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View from City Hall: Developments at The Blue and what the mayor is doing to tackle the economy

I was so pleased to see the recent unveiling of the new clocktower at the Blue Market, writes Southwark and Lambeth assembly member Marina Ahmad…

The Blue is not only a local landmark, but a community hub and with £2 million of investment from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund and further support from Southwark Council, it has undergone a significant transformation in recent years.

South Bermondsey councillors Leo Pollak, Leanne Werner and Sunny Lambe deserve special credit on account of their passion for revamping the Blue and close engagement with local residents and business owners throughout the process.

We are all hoping to see the local economy lift over the next few months.

At the start of the summer, the Mayor launched his ‘Let’s Do London’ domestic tourism campaign to attract people from inside and outside the capital back to many of our star attractions. From The Globe to Borough Market, we are lucky to have some of the very best of these on our doorstep.

I have also asked the mayor for an update on the campaign since its launch, and he revealed that people who are familiar with it are almost three times as likely to have visited London.

I recently met with the fantastic organisation, You be You, which operates out of Southwark, and heard about their work in schools with pupils and parents to challenge gender stereotypes and empower the next generation.

It’s so important for our long-term economic recovery that young Londoners are equipped with the skills they need for high-quality, future-proof jobs.

But in the shorter-term, we are facing the prospect of a surge in redundancies as the furlough scheme winds down. There are many things the government could do to prevent this and one of them is to accelerate their job creation and retraining schemes.

The government’s Kickstart jobs scheme, which is aimed at 16-24 years is still struggling to get off the ground after it was launched last January. I have now asked the Department for Work and Pensions for an update on how many job openings it has helped to fill in Southwark so far.

On a more positive note, it has been great to see the Skills Centre in Rotherhithe open up a free three-week training scheme in construction skills for local people. The CEO, John Howlin, is particularly encouraging more women to sign-up to the scheme.

This project will not only be a step towards addressing the lack of women represented in the construction industry, but the wider deficit in the workforce left behind by Brexit.

If we are going to tackle London’s housing and affordability crisis, we will need all hands-on deck.


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