This Q&A is part of Brockley Central's virtual hustings. Tam Langley, Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Lewisham Deptford answers our questions:
1. Outside of morning peak time, overland services to London Bridge have been cut from 6 trains per hour to four trains per hour. What will you do to restore the levels of service, which were promised until last year?
I have been working with my colleagues - the three Forest Hill Lib Dem councillors (Alex Feakes, Philip Peake & John Russell) - to campaign hard against these cuts, working closely with the local societies. The key point we will continue to make is that train services in our part of London are some of the most overcrowded in the capital. Even with the East London line extension, it makes no sense at all to cut back existing services.
2. Do you support the local campaign to revive plans for the South London Loop service to Crofton Park?
As many Brockley Central readers will know, the Liberal Democrats in Lewisham and at the Greater London Assembly have been running a campaign on the Crofton Park - Victoria service ever since it was secretly shelved.
Our campaign has included:
- Directly asking Boris Johnson to reinstate the plans at People's Question Time
- Gathering almost 500 signatures on our petition for the line
- Repeatedly meeting and lobbying Transport for London
3. What, specifically, will you do to ensure that the Surrey Canal Station gets built during the extension of the East London Line to Clapham Junction?
It seems to me that there are two obstacles to getting the station built. The political establishment haven't got the will to make it happen and funding is going to be tight for the next few years.
There's a Lib Dem policy that could make quite a difference in this situation. Usually when new train and tube lines are built, commercial property owners make millions of pounds from the increase in their property values. In the case of the Jubilee line the gain was billions of pounds. So I have met businessmen who would happily contribute millions to have a new station near their properties, and indeed have tried to negotiate with government to do so.
4. What will your top priority for Lewisham Deptford be and what are you going to do about it?
Take action to cut crime. It is wrong to scaremonger on crime. But equally it would be deeply irresponsible to ignore the far too common sad instances of stabbings and shootings on our streets. On Gilmore road in central Lewisham a few weeks ago, I knocked on the door of a woman who told me that just the day before an 18 year old had been stabbed on her street. She was understandably horrified, and worried for her teenage children. Teenagers in Brockley have told me about their fear of being caught up in a stabbing, and their experiences of being mugged or threatened on the streets.
5. How will you reduce crime and improve policing in Lewisham Deptford?
Liberal Democrat policies that would help cut crime in Lewisham include:
- 3,000 more police on the streets nationally, paid for by scrapping ID cards
- Cutting police bureaucracy so that more police are solving crimes rather than filling in forms
- Giving people a direct say in how to punish petty criminals and anti social behaviour through Neighbourhood Justice Panels
- Targeting gun and knife crime by getting Lewisham hospital to share information with the police on the time and location of stabbings - where this has been done (in Cardiff) knife crime has fallen up to 40%
- Using rigourously enforced community sentences for minor offences instead of short prison sentences, because they are better at preventing reoffending.
By making national rules fairer and addressing the growing gap between rich and poor:
- A fairer tax policy which no longer has the poorest people paying a greater share of their income in tax than the richest people
- Better local schools - through increased spending in education and our 'pupil premium' that would target kids from the poorest areas and those most in need of one-to-one tuition
- Local jobs - by supporting green industries like renewable energy and public transport
- Giving local people more of a say in their public services - elected police authorities and health boards and the power to sack their MP
The first £10,000 pounds you earn will be free of tax, a tax cut of £700 for most people, of particular value to people on low incomes.
8. Name one thing in the party manifesto with which you personally disagree?
I agree with the Liberal Democrat policy that the House of Lords should be elected. But it would be a pity to lose experts such as Lord Joel Joffe, a great champion of charities like Oxfam and of human rights, he was the lawyer who represented Nelson Mandela at his trial in 1963.