At the London Assembly Economy committee this week the topic for discussion was outsourcing and procurement. Not so long ago outsourcing was the default position for local authorities and central Government alike. It seemed like things only stayed in-house if there were no private providers prepared to take them on. Many of our councils turned into little more than contract managers. Private sector good, public sector bad was the oft heard refrain.
With the collapse of Carillion and constant press speculation that the behemoths of private procurement are all teetering on the edge, outsourcing no longer looks like quite such a rosy option. Perhaps the idea that private sector magicians could continue to provide double-digit savings on a yearly basis while still delivering top quality services was, in retrospect, a touch fanciful.
My earliest political memory was the election of Barack Obama in 2008, when I was just 8 years old. We were shown a video of one of his speeches, and while most of it went a little over my head, I remember being in total awe of the way he talked about change and how one person could make a difference. It is probably because of Obama that I became a liberal to begin with. It was bought to my attention again when I was 12 and he was gunning for re-election, and again I was blown away by the dignity and sincerity with which he articulated the liberal message.
For too long, landlords had been able to impose huge unfair charges on renters with little government oversight.
Three years ago, Liberal Democrat Baroness Olly Grender introduced a bill to the House of Lords on renters’ rights, to ban letting agents from charging excessive admin fees and protect tenants from rogue landlords.
This bill was left unfinished when the snap election was held in 2017, but the Liberal Democrats have continued to fight for renters’ rights.
The Liberal Democrat move led the Government to introduce a new Tenant Fees Bill last year, and we won a number of important amendments to prevent renters being charged unfair fees, cap tenancy deposits at five weeks’ rent and requiring more transparency when a deposit isn’t returned.
On June 6th that bill became law, giving renters a fairer deal in the private rental sector and protecting them from unaffordable deposits and extortionate fees.
Read a briefing from Generation Rent, which has been campaigning on the issue.
Congratulations to Allan Tweddle, our new Lib Dem London Assembly candidate for Bexley and Bromley photographed here with Siobhan Benita, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.
While all eyes have been focussed on our recent successes in the Local Council and EU elections, another small contest has been underway around London. The members of all of the capital's local parties have been selecting who should represent them in next year's London Assembly elections.
The votes were counted on the morning of Friday 7 June at Liberal Democrat HQ. Allan Tweddle said: "I'm delighted to announce that the members in Bexley and Bromley borough voted for me to stand as their candidate for the constituency that covers the region. Thank you to everyone who voted for me."
Bromley Living Streets’ inaugural event drew a large gathering of local residents to Bromley Central Library on Mon 3rd June, including a number of Liberal Democrat members, interested in plans to encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport around Bromley’s neighbourhoods.