As anticipation mounts for the Mayor’s budget recommendations this evening, the people of Lewisham have told Sir Steve Bullock and his Council to protect the vulnerable and make savings in their own departments before cutting services to the people.
The Council have released the results of the research ‘Our Lewisham, Our Say’, described as the “biggest ever conversation ever with the community” on budget issues. More than 2,700 residents took part in the initiative, with residents participating directly through local assemblies, community groups and an online survey.
The survey asked which services people were willing to do without, and which they felt could be improved; with many feeling strongly that staff salaries should be reviewed. One respondent stated: “There are far too many managers and not enough workers. The Council should look at the very large salaries that senior managers are paid, many over £100,000 per year.”
It also asked if people were willing to volunteer themselves in order to reduce the need for Council services, however there was limited interest.
The feedback indicated that Lewisham residents want to see the most vulnerable community members protected, and feel strongly that savings should be made through improved efficiency and reduced bureaucracy within the Council itself. One respondent said: “Everyone is going to have to cut back. Having worked in a few organisations I know that a lot of waste comes from the way the offices themselves are run.”
Providing activities for young people is one of the highest priorities for Lewisham residents, with 40 per cent saying it would be unacceptable to cut funding in this area and 18 per cent saying they would even be willing to pay more for youth services. Kieza Silveira De Sousa, the Young Mayor of Lewisham, said: “It’s good that Lewisham is consulting people about which services they value.
“The various things put forward reflect the beginnings of the debate about what sort of Lewisham we want to emerge from all of this.”
The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, will announce his budget recommendations at the Cabinet meeting today at 6pm, Lewisham Town Hall.