge
Questions were invited (NOTE: These are not a verbatim record)
Q Lewisham also needs to think about the way that it provides its services and how they are paid, for example Economic Development receives £0.3 million pounds. If Lewisham put more into this it may generate more business rates and funds such as the Community Interest Levy. Lewisham needs to spend more on public health so that it can take the pressure off social care. We need to think more about rental income and liaise with the voluntary and private sector about running things. Next Monday I am running a training session on Local Government at the LGIU, guests will include a former treasurer from Newcastle and a senior person from East Herts District Council on these issues. People are welcome to attend.
A (Aileen) It would be really helpful if you could complete the form with these points as they are very good. Many of these are points rather than questions, but I can assure you that we are looking at the way that we work with the voluntary and private sector.
Q What are the Council’s reserves in the bank, reserves are for rainy days so shouldn’t we be using the reserves to help tackle the deficit?
A (Cllr Sorba) We will look into this, Cllr Bell has asked the same question.
Q Where is the opposition here, you have 53 Labour Cllrs, why not fight back like you did in the 1980s. If they do send in an administrator, it would draw attention to the situation. What is not mentioned in the presentation is the PFI’s, ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
Community Information / Any other business
Deptford Cinema – Jameela Khan told the assembly that they are a volunteer community-led cinema that hopes to running by the end of the year. They are currently based at 39 Deptford Broadway but are looking for a more permanent premises, any help will be welcome. For more information contact email@example.com
Assembly Fund – There are forms on the table with all the details and funding will be relating to the following areas:
• Children and young people
• Community Wellbeing
• Local community organisations
The deadline date is 6 January 2015.
Parents Standing Together – This is a group of parents who are working in collaboration with the police and Lewisham Council, the aim is to help the borough become safer for a young people and prevent them being involved with gangs and violence. There is a meeting this Friday at the Honor Oak Youth Centre at lunch time. More information is on the tabl
Cllr Sorba then thanked everyone for coming to the meeting, Jacqui Shimidzu for the excellent refreshments and Ken Wakeman at Barnes Wallis Community Centre for hosting the meeting. He then stated that the next meeting of the Telegraph Assembly will be on Thursday 5 February 2015 from 7pm at a venue to be confirmed.
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9pm with no declarations of interest.