To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, Islington Council today raised the Irish flag above the Town Hall. 

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This occasion was witnessed by members of the local Irish community, councillors, and the Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Watts. 

Organiser of the event Cllr Troy Gallagher said of the occasion: "St Patrick’s Day is an important date in London’s calendar.

"Raising the Irish flag is a great gesture to mark the occasion, and to celebrate our Irish population in Islington and the contribution they have made to our local community. 

"Islington's strength is our diversity and I’m proud that today we’re celebrating the distinctive contribution of our Irish residents in the borough."

Pictured: Councillors and council employees with the Irish flag at the Town Hall. 

Irish flag raised to celebrate St Patrick's Day

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, Islington Council today raised the Irish flag above the Town Hall.  This occasion was witnessed by members of the local Irish community, councillors,...

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Labour-run Islington Council has agreed to introduce a new landlord licensing scheme to tackle poor housing on Holloway Road and Caledonian Road. 

Islington Labour is committed to ensuring that everyone in the borough has a decent and affordable home. Since 2010, the council has helped deliver 1,800 genuinely affordable new homes, and will deliver a further 1,500 by 2019. We have also taken tough action to improve the standards of housing in the growing private rented sector in the borough. 

To help to improve standards further, a new landlord licensing scheme will come into force to protect around 3,500 private tenants in shared homes. Properties known as HMOs along Holloway Road and Caledonian Road will be subject to the new scheme. 

The proposals were agreed after the council inspected properties in the area and found that more than two thirds of HMOs had problems – including fire alarms not working, mice infestations, poor electrical systems, and rooms being let that were too small for someone to live in. 

Cllr James Murray, Executive Member for Housing and Development, said: “We’ve been concerned about poor conditions in some properties in these areas and our inspections confirmed many were in a bad way. The targeted licensing scheme will mean landlords have to provide tenants with decent homes. 

“Any landlord on Holloway Road or Caledonian Road will have to meet the standards we set, or they face prosecution and fines of up to £20,000. It’s right that we fight for a fair deal for private tenants.” 

More information about the scheme can be found here. 

The council also provides a helpline for private tenants for all issues and concerns - 020 7527 3001. 

Tackling poor housing with targeted landlord licensing

Labour-run Islington Council has agreed to introduce a new landlord licensing scheme to tackle poor housing on Holloway Road and Caledonian Road.  Islington Labour is committed to ensuring that everyone...

Islington Labour councillors have described Transport for London's (TfL) plans to shut Tufnell Park underground station for 8 months from June as showing 'complete contempt for local people'. 

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Rumours surfaced last summer that TfL were considering closing the station to replace the station lifts. At the time, local St George's ward and Junction ward Labour councillors worked with residents and local businesses to warn against the plans.

TfL assured the council in writing that no plans were in place to close the station and that any future developments would be communicated to the council first. 

However, earlier this week, TfL announced that the station would indeed close from 8th June until March 2016 - an 8 month closure that will cause massive disruption for residents and hits many local businesses. 

This decision has been made without consultation with local people. 

St George's ward councillor, Cllr Nick Ward, said: "TfL has shown complete contempt for local people in announcing its plans to close Tufnell Park tube station. 

"Closing the station entirely for 8 months will cause massive disruption and hit businesses hard. Over 2 million journeys would be affected by a six month closure of the station. Thousands of residents use the station every day to get to work. Have TfL considered how this will impact them, or how the local businesses around the station that rely on the passing trade will be affected by a closure? Of course they haven’t.   

"Our community deserves better and the concerns of local people should not be dismissed so easily by TfL.

"My fellow St George’s ward councillors and I are calling for TfL to put their plans on hold and to genuinely consult the local community before starting any work. It is astonishing that TfL has failed to run a consultation exercise for such an intrusive and significant project."

Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Watts, and Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, have written to TfL calling for the plans to be put on hold and meaningful consultation to take place with local people. Cllr Watts and Cllr Webbe have also called for local businesses to be compensated if the closure does go ahead. 

 

TfL shows 'complete contempt' with Tufnell Park Station closure

Islington Labour councillors have described Transport for London's (TfL) plans to shut Tufnell Park underground station for 8 months from June as showing 'complete contempt for local people'.  Rumours surfaced...

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Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Richard Watts, wrote this week in the Evening Standard about the Tory-led Government's massive cuts to local councils and the impact yet more cuts would have on services. 

Cllr Watts wrote - 

Your editorial on Monday about the impact of further major cuts to public spending is too complacent.

Local councils have been making the kind of relatively pain-free efficiency savings you suggest for four years now. My own authority has cut its spending by more than £100 million this way.

However, these efficiencies cannot keep being found. If, say, you’ve shared your public health department once (as Islington and Camden councils have done) you can’t do it again and again and expect to keep on saving money.

