Southwark London Borough Council
Coat of Arms
Mayor of Southwark
Cllr Sandra Rhule, Labour
since 18th May 2019
Leader of the Council
Cllr Peter John OBE, Labour
since May 2010
since February 2012
|First past the post|
|3 May 2018|
Town Hall, Peckham Road, Peckham
Southwark London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Southwark in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London.
The London Borough of Southwark (LB Southwark) was created on 1 April 1965 under the London Government Act 1963 at the same time as the Greater London Council and is a type of local government district. It is one of the twelve London boroughs designated as an Inner London borough. As with the other London boroughs, LB Southwark was created by combining groups of former local government units, many of which had previously been established under the auspices of the London County Council or other outer London authorities. A review undertaken between 1987 and 1992 led to a number of relatively small alterations in borough boundaries. A list of previous local authority areas can be found at the London boroughs page.
It was envisaged through the London Government Act 1963 that Southwark as a London local authority would share power with the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the local authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when Southwark London Borough Council gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the Greater London Council, such as waste disposal. Southwark became an education authority in 1990. Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.
Southwark was one of the first areas where Universal Credit was fully introduced. Southwark issued a report strongly critical of Universal Credit. Rent arreas among council tenants on Universal Credit are much higher than arreas among tenants on traditional benefits. Among two groups of council tenants investigated increase in arrears per claimant averaged between £586 and £309. The report disputes claims by ministers that rent arreas are temporary and notes that there are also arreas from tenants who have been on Universal Credit for over a year. Tenants who have been on Universal Credit for 15 months underpay rent by 7% on average. The report claims, "For now, the government must acknowledge that the current system is unworkable and broken. We strongly argue that the rollout of UC should be halted until radical steps are taken to fix the ongoing issues outlined in this research." Also use of food banks in Southwark has risen by 30% from 2017 to 2018 since Universal Credit was introduced there and 80% of the increase is attributed to Universal Credit. Victoria Mills of Southwark council said, "Any delay to payments for those who are already under immense financial pressure will result in unrecoverable debt and unacceptable stress on people's lives. (...) A year on from our first research, the issues have simply got worse. We have to act on this evidence now and look at how we can support our residents and the pressure on our services. This situation is echoed across the country. The government needs to take rapid steps to fix universal credit or acknowledge that they have created a system that is unworkable and broken."
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