The new leader of the Labour group in Wandsworth Council has set out his vision for the borough.

Councillor Simon Hogg was elected leader by his Labour council colleagues for 2016/17, and said his key priorities for the year will be to make sure the borough remains a "great place for all families to live" and encourage the council to embrace technology.

The leader of the opposition said: "I think the council should be more open and co-operative – and it should become much better at using digital technology.

"The public don't compare Wandsworth council services to Ealing, Greenwich and Newham. They compare them to Uber, Google and Netflix.

"Labour’s here to help people live the fulfilled lives they want to lead. We focus on the problems that matter to local people.

"We’re working on policies for more affordable housing, better transport and to protect our environment and local landmarks."

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The Latchmere councillor said that should his group take control of the council, tax would remain the same, and he knows many families could not afford any more.

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He said: "It is the right thing to keep council tax as low as we can.

"It’s the fair thing to do: higher council tax hurts renters, older people and those on low incomes.

"Council tax only funds five per cent of Wandsworth’s budget. So you wouldn’t raise much money even if you did want to increase it."

Big changes are on the horizon for the council, as the shared staffing arrangement with Richmond Council comes into play later this year.

Cllr Hogg's colleagues have been vocal in the chamber about the merger, saying it is too much, too fast.

Cllr Hogg, 37, said: "The idea of better co-operation to protect front line services is a good one. Unfortunately this merger has the wrong partner and the wrong structure.

"We wouldn’t have gone down this particular road, but we’re going to make the best of it we can for local people.

"More than 400 jobs are going to be lost. The remaining staff will have to run two councils. They simply can’t have the same focus.

"I think it’s a good chance to ask, what should a 21st century council look like?

"It would be streamlined, digital, able to adapt quickly. Organised around the needs of the public.

"It would listen and learn. Admit mistakes. It would be open and co-operative and much more efficient.

"The merger is about cutting costs by removing jobs – we could have been so much more imaginative."

Cllr Hogg said he did not think things have changed enough since he first became a councillor in 2010, but there had been considerable improvements.

He said he hoped the council would do what it could to influence the national response to the refugee crisis.

Cllr Hogg said: "Labour has been leading on this issue. Wandsworth should play its part to help with the dreadful crisis – taking in 50 families this year would be an overdue step in the right direction."

He pledged to work with council staff to fix the problems in children's services, flagged up through the Ofsted report in February, which graded services as inadequate.

He said: "Personally, I don’t believe the councillors who led us into this scandal are the right ones to lead us out of it."

Cllr Hogg trained as a scientist and was a newspaper journalist before setting up his own business and employing 25 people.

His business was hit by the recession and he was "back to square one".

He said: "I know what it’s like to hire people and I know what it’s like to have to let them go. So when I face a decision that job cuts, I always weigh up the impact on the individuals and their families.

"My style is to make decisions based on evidence and data and then communicate how those decisions affect our everyday lives."

Cllr Hogg now works for housing charity Shelter.