Substantial further cuts to local councils can only be made by cutting deep into valued public services. Such cuts would be deeply damaging and a false economy that will pile costs onto the state elsewhere.

Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council

Cllr Watts has also written about the need to give local councils a secure financial future and why giving councils the powers they need to help improve services and get results, is good for everyone. 

 

There are limits to local authority cuts

Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Richard Watts, wrote this week in the Evening Standard about the Tory-led Government's massive cuts to local councils and the impact yet more cuts would...

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, has welcomed news that Transport for London (TfL) will be piloting 20mph speed limits on select ‘red routes’ in the borough. 

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In 2013, Labour-run Islington Council became the first borough to adopt 20mph speed limits on all residential roads managed by the council. Since then Islington Labour has been campaigning for TfL to adopt the same safer speeds on the main routes through the borough which they manage. 

TfL have now announced plans for 8 pilots across the city, including Upper Street and on Holloway Road (between Pentonville Road and Seven Sisters Road).

Cllr Webbe commented: “I’m delighted that TfL has finally listened to our calls for safer 20mph speed limits to be introduced on the main routes they manage in Islington.

“We’ve been calling for such a move ever since we became the first borough to adopt borough-wide 20mph speed limits in 2013.

“20mph limits make our roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and also help to improve air quality. After a series of successful ‘stop and advice’ exercises with motorists, we were the first borough to have our 20mph limits enforced by the police.

“I look forward to the pilots beginning, and I hope this is a first step to making all our roads safer.” 

More information about the TfL pilot plans can be found here.

Pictured: Cllr Webbe with police officers on enforcement action of the 20mph speed limits. 

Islington Labour welcomes 20mph trials on TfL ‘red routes’

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, has welcomed news that Transport for London (TfL) will be piloting 20mph speed limits on select ‘red routes’ in the borough. ...

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Throughout March, Islington Labour councillors are joining forces with the local community in a ‘spring clean’ programme in four areas of the borough. 

Starting in Nag’s Head town centre last week, grot spots will be tackled with litter picks, graffiti removal, pavement cleaning and other measures to clean up our streets.

The roving programme moves to Finsbury Park this week, then on to Archway from 16th March, and Cally Road from 23rd March.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment & Transport, said: “We are determined to make sure our town centres and main high streets are welcoming and clean for the residents and businesses that live and work in our community. 

“It’s been great to see the impact the first exercise has had in Nag’s Head, and I am really pleased that councillors have joined the community and lent a hand.” 

If you see a grot spot in any of the areas listed above, you can tweet a photo and the location accompanied by the following hashtags - #CleanUpFinsburyPark, #CleanUpNagsHead, #CleanUpArchway, and #CleanUpCallyRoad – and this will alert the council to the problem.

More information can be found here.

Spring Clean across Islington

Throughout March, Islington Labour councillors are joining forces with the local community in a ‘spring clean’ programme in four areas of the borough.  Starting in Nag’s Head town centre last...

Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Richard Watts, writes about the council budget and Islington Labour’s commitment to making a difference for our borough.

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On Thursday 26th February, Islington Council was yet again forced to make tough choices in order to set a legal budget for the year ahead.

Since 2011, the council's funding has been cut in half by the Tory-led Government. That has meant we have had to carry out our agenda to make Islington a fairer place and to make a difference for working people, in a time of unprecedented financial pressures.

Imagine for a minute that you had to run your household with half as much money as you used to have, and you will understand the scale of what we have had to do.

The difference Islington Labour makes can be seen in our budget which protects all our libraries, children's centres, and continues to support vital adult social care. It also delivers fair pay for all our staff with our continued commitment to the Living Wage.

We have also found new ways to generate income, such as selling our expert advice in certain areas and by installing solar panels on council buildings. We’ve been able to keep job losses as low as possible, and have made some agency staff full council employees with better terms and conditions.

We were very clear at the election that we would prioritise homes, jobs and helping people with the cost of living. I know that people understand that if we had not set a legal budget, all this work to make a difference to people’s lives would have been put at risk.

I'm proud that the 47 members of the Labour Group did not duck this challenge and set a legal budget.

In contrast, the Green Party showed that they are neither serious nor up to the job of running a council. The last few weeks have shown us that their policies don’t stand-up to scrutiny, and this was the case with their amendment which proposed raiding vital funds that help us to protect the poorest people against the Tory-led Government’s welfare reforms. The Greens aren’t up to the job – just look at Brighton where they couldn’t set a budget this week or even collect the rubbish.

We are committed to making a difference for Islington, and that's what my administration will continue to do.

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Cllr Richard Watts

Leader of Islington Council 

Council Budget Passes – Tough Choices, Right Priorities

Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Richard Watts, writes about the council budget and Islington Labour’s commitment to making a difference for our borough. On Thursday 26th February, Islington Council was...

