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Cllr Richard Watts', Leader of Islington Council, statement on the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park - 

It is with sadness that I write this statement today, following the dreadful events in Finsbury Park in the early hours of this morning. 

Sadness for the senseless loss of life, and sadness that I am called to send this message so soon after other recent tragic events in London and Manchester.

The heartfelt thoughts of everyone at Islington Council are with the family and friends of those affected by the dreadful events in Finsbury Park.

From the early hours of the morning I was with Jeremy Corbyn MP and others on the scene, offering any support we could to the community. I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with community leaders, Emily Thornberry MP, Mayor Sadiq Khan and others at Muslim Welfare House later in the day to speak with residents. 

I will be even prouder to join our community in sharing in the Neighbourhood Iftar Dinner tonight at Muslim Welfare House, as we come together to celebrate breaking the fast in the month of Ramadan. 

We have also been working closely with the emergency services overnight and throughout the day to support those affected by this dreadful attack. 

This terrorist attack seeks to divide us and sow hatred. Finsbury Park, like the rest of Islington, is a diverse and open community and our mosques are a vital part of that community. 

We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and will continue to work together and support each other. 

Islington is a vibrant and unified borough - this is our community, and we will not be divided by any terrorist.

 

 

Pictured - Cllr Richard Watts

Shoulder to shoulder

Cllr Richard Watts', Leader of Islington Council, statement on the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park -  It is with sadness that I write this statement today, following the dreadful events...

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Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, writes about the Grenfell Tower fire and how Islington residents can help - 

We have all seen the devastating pictures of the Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington, and on behalf of Islington Council, I have sent our deepest sympathies to all those affected and to the families who have lost loved ones.

The council has been providing support to Kensington & Chelsea Council since the fire, including offering accommodation to people from Grenfell Tower. We are also providing counselling support to the firefighters who were at the scene and who did so much to save lives.

I am immensely proud of Islington residents’ response to this dreadful incident – from donations of clothes and food, to offers of support for those affected. Kensington & Chelsea Council are currently distributing donations to residents and have requested that further support is made in the form of donations to the Grenfell Tower appeal here.

Understandably, this tragic incident has prompted concerns about the cause of the fire and whether there are any possible implications for residents in tower blocks elsewhere.

Our commitment to making sure Islington residents are safe remains our absolute priority, and we work hard on the side of local people to maintain our homes.

I am confident that in Islington we have good and robust management of our housing, including tower blocks. Islington Council always follows the most up to date advice on all aspects of building safety.

All tower blocks in Islington are hardwired with fire detection alarms in all estate dwellings. All dry riser and wet riser systems that help firefighters to tackle any fires are inspected every 12 months to ensure they are in a good working condition.

Since 2013, the council has spent £7 million on its fire risk assessment programme and associated fire safety works – and a further £38 million of works are set to take place.

Every council block has a robust Fire Risk Assessment at least every three years, with some blocks assessed every year, and all of these assessments are signed-off by the London Fire Brigade.

We have asked the Fire Brigade to inform us if there is any change to the advice given to residents in tower blocks in case of a fire. The advice from the Fire Brigade remains that if there is a fire elsewhere in your building then you are safer to stay in your flat, unless the heat or smoke is affecting you. Further information can be found here. It is important that residents remember that the Fire Brigade has stressed that people living in high rise properties are no more at risk of a fire than anyone else.

Whilst the cause of the fire is not yet known, we are aware of reports about the role of external insulating cladding in this fire. We are rapidly bringing together information about council-owned buildings with cladding to identify if any used systems similar to Grenfell Tower. In addition, we are reviewing records for privately owned buildings on a similar basis. Plans to install external insulation on additional council blocks to help residents cut energy bills have been put on hold until we know more about the cause of this fire.

This tragedy must be thoroughly investigated and any recommendations or changes to the law following these investigations will be fully adopted in Islington. 

For too long the condition of housing for some of the poorest people in our country has been far from the Government's attention. This tragedy demands that change comes and we will stand alongside residents to demand the safety of ordinary people is at the top of Government priorities. 

Our hearts go out to those affected by this fire, and our commitment to make sure Islington residents are safe remains our absolute priority.

