Labour’s strength is its strong track record leading the council, says council leader Lib Peck.
That, combined with “a costed and comprehensive manifesto, will make Lambeth a better and fairer place,” she told the Blog.
“Voters can see the things that we’ve actually done, such as putting record investment in our roads and cracking down on crime and anti-social behaviour,” she said.
Peck also highlighted the party’s emphasis on keeping Lambeth’s children’s centres open, building a first generation of new council homes and its women and girls strategy.
One of the key things the party wants to tackle is Lambeth’s housing crisis, Peck says.
“We want to continue to build genuinely affordable new homes, we really want to work with the mayor of London to try and tackle homelessness and we also want to drive up standards for private renters – which now make up a third of people in the borough.”
Housing is a thorny issue for the council, which has faced controversies over its plans and consultation for regenerating the Cressingham Gardens estate and others. Other controversies, including changes to the borough’s library services, have been singled out by Labour’s opponents.
But Peck says these issues have not come up all that much during doostep canvassing and she feels that this is because voters understand the challenges the council faces.
“We’ve endured government grant cuts of 56 per cent. Many local authorities have shut their libraries and I’m proud that we’ve managed to keep 10 of our libraries open. In our town centre libraries, we’ve managed to increase the opening hours. We’re actually providing more activity from that library than ever before,” she says. “That’s completely contrasted with the situation around the country.”
Despite her confidence, Peck says that she is “never complacent about elections, you have to work for every vote”. She adds that “for the first time, we are facing a united opposition with the Greens and Tories working together to get rid of Labour.
“We’ve been a strong team, standing up for our residents and standing up to government and making sure we get the best deal for Lambeth,” she says. “The important thing for me is we’re able to retain control of the council and are able to make the place fairer and better.”