On May 5, voters across the UK will go to the polls to decide who will lead their local authority.
Labor has held a majority in Lambeth since 2006 and will be confident of retaining it this time around. But a rise in support for the Greens in 2018 and a strong performance by the Liberal Democrats in the recent by-elections could raise Labor fears of losing some seats.
One issue that could be a big factor in this year’s local elections in Lambeth is both the quality and quantity of affordable housing in the borough.
Labour-run Lambeth Council has become a regular target for social housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa, who exposes poor and unsafe social housing conditions to his 45,000 Twitter followers and viewers nationwide.
There have been numerous reports of damp, mold and other unsafe conditions, including lead-poisoned water in residential buildings across the borough, while the council has been accused of failing to act. .
The council has also come under pressure from locals and activists over plans to demolish housing estates and rebuild them, rather than renovate them.
The Green Party, which is hoping to win more Lambeth Council seats after an impressive performance in 2018, has campaigned against demolitions in the borough.
Labor could also suffer this year due to reputational damage done to the council by the findings of the Independent Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry released last year, which found that a “culture of cover-up” at the Lambeth Council has led over 700 children into abuse. in residences for the elderly in the borough.
Serious abuse took place in five care homes in Lambeth from the 1960s to the 1990s. The report says Lambeth Council staff and counselors ‘treated children in care as if they were worthless’.
Although traditionally a Labor-controlled council, Lambeth was previously held by the Conservatives, between 1968 and 1971, and a Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition between 2002 and 2006.
Labor regained control of Lambeth Council in the 2006 local elections and won all subsequent elections in the borough.
In the last local elections in 2018, Labor maintained a majority in Lambeth Council by winning 57 of the 63 available seats with 51.7% of the popular vote. But despite a 2% swing in favor of the party from the 2014 election, Labor lost two seats to the Green Party.
In 2018, the Greens established themselves as the borough’s second largest party, winning two seats from Labor and two from the Conservatives, while retaining the seat they already held.
The Greens saw a 3.8% swing in their favor in 2018, while the Conservatives saw a 1.9% swing against them, losing two of their three seats. The participation rate in 2018 was 34%, 2% more than in 2014.
Following the findings of the local government boundary review, Lambeth will be divided into 25 wards from the next election, an increase of four. The number of seats on Lambeth Council will remain at 63.
Two by-elections were held between 2018 and 2019, both of which saw Labor successfully defend their seats despite strong performances by the Lib Dems who saw them come second each time.
One such by-election was to replace council leader Lib Peck, who resigned to take up a post as head of Sadiq Khan’s violence reduction unit.
The new leader, Jack Hopkins, shockingly resigned from his post in May 2021 without explanation. A week later, The Guardian reported that Mr Hopkins was being investigated by the Labor Party over allegations of sexual harassment, which he vehemently denied.
Councilor Claire Holland was chosen as the council’s new leader the same month.
In January 2022, Labor councilor Philip Normal resigned after historic tweets were recast in which he used offensive language towards transgender people and Muslims.
The following month, another Labor councilor resigned to take up a new post. Both seats remained vacant since local elections in a few months at the time.
Council tax in Lambeth has risen by 1.99% from April this year, after being approved by council in February.
Lambeth has a population of around 321,813 according to mid-year estimates as of 2020, an increase from 303,086 as recorded in the 2011 census.
Like London as a whole, Lambeth has a relatively young population with an average age of 32.4.
About 72% of Lambeth’s population is made up of working-age adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Those under 18 represent 19.2% while those over 65 represent only 8.7%.
In the 2011 census, 57% of Lambeth’s population was recorded as white, including 39% who identified as white British and 15.5% from other white backgrounds.
Black African residents of Lambeth made up 11.6% of the population, while those from Black Caribbean backgrounds made up 9.5%.
People of Asian or Asian British descent accounted for just under 7%.
Around 30% of Lambeth residents live in poverty, according to Trust for London, while the child poverty rate is 43%. The unemployment rate in the borough is 6.6%.