Pictured - Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council 

Grenfell Tower Fire - How you can help

   Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, writes about the Grenfell Tower fire and how Islington residents can help -  We have all seen the devastating pictures of the...

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On Thursday 15th of June, Islington Councillors joined in to mark the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day outside the Town Hall.

National Clean Air Day, which is being co-ordinated by Global Action Plan, is a chance for people across the country to work together towards cleaner air for everyone. On this day, people are encouraged to make a pledge to help make cleaner air possible for all.

Islington Labour run Council has already for many years been working towards better air quality, from introducing a diesel surcharge on parking permits and the first ever borough-wide 20mph speed limit, supporting businesses to reduce emissions and taking action on engine idling.

Islington Council has also called on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to ban diesel vehicles from the capital by 2025 during the Mayor’s latest consultation on air quality this year.

Today on National Clean Air Day Islington Council has launched a new anti-idling campaign for ambulance drivers by putting up information stalls outside Archway Station and Whittington Hospital to inform commuters, patients, visitors and staff on the risks and effects of air pollution and ways to avoid it. The council’s Archway Zero Emissions Network team will be offering free coffee, pizza and advice to local workers and residents too. We also have electric scooters and cargo cycles available for local businesses to try out, in the aim to further cutting down on emissions from deliveries.

We are also recommending that everyone signs up to Islington’s airTEXT service. This free service provides air quality, UV, pollen and temperature forecasts for the borough.

To build on the council's implemented measures on air quality, we are encouraging ordinary residents to get involved with activities on National Clean Air Day.

There are many simple things that we can do to help make Islington cleaner, healthier and greener for us all - especially our children.

 

Make a pledge on National Clean Air Day to:

-          Leave your car at home

-          Switch off your engine whenever you can

-          Walk your children to school

-          Share tips to cut air pollution with others

 

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Islington Council, said of Islington marking National Clean Air Day:

“In Islington we understand that tackling air pollution, is not just a public health campaign, it’s a social justice campaign because poorer residents live closer to the most polluting roads. We need residents to fight with us for cleaner air for everyone and I am proud that Islington Council is able to take a leading role on National Clean Air Day to show that we are standing up for the many” 

 

Will you help Islington and be part of the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day?

Find out more here: https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/

You can also pick up information at the Town Hall on Upper Street or at the Customer Service Centre at 222 Upper Street on National Clean Air Day, 15th of June. 

 

Pictured - Islington Labour councillors mark National Clean Air Day outside the Town Hall

Pledging to reduce air pollution in Islington on National Clean Air Day

On Thursday 15th of June, Islington Councillors joined in to mark the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day outside the Town Hall. National Clean Air Day, which is being...

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Here's how you can volunteer to help Labour in the General Election in Islington -

  • Find a campaign event near you - www.labour.org.uk/events

  • To help stuff envelopes, and to help with other office-based jobs, please come to our local campaign office at 65 Barnsbury Street, N1 1EJ. The office is open between 10am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. 

Need more information? Please contact Islington Labour by - 

  • Email - organiser@islingtonlabour.org.uk
  • Phone - 0207 607 8373

You can also sign-up to volunteer here - www.islington-labour.org.uk/volunteer

Please also make sure you register to vote, by visiting - www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

How you can get involved

Here's how you can volunteer to help Labour in the General Election in Islington - Find a campaign event near you - www.labour.org.uk/events To help stuff envelopes, and to help...

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Following the terrible attack on London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday 3 June, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, issued the following statement:

"Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with the people killed, injured and affected by this cowardly attack, and their friends and families.

"We're once again hugely grateful to London's emergency services, whose bravery and professionalism saved lives, and who put their own lives on the line to help others.

"As with other recent atrocities, this attack seeks to divide us, and sow hatred. This will never succeed - we will stand together, support each other, and continue. London is a great city with a huge heart, spirit and toughness and will never give in to cowards, bullies and hatemongers."

 

Pictured - Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council

The spirit of London

Following the terrible attack on London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday 3 June, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, issued the following statement: "Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts...

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Following the tragic attack in Manchester on Monday 22nd May, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, made the following statement:

“On behalf of Islington Council and everyone in Islington, I send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those killed and injured in Manchester last night.

“We send our support and friendship to the people of Greater Manchester as they pull together, helping one another as is the tradition of that great city.