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Cllr Asima Shaikh has been appointed as the new Council Executive Member for Economic and Community Development. 

Cllr Shaikh brings with her a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge, having previously worked for the Greater London Authority, several London boroughs and in central Government. Her experience of project management and policy development make her an excellent addition to the Council's Executive. 

Cllr Shaikh said: "I'm delighted to join the Council's Executive and I'm really looking forward to getting to work to make our borough a fairer place. 

"Too many people are out of work in Islington, and employment is a top priority for this Labour administration. I'm looking forward to helping create better services to help get people into work, and to working together with local businesses to secure more opportunities for local residents. 

"The many community groups and charities in our borough play a vital role in making Islington a better and fairer place for everyone. I will continue to work closely with them to support residents at a time of massive cuts from the Tory-led Government."

Cllr Shaikh was elected in May 2014 as a councillor for Finsbury Park ward and tweets @ashaikhn7 

New Executive Member ready to get to work

Cllr Asima Shaikh has been appointed as the new Council Executive Member for Economic and Community Development.  Cllr Shaikh brings with her a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge, having...

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A Tory Minister has once again shown how out of touch he and his party are with Islington. 

Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, took to Sky News on Monday 19th January to attack Islington Labour's ground-breaking 20mph speed limit policy. 

In 2013, Islington Labour agreed to introduce 20mph speed limits on all the roads in the borough that the council controls. This policy has made roads safer for all residents - including pedestrians and cyclists. 

Other London Boroughs have followed Islington's lead, with Lewisham last week becoming the newest member of the 20mph borough club. 

However, Mr Pickles decided to attack this successful policy, describing it as “unreasonable” and that it “brings the law into contempt.”

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Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport (pictured), has today written to Mr Pickles challenging him on his views and pointing out the evidence which shows that the 20mph policy is right for Islington. You can read Cllr Webbe's letter here.

Commenting on Mr Pickles remarks, Cllr Webbe said: “We brought in a 20mph limit to make Islington’s roads safer for everyone, with strong backing from our community. Our 20mph policy is also part of improving air quality in the borough and has seen public health benefits as a result of encouraging more active travel amongst residents – such as walking and cycling.

“Since 2013, other councils across the country have followed our lead and are also introducing 20mph to make their roads safer. Police in Islington are helping to enforce the 20mph limit.

“We’re very disappointed the communities secretary doesn’t support our work to create safer streets for people who walk, cycle and drive in Islington.

“I’d like to invite him to visit Islington and explain to local people why he thinks cars and lorries should be driving faster through our streets, past our homes and schools.”

The road safety charity, Brake, have also criticised Mr Pickles' comments, adding: "We disagree with Mr Pickles’ comments and we’re in support of Islington Borough Council, who received widespread local support.  The minister has got it entirely the wrong way round. It’s our view that decision makers should look carefully at where 30mph limits are kept. 

The GO20 campaign is all about defending everyone’s right to walk and cycle in their neighbourhood, encouraging people to make healthier and more sustainable travel choices. 

It’s clear that 20mph limits in communities like Islington can help make boroughs healthier, and more active.  We  would expect a Government minister to support that view and we are surprised and disappointed at his comments."

Research shows that on urban roads with low traffic speeds any 1mph reduction in average speed can reduce the collision frequency by around 6%. There is also clear evidence confirming the greater chance of survival of pedestrians at lower speeds, with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) finding a 2.5% chance of a pedestrian being fatally injured when struck at 20mph, compared to a 20% chance at 30mph. 

Since the introduction of the policy, the council has worked with colleagues in the police to explain the new speed limits to local motorists. Having carried out 24 targeted ‘stop and advise’ speed reduction operations across 13 different locations, and speaking with more than 900 motorists, from October 2014 the police are now enforcing the speed limits and issuing fixed penalty notices where appropriate. 

Since 2011, the Tory-led Government and Mr Pickles have cut funding to Islington by half. Despite this, Islington Labour has protected vital public services by delivering tough choices, with the right priorities.

Pictured Above - Cllr Claudia Webbe with local police officers enforcing the 20mph speed limits.  

 

Tory Minister out of touch with Islington

A Tory Minister has once again shown how out of touch he and his party are with Islington.  Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, took...

On Wednesday 14th January, Cllr Rakhia Ismail resigned from Islington Council's Executive as Lead Member for Community Development for personal reasons. 

A copy of Cllr Ismail's letter of resignation to Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of the Council, can be found here. 

Cllr Watts' reply can be found here

Cllr Ismail will continue to serve the Holloway ward on the Council. 

Cllr Ismail's resignation from Council's Executive

On Wednesday 14th January, Cllr Rakhia Ismail resigned from Islington Council's Executive as Lead Member for Community Development for personal reasons.  A copy of Cllr Ismail's letter of resignation to...

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