At this time every year we publish our first draft of Islington Council’s annual budget for the next financial year.
A lot of work goes into this: setting the budget is the most important decision that Councillors have to make each year.
Islington Labour’s budget this year invests in our key priorities of new Council Housing, helping the most vulnerable and giving the best start in life for all children. Today we announce:
- We’re planning to invest £57 million into new council homes. This is the council’s biggest investment into new build homes in over 30 years. New Council homes will be built on estates including Kings Square, Dover Court, Elthorne and Park View
- An investment of almost £14 million into Tufnell Park Primary School, to provide a modern, new school, that will enable expansion of the school from the current one and a half form entry to three form entry, providing high quality school places at a good local community school.
- Scrapping council tax for all Islington foster carers, including those who foster adults on the council’s Shared Lives scheme for vulnerable adults. Any registered foster carers in Islington will not have to pay council tax in Islington, to help them cope with the cost of living and encourage more to become foster carers . To pay for this, residents that own empty properties in Islington will now be charged double council tax on empty properties.
This shows Islington Labour’s political priorities: investment in council homes and hihg quality public services while asking those who can afford to pay a bit more to help those who need it.
Overall, the ongoing massive Tory cuts to Islington are forcing the Council to find £32 million in savings. The full list of the draft proposals is published on the Council website here. please let me know your thoughts.
I’m proud that for another year we’re protecting the services that really matter, such as libraries, Childrens’ Centres, leisure centres, the Ecology Centre, street sweeping and refuse collection.
We’ve found much of the money through finding ways of raising extra revenue and also really good management of the assets and money we have. But the scale of the Tory cuts is immense. Since the Tories came to power (facilitated by the Lib Dems) and 2020, national government will have cut its core funding to Islington Council by 70 per cent, since 2010 – that’s £200 million of lost spending power each year. Demand on key services is increasing putting massive extra pressure on our budget.
I think we’ve managed this near impossible task in Islington as well as could be asked of us. We’ve carried on making a difference in the toughest of times. But the strain is showing. There are fewer staff doing more jobs and this will be felt by local residents. More worryingly, as every other public service in the borough is either under-funded or outright cut it becomes more challenging to know where the gaps between Council, NHS, Police and other services will emerge.
What worries me most is the level of strain across the public sector after 8 years of damaging austerity cannot be continued. nationally many areas are reaching a tipping point where only urgent problems are being addressed meaning that many preventative services are being cut and demand will rise faster still.
I’m proud that Islington Labour continues to be run a competent Council while being true to our political values, we cannot disguise the problems the Government’s austerity agenda is causing.