Mayor chooses Living Wage accredited Cinema for Ladywell Playtower

A double win for Lewisham happened yesterday evening when Sir Steve Bullock (Labour), Mayor of Lewisham, chose BAFTA winning, Living-wage Foundation accredited Curzon Cinemas to take forward their proposals to bring back into operation The Ladywell Playtower site.

The proposal which will now be subject to further work, including requiring full planning permission, will see a three screen cinema and café-exhibition space open up on the site, creating over 25 new living-wage jobs and giving Lewisham back a cinema.

I look forward to the proposals being fully worked up and delivered.

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Supersets coming to #Catford

Have you backed the crowdfunding campaign to get a new business and community facilities into #Catford?

Watch video: https://vimeo.com/234304149

Donate here: https://www.spacehive.com/creative-community-space-for-catford

Supersets have been chosen by Lewisham Council as the preferred tenant to take over the derelict Thomas Lane Depot in Catford. We want to turn the space into a contemporary creative hub with our state-of-the-art scenery construction workshop at its core.

They are looking to create spaces that are of benefit to the wider Catford community, including: a community beach, a community mural, and a drive-in movie night.

Supersets also want to provide evening classes, apprenticeships and other training opportunities from our workshop space.

Supersets is a truly local business and we passionately believe in collaborating with and supporting the local community. This is why we want to ensure that our workshop can provide something for everybody; from open-air film screening and a skate park, to apprenticeships and educational partnerships, we want to place our workshop at the heart of Catford.

What we’ll deliver:

• Restore the derelict building

• Paint a series of community murals

• Create a skate ramp

• Offer creative workspace to the community

• Offer training and education opportunities

• Create a community beach

• Create drive-in cinema

Why it’s a great idea:

On the Catford “Commonplace Map”, the the most frequent comments about Thomas Lane were: ‘run down’, ‘dull/boring’, ‘feels unsafe’.

We believe that our project could change all of this.

We want to create a space that the community can be proud of.

By opening up the depot as a busy working building, and with the introduction of our training programmes and community initiatives, we will create a sense of community in the area and also help improve perceived safety.

When we put out a survey to Lewisham residents, it showed that 98% of them would like to see an increase in community based initiatives in Catford, and that over 96% think that is is important for local businesses to offer training and skills development.

There is clearly local appetite for what we are offering, and we have many of the skills needed to get this project off the ground within our workshop, but an injection of funding will be invaluable in helping us to reach our goals and create all of these initiatives.

Steps to get it done:

• Begin building restoration

• Purchase training equipment

• Recruit apprentices and trainees

• Build community beach

• Build skate ramp

• Establish drive-in cinema

• Paint murals

Lewisham Labour calls on Government to “Scrap the cap”

Lewisham Labour Councillors have passed a Lewisham Council motion that calls for an immediate end to the public sector pay cap.

The motion highlights the fact that in terms of inflation and other economic factors real terms wages have fallen over 21% since 2010 and things will only get worse. This is without even taking into account the drastic austerity based ideological cuts which are already having significant impact on these already stretched public services.

Lewisham Labour backs the claims from the NJC and supported by a multitude of Public Sector Unions including: Unison, GMB and Unite.

Councillor Paul Bell who spoke in favour of the motion said:

“Our staff are our greatest asset. Paying a fair wage for their tremendous hard work and dedication is not simply a good thing to do, it is the morally right thing to do.”

Financial Wellbeing of Staff

In July 2016 a YouGov Shelter report found that more than one in three (37%) of UK households were teetering on the brink of homelessness, unable to pay more than a month’s rent or mortgage if they lost their income. 

Between 2008 and 2014 cost of living went up 28% whilst salary grew by just 9%. 

The Bank Workers Charity has produced a new report that highlights how £120bn of productivity is lost per year because of it and the actions employers can take to reduce the financial cost and negative impacts on our staff.


Full report:

‪http://thewellbeingpulse.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Employee-financial-wellbeing-Time-to-do-more.pdf

£40,000 to live alone in London, new research finds

The 2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’ research, carried out by nested.com, shows that the average salary for a singleton to live alone in London has soared to more than £40,000/yr, and a family of four need an income of more than £75,000/yr

The research shows that London is the 11th most expensive city in the world to live in, based on a square footage alone, we however know utilities and goods and services tend to be much, much, higher in UK and London in particular.

The report continues to identify that an individual earning The London Living Wage of £9.75hr would need to work 12hrs, every day of the year to reach this income threshold. 

When looking at city comparators across the U.K.- London unsurprisingly takes the stop spot, but what is shocking is the difference between London’s first place (£39,876.84) and 2nd  (£20,737.20) places is £19,139.64, almost 50% variance. 

