The Lewisham Deptford Elections: Joan Ruddock

This Q&A is part of Brockley Central's virtual hustings. Joan Ruddock, the incumbent Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, answers our questions. Click for Tam Langley and Darren Johnson's answers.

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 met with the train operator about time table changes and reductions in service. They argue that there are technical limitations at London Bridge that cannot be overcome. I have pressed the case and they have agreed to meet with me again in July to review the effects and discuss possible compromises. Thanks to unprecedented levels of investment by Labour many commuters are benefitting from new lines and new trains and in future more carriages to reduce overcrowding, but I’m determined to pursue this vital local issue. I’m delighted that pressure from local Labour MPs like myself secured the East London Line extension due to open in May.

2. Do you support the local campaign to revive plans for the south London Loops service to Crofton Park?

Yes. I’m aware of the difficulties arising from the planned rebuilding of London bridge station and the proposal to close the line in 2012. The Save the London Line campaign has been chaired by my colleague Val Shawcross, Labour candidate for Bermondsey & Southwark and I very much support the alternative service running from Victoria through Crofton Park to Bellingham.

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?

I have argued the case for the Surrey Canal Road Station ever since the extension of the East London Line to Clapham Junction was proposed. I obtained a promise from the Department of Transport to provide £7m for the new station on the basis of a value for money assessment after Boris Johnson refused to fund it. Since then I have actively campaigned and intervened with both DfT and TfL as negotiations have stalled. The cost estimate of the station left a £3m ‘gap’ which Lewisham Council have offered to fill. I will continue to strongly argue for the station and if re-elected will meet with ministers again immediately after the election.

4. What will your top priority for Lewisham Deptford be and what are you going to do about it?

I have many local priorities for the different areas in the constituency ranging from the improvements to Brockley Station and Brockley Common (I chair the local stakeholders group) to Deptford Station redevelopment (I initiated and chair the group) to redevelopment at New Cross Gate Station and the Sainsbury’s site (another of my stakeholder groups). I will continue to press for improvements in existing homes, including greater energy efficiency and for more affordable homes to be built with on-site energy generation to enable people to benefit from the clean energy payback scheme introduced by the government. My overall priority is to support the economic recovery by getting Labour re-elected to government.

5. How will you reduce crime and improve policing in Lewisham Deptford?

Crime has reduced dramatically as a result of Labour policies on neighbourhood policing and better detection methods. However violence amongst young people is a huge problem which despite all our efforts continues to be completely unacceptable. I will guarantee that we will keep up police numbers. I will press for maximum police time on the streets, close contact with communities, engaging parents and supporting diversionary activities for young people.

6. How can national government help Lewisham Council improve its performance and achieve its aims?

The Labour government introduced a reporting framework of indicators and targets for local government. This has led to considerable improvement and efficiencies including boosting recycling rates and the use of green energy. National government also provides for the decent homes standard that has improved 5000 Lewisham properties in the social housing sector with many more in the pipeline.

7. What is the one policy you support that you would most like Brockley Central readers to know about?

As Minister for Energy and Climate Change, I have helped develop and execute the Labour government’s policies on energy efficiency and climate change. I am proud of our record – we are the first government in the world to bring into law absolute limits on greenhouse gases. Every government department now has a carbon budget and we have nearly doubled our achievement of the Kyoto target. We will provide 30% of our electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Our home energy efficiency programme will result in all cavity walls and lofts being filled by 2015; more complex eco-upgrades for 7 million homes and a ‘pay as you save’ scheme to enable home owners to meet the costs of installing green measures.

8. Name one thing in the party manifesto with which you personally disagree?

I voted against the renewal of Trident when it was debated in 2007 – I continue to oppose all nuclear weapons while supporting the government’s efforts on the non-proliferation treaty.