Last week was another proud and at the same time humble moment in my life. I was selected by Lewisham’s Liberal Democrats members, to become our Mayoral candidate for the coming May elections.
Like many in the Borough today, I believe the decade long stagnated reign of the present Mayor has been a disaster for Lewisham and should come to an end. Lewisham has sometimes hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. Too many of our residents are living without hope, jobs and for some in homes categorised as -unfit. Lewisham deserves much much better.
I want to bring back hope, fresh approach, pride and a sense of excitement that you get when you are involved in something positive for you and your peers, improve our secondary school education, where for the last 10 years our GSCE pass rates have been below the national average unlike our neighbours Southwark, Bromley and Greenwich.
I want to create new jobs in the Borough by encouraging and supporting new business start ups that benefit us all. Create Youth Hubs where life skills will be taught, subsidised meals offered and at the same time, meet employers who will help prepare you for work. For years Lewisham has had the highest unemployment amongst 18-24 year olds in the Country and there has been no leadership with new ideas to tackle this problem.
Our healthcare is at the heart of Lewisham. Services at Lewisham hospital are still under threat because of the last Governments awful decision to sign up many healthcare trusts under these ‘Wonga’ type PFI’s. A decision that has closed many hospitals up and down the country as they cannot afford the repayments. Our neighbouring trust is still losing £1million a week. With others we won the first round to save the services at Lewisham Hospital. I am committed to work energetically with everyone to continue the fight.
Where I stand today, I cannot promise to fix all the problems created under this present Mayor. What I can promise is to do things differently. To not only have the residents of Lewisham at heart when making decisions, but to also recruit you to work for your council. Many of the senior staff here at Lewisham Council do not live in Lewisham and it shows.
Lewisham deserves better and I have been chosen to give you that opportunity next May.