Update: some have written to say that they disagree with this average rents for their area. Consistently, but only anecdotally, said they’re higher, in London or otherwise. That aside, this blog is focussed more about the loss of the life stage of living by yourself, whether as a transition army between professional sharer and starting a family, but equally about the financial trap individuals, who may have had a relationship breakdown, but can not afford to live alone. This will disproportionately affect women, and those less economically active.

In January 2014, Land Registry figures showed average house prices across the whole of England and Wales were £168,536, but in London the average was £409,881 (143% higher than the England/Wales rate). This house price gap has been growing ever larger, with London experiencing 10.9% growth over the last year, compared to 4.2% across England and Wales.

The same picture is apparent in the private rented sector, with the the England rental rate runnings at £665 a month in January 2014, compared to £1,516 a month in London (128% higher than the England rate). The differential in local authority rented property is less exaggerated but still significant, with average rent across England running at £79 a week in 2012/13, compared to £99 in London (25% higher than the England average).

London Weighting is not the answerUnison’s Bargaining Support Unit undertook a review for 2013/14 into London Weighting across seven sectors, this ‘top up’ is pitiful compared to the cost differential.

But what can Lewisham do?

Next week I’ll be attending my new role on Lewisham’s Poverty Taskforce, alongside Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trust for London, looking   This came off the back of work I undertook in my Lewisham Councillor Scrutiny role, 

The Committee will be pursuing the following issues:

  •  Tackling in-work poverty in the borough
  •  Tackling out-of-work poverty, namely for pensioners relying on state pensions
  •  Tackling poverty prevalent amongst young families struggling with a
    combination of housing and child care costs
  •  Ensuring residents are proactively informed about legislative changes that
    could impact both positively and negatively on their income and general
    financial welfare
  •  Staying up-to-date on legislative changes and advise on appropriate changes
    to the Council’s work accordingly.

2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’

Table 1

Table 2


OPPORTUNITY: Great NEW Meanwhile Use Spaces

As local Councillor for #RusheyGreen in #Catford, I’ve been working with Lewisham Council to look at our high-streets and in particular regenerate Catford Town Centre, that process is now underway. 

As part of this work , The London Borough of Lewisham is inviting meanwhile proposals for a number of properties located in Catford town centre (see below for opportunities)


1) Thomas Lane Depot, Catford, SE6 4RZ

2) 17-18 Catford Broadway, SE6 4SN  

3) The Brookdale Club, Brookdale Road, Catford, SE6

These spaces are located within Catford town centre and offer wide possibilities for diverse, creative, commercial, residential and mixed-used occupation. The hope for these developments is to inject a new burst of life and creativity into some of Catford’s unused spaces, bringing new talent, opportunities & resources to the local area. Developments will help to catalyse the re-invigoration of Catford town centre, and meet Lewisham Council priorities for local regeneration, growth & investment.

A detailed information pack and Expression of Interest (EOI) form is available by request but MUST be returned electronically by the 7th February 2017.

Site visits are available on these dates:

· Friday 13th January: 2pm onwards

· Friday 20th January: all day

· Friday 27th January: all day

 Contact: Jessie Lea MRICS, Senior Programme Manager jessie.lea@lewisham.gov.uk | 0208 314 9256

Living Standards and Wages crash under Tory Government

Osbourne says that the Torys saved the economy, but the average person is £1,500 worse off now than in 2010

Osbourne says that the Torys saved the economy, but the average person is £1,500 worse off now than in 2010

under the first 37 of 38 months under Camerson real Wages have fallen

under the first 37 of 38 months under Camerson real Wages have fallen

Since 2010, the rise in wages has been outstripped by the rise in rent

Since 2010, the rise in wages has been outstripped by the rise in rent

The rise in the cost of Heating our homes has been significantly higher than wages

The rise in the cost of Heating our homes has been significantly higher than wages

Government needs to do more for 1 in six children in total poverty

Major charities have come together to criticise the inaction and damaging domestic policies of David Cameron and Nick Cleggs Tory-Liberal coalition government.

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Over the last year 300,000 more families have fallen into extreme hardship, with their net family income at less than £250 per week or less

Anne Marie Carrie Chief Exec of Barnardo’s said the government was not doing enough to help families ‘at the tipping point between hardship and crisis’, she continued ‘families already budgeting on a shoe string, squeezed by the rising price if essentials and high childcare bills. Tis year many households will be pushed into financial chaos when the cap on benefit increases takes effect, compromising the health and life chances of children.’

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