We agree with Chuka Umunna on the need for an urgent focus on youth violence. In Lambeth we have seen over 7000 victims in the last ten years – the highest in London. If we are to tackle this problem, it is clear that we must start here.
We will support any cross-party effort to take on this issue. However, the idea of a National Mission seems to entirely miss the mark. There is no short-term silver bullet. And while we welcome the Government’s recent announcement of increased investment in the Early Intervention Fund, this £22m cannot fill the gaps left by years of under-investment by successive Conservative governments.
"We can’t tackle crime with cuts", comments Doug Buist, Lib Dem candidate for the Coldharbour ward by-election.
Doug Bust, Lib Dem candidate for Coldharbour ward by-election, and Councillor William Huangbo (Southwark) working together on community safety
It is clear that neither Lambeth Labour, nor the Mayor of London or the national Labour party has made it a priority to push for the vital services that are not just nice-to-have for our children and young people, but can truly be a matter of life and death.
We demand better for the next generation, in Lambeth and beyond. We call upon our leaders in Westminster, the Greater London Assembly and Lambeth Council to:
- Reverse aggressive cuts to local government funding, putting power back in the hands of local people, who are best-placed to identify and target the root causes of youth violence in their own communities
- Halt the decimation of community policy, reversing the proposed merger between Lambeth and Southwark police forces, which would lead to fewer officers on our streets and weaker collaboration between these officers and the communities they serve
- Prioritise early years education and ensure that every child and young person has access to nurseries and children's centres, parks, youth clubs providing arts and sports activities, spaces to study, employment opportunities and affordable, quality, housing
- Recognise and serve the distinct health (both physical and mental) and education needs of black and minority ethnic communities, who are often the first to be let down by a system under strain
- Rethink the UK’s untenable position on recreational drugs
We want a serious debate about how, together, we can build a community where every young person feels they belong and can thrive.