Lambeth’s Conservatives are looking to their currently Tory-led neighbouring borough Wandsworth for inspiration and support.
“We want to make Lambeth into a commissioning council to give it a long-term future” said Tim Briggs, the leader of the opposition on the council.
“Labour keeps salami-slicing services on the basis that they’re receiving less funding overall, but if you share services and share contracts with another council, you get economies of scale like Wandsworth do. They save about £12m a year and you can then spend that on lowering taxes, improving services and helping vulnerable residents,” Briggs said.
“Labour has run out of ideas, the Liberal Democrats are more of the same, the Greens are basically a far-left party who want to spend more money. We are the only party that have a plan and we’re more realistic because ours are tried and tested.”
Briggs concedes that the Conservatives do not have huge support in certain parts of the borough. He said part of the reason is that Labour is telling so many people that the Conservative government is cutting funding for schools when, actually, school funding is increasing by 0.9 per cent in Lambeth over the next two years.
“They bring in all these national issues, which is a shame, because we have some very specific policies that will help locally,” Briggs said. “We’ve been trying to get out there and show people we have good ideas and are a party for everyone. There is this narrative that Labour puts out that we’re somehow against our own residents, which is absolute nonsense. I ,and all my colleagues, went into local politics to help people,” he said.
The priorities for the Conservative candidates include cutting council tax by 1 per cent, supporting the London Living Wage, extending council tax relief for residents moving in to work and providing extra after-school tuition.
“These are all things costed in our budget, it’s not pie in the sky,” Briggs said. “We also want government to delegate primary care to councils. You can build a service around residents, contract to make sure people have a much more holistic set of services supporting them.”