NLE – robbing the poor to pay the rich?

Still no clarity regarding how costs will be apportioned between Lambeth and Wandsworth …Recently, William Howe, Senior Transport Planner, was emailed by a local resident concerning financing of the NLE, assuming that he would be able to answer some straightforward questionsIt was pointed out to him that figures well in excess of £1billion are being spoken of for the total cost, double the figure quoted 18 months ago when Treasury Holdings were project managing. It was unclear then, and is unclear now what proportion of the contributions towards NLE will fall, directly or indirectly on Lambeth, and exactly how these will be raised. Section 106, CIL, future business rates …? How will costs be apportioned between Lambeth and Wandsworth? He was asked for Lambeth:Wandsworth ratio, not exact figures. He replied that “The funding and delivery mechanism for the NLE will be part of the submission of the TWAO in late April”. Too late.

To illiustrate, see below figures published on 4th January re. council cuts across the country comparing 2010-2011 with 2011-2013, and comparing Lambeth with Wandsworth:

 
projected cuts per head most deprived area UK ranking percentage of children living in poverty
Lambeth

£162.24

14th

32.80%

Wandsworth

£98.49

102nd

23.10%

At the Cabinet Meeting on 14th January, at which our councilors faced a chamber packed with elderly Lambeth residents distressed by the planned reduction in sheltered housing, and the replacement of live-in wardens with daily wardens. Had these people stayed for the next item, they would not doubt have been shocked to hear George Turner speaking of the substantial contribution that Lambeth would be making to the construction and maintenance of a Northern Line Extension built to serve a private development at Battersea Power Station, where flats are being marketed at prices ranging from little short of £½ million   up to £6M, and to which the uplift produced by NLE is projected to be over 7%. To the old people of Lambeth these figures would have been eye-watering. No doubt less so to the wealthier residents of Wandsworth.

Council services are being cut. Old people are suffering. Nearly 1/3 of children are living in poverty (more than 3 time the national average –  the figure for Wandsworth is less than twice the national average), and it would appear than Lambeth is preparing to commit a substantial percentage of future income to the Northern Line Extension.

At the very least, and before the TWAO application, the residents of Lambeth deserve to know how their contributions will compare with those of their neighbours in Wandsworth, for whose benefit the extension is being built.

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