As leaders of Labour-run London councils, we know the difference that Labour makes to so many lives. That’s not just about what happens in Westminster – important though that is – but what happens at a local and regional level too.
That’s especially true in London. Labour councils in the capital have faced some of the toughest budget cuts at the hands of the Tories. Whilst we can – and do – achieve a great deal for our local areas in tough circumstances, we could do so much more with Labour in government nationally.
That’s why we’re backing Liz Kendall to take Labour forwards.
She offers a fresh start for the Labour Party, and understands not only the advantages but the necessity of shifting power away from the centre and into the hands of those who need it most. In recent years we have been forced to face some tough decisions, and we’ve had to take innovative action that works for the communities we seek to represent.
Liz Kendall understands the choices we’ve had to make. She understands that a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Too often the Labour leadership hasn’t trusted local councils – under Liz Kendall that won’t be the case.
We believe that Liz understands that decisions should be taken as close to people as possible. She understands that the future of the country isn’t about what happens in Whitehall, it’s about shifting power to town halls, and more importantly, to local communities – sharing power with those who have none, and using government, be it national or local, to help people help themselves and one another.
We share Liz’s desire to involve people in designing the public services they use; to give employees a stronger say in their workplaces; and to ensure that local businesses help shape the educational provision they need to create vibrant local economies.
Liz is no recent convert to devolution – over the past three years she has impressed us by her unstinting commitment to finding more local solutions for health and social care. This commitment to devolution goes further than health and social care – it’s at the heart of her plan for the Labour Party and the country.
We know that when Labour is led well – locally or nationally – it’s to the benefit of our country, our party and crucially our communities. But when Labour fails to connect with the people we seek to serve and lacks understanding of why people don’t give us their support, councillors are often the first to find out – and the first to lose their seats.
With Liz Kendall as Labour leader, the party can begin to regain the trust of the British people, putting power back in their hands and pushing power away from the centre and towards our the people themselves. And with a crucial London Mayoral contest next year, Labour can’t wait to start that process.
If Labour wants to begin the process of reconnecting with our communities – and those areas far beyond where the party needs to win to help us deliver for our communities – then Liz Kendall is the right choice.
For local government.
And for Labour.
Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader, Camden Council
Cllr Julian Bell, Leader, Ealing Council
Steve Curran, Hounslow Council
Cllr Claire Kober, Leader, Haringey Council
Cllr Lib Peck, Leader, Lambeth Council
Mayor Steve Bullock, Lewisham Council
Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Leader, Merton Council
Cllr Peter John, Leader, Southwark Council