Simon Hogg, Wandsworth Labour leader – speech to Wandsworth council March 7, 2018
Wandsworth is a fantastic place to live. Its strong, diverse communities represent the best of modern London.
But with Conservatives in control locally and nationally, people are feeling the strain.
They once claimed to run a tight ship here, but they’ve become stuck in a tired and self-serving rut. They are trapped in a mind set that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
When our most vulnerable residents need more protection than ever, the Tories have instead prioritised their relationships with property developers and lobbyists.
Most clearly seen at Battersea Power station. A £9 billion scheme with only 9% affordable housing.
Where the council allowed developers to cut 250 affordable homes.
Where the remaining affordable homes have been moved half a mile away from the river to an old industrial estate.
Where a Transparency International investigation found 85% of flats are sold to overseas investors, 44% from ‘high corruption risk’ jurisdictions.
This scheme has become a symbol of everything that’s gone wrong with Wandsworth’s Tory council.
So Wandsworth is now at a crossroads.
Continue with a council with the wrong priorities and no new ideas, or choose a dynamic team with a radically different vision built on fairness and common sense.
As our neighbourhoods change, we need a council with the right values. And as London grows as a global city, we need a fresh, practical approach that harnesses potential without creating imbalance or division.
Only Labour offers this.
Labour will keep Council Tax low – because it’s not right to ask those who are struggling to pay more. We’ll freeze council tax this year and next, and we’ll raise 2% on the social care precept to make sure older people get the care they need and to relieve the pressure on our NHS.
We’ll open up the books, cancel wasteful contracts and cut councillors’ expenses to help pay for much needed services. And we’ll work with local people to protect high streets, provide the homes our communities want, and stop Wandsworth being a soft touch for developers.
We won’t repeat the Tory mistakes of the past.
When they let down vulnerable children and have spent £14 million of local people’s money trying to set right those failings.
When they turned Battersea Park into a motor-racing track – and tried to charge children £2.50 to play in the adventure playground there.
Selling of thousands of affordable homes and building only hundreds in their place.
Labour’s team is principled, experienced and successful. We will put fairness first and stand up to powerful interests. We’ll match competence with compassion, protect neighbourhoods and support those who need it.
We will be ambitious, act with integrity and work tirelessly to make Wandsworth a place where families can thrive.
Wandsworth deserves better. It’s time for a change, we’re ready to serve.