“Events like this remind us of the importance of standing together, and not allowing cowardly acts of terrorism to dictate to us how we live our lives.”

 

Pictured - Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council

Standing together

Following the tragic attack in Manchester on Monday 22nd May, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, made the following statement: “On behalf of Islington Council and everyone in Islington,...

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Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, blogs about the stark differences between the Labour and Conservative Parties' manifestos.

Last week, the Labour and Conservative Parties published their manifestos to set out their visions for the UK if they formed the next Government. They could not be more different; Labour’s a carefully costed plan on the side of working people and the Tories’ an uncosted shift from poor to rich.

Labour will introduce free school meals for all primary school children, funded by introducing a VAT on private school fees. This would mean only a small group would pay for a policy benefiting hundreds of thousands of children, but the Tories’ plan to end the current provision of free school meals means everyone loses out.

Labour-run Islington Council’s pioneering free school meals programme means that every primary school and nursery pupil receives a free hot and nutritious meal every school day. The policy has helped each family save over £500 every year per child and helped children to focus on learning. It is shameful that the Tories would deny this to the rest of the country.

The Tories are failing miserably on education as they waste money on their vanity projects like grammar schools and free schools. Islington parents and teachers have been campaigning hard against the estimated 10 per cent funding cuts set to hit their schools over the next four years.

Labour will reverse the £3bn of cuts to schools’ budgets faced by 2020 and protect the core schools budget through a £4.8bn annual real-terms funding increase. These education plans will be funded by reversing Tory cuts to corporation tax. This is a costed policy that would see much-needed funding shift from the richest to those who are less well off.

The Tories have presided over record low house building levels and have no plans to fix the housing crisis. Labour will build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year and end insecurity for private renters by granting them new consumer rights.

I am proud of Islington Labour’s record on housing. The Council is undertaking its largest council house building programme in 30 years and has delivered 709 new genuinely affordable homes in the past two years, prioritised for local residents.

We have also been campaigning hard against the Tories’ plans to end secure lifetime tenancies and force the Council to sell hundreds of desperately-needed council homes every year. A Labour Government would scrap the Tories’ plan to end secure lifetime tenancies, offering security to Islington’s many council tenants.

The Tories will make people pay more towards the cost of social care, a sector in crisis thanks to their successive cuts. Labour will increase the social care budget by £8bn over the next Parliament but also establish a National Care Service to find a long-term solution. The fact that the Tories have already U-turned on their social care plans demonstrate they are anything but ‘strong and stable’.

By 2020, Islington Council will have had its budget cut by 70 per cent in a decade. At the same time, Tory Councils, such as former Prime Minister David Cameron’s home in Witney and the leafy shires, have been spared the same level of cuts. The idea that the Conservatives want to redistribute the wealth and stand up for working people is laughable.

The Tories are far more concerned with alienating our neighbours in Europe for the sake of a hard Brexit, stripping working people of their rights and dignity, and bringing back fox hunting. They are determined to further shift funding from the poorest, who need it most, to the richest. Labour’s policies are fully-costed, the only ones that benefit working people in Islington and worthy of your vote on 8th June.

 

Pictured - Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council

The manifestos prove that only Labour is on the side of working people

Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, blogs about the stark differences between the Labour and Conservative Parties' manifestos. Last week, the Labour and Conservative Parties published their manifestos to...

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Cllr Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, blogs about what Labour's schools funding policies mean for Islington.

Last week, the Labour Party pledged to stop the cuts to schools' budgets and increase funding in real terms if it formed the next Government. It committed again to these policies in its manifesto, launched this week (16 May). This will be welcome news for the teachers, parents and pupils who are experiencing first-hand the impacts of the Tories’ damaging cuts to schools’ budgets.

Every child has the right to reach their full potential and schools must have the funding they need to provide an excellent education for all. Unfortunately, the Tories’ cuts and planned changes to how they fund schools make this more difficult to achieve.

Under the Tories’ planned funding changes to schools, schools in Islington South will lose £583 per pupil between 2015 and 2019, and this rises to £603 per pupil in Islington North. These cuts will be to the detriment of our children’s futures, as schools are forced to make savings or reduce resources.

Thanks to the dedication of parents, teachers and our community, Islington’s schools have gone from strength to strength. Since 2010, GCSE results have jumped from 143rd out of 151 local authorities to the top third. Islington’s primary schools are in the top 10 in the country for helping children from poorer backgrounds achieve good results. We cannot risk this progress with further cuts.

Labour's education plans, which include a real terms increase in schools budget funding, will be funded from the £19.4bn that will be raised by reversing cuts to corporation tax.

Only a Labour Government will deliver the funding our schools need so they can ensure a bright future for our children. On 8th June, the day of the General Election, we have a chance to make this a reality at the ballot box.

 

Pictured - Cllr Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families

Ensuring a bright future for Islington's schools

Cllr Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, blogs about what Labour's schools funding policies mean for Islington. Last week, the Labour Party pledged to stop the...

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Cllr Claudia Webbe, Member for Environment and Transport, blogs about tackling poor air quality.

Here in Islington we have already been working for years to tackle poor air quality. From the first ever borough-wide 20mph speed limit, action on engine idling, introducing a diesel surcharge on parking permits, to support for businesses to reduce emissions - the Labour-run council has been implementing measures that make a difference.

Sadly, the Tory Government is still refusing to fully engage with the dangers that continued poor air quality poses to local people. The courts had to intervene to force the Government to publish its plan to improve air quality, which has been described as ‘woeful’. The Government’s reluctance to take a lead on this issue makes it clear that the election on 8th June is a chance for a clean start on air quality.

We need a Labour Government that will back the Mayor of London’s calls for a diesel scrappage scheme to remove the oldest polluting cars from London’s roads. We then need to go further and for Islington Labour’s calls for all diesel vehicles to be banned from London by 2025 to be accepted. But we also need a Labour Government that will fight hard to maintain the important environmental safeguards we currently receive from the European Union and that commits to fully implementing the Paris climate agreement.

In Islington we understand that tackling the real causes of poor air quality – polluting diesel buses, lorries and cars – is not just a public health campaign, it’s a social justice campaign because poorer residents live closer to the most polluting roads. It’s no wonder then that the Tories are failing to take action when their focus is on the few, unlike Labour who is standing up for the many.

 

Pictured - Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Islington Council

Election is a chance for a clean start on air quality

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Member for Environment and Transport, blogs about tackling poor air quality. Here in Islington we have already been working for years to tackle poor air quality. From...

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Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, blogs about The Great Get Together.

In my role as Executive Member for Community Development, I am struck often by the generosity and kindness the people of our borough display in caring for their neighbours.  However events across the world, the Brexit vote, the election of Trump and global terrorist attacks have left many of us feeling that our communities are divided.

As the austerity cuts by the Government continue to pile on; the majority of people’s lives feel insecure. There is a real danger that people look increasingly inwards. Islington Labour’s values of fairness are central to tackling the risks associated with fear and division. We know if everyone in the borough has a real chance to a decent life, we will all benefit.  

In Islington there is so much to celebrate and understanding our common challenges means being able to tackle them together.

In order to encourage unity in our community, Islington Council has decided to join in with the Jo Cox Foundation’s new initiative, The Great Get Together - which looks to bring together neighbours and communities – on the weekend of the 17th and 18th of June 2017.

Last year, the Labour Party lost one of its greatest community champions, Jo Cox MP, in a brutal act of extremism. She had worked tirelessly to bring people across the UK and across the developing world together, to show us that “we have much more in common than that which divides us”– as she herself had proclaimed during her maiden speech in Parliament.

In Islington we have hosted events that celebrate and champion community, such as the Love Islington rally, where we got 400 local residents together to Say No to Hate Crime with our faith leaders present and our local MPs.

Altogether, the council’s VCS Grants programme, Local Initiative Fund, Community Chest Fund and our Festivals Fund, has invested £3.3 million into the social fabric of our borough. This is vital not only in terms of supporting our most vulnerable residents but also in bringing members of our community together.

But as ever we want to go further, by supporting local people to take control and organise their own community events, from picnics in the local park to tea dances; whether it’s a coffee morning or a party. Let’s celebrate the Great Get Together! And to back this, the Council is awarding grants of up to £500 per group or event. Residents have up until Sunday the 7th of May 2017 to apply.

Hate, division, ignorance and fear are destructive and have no place in Islington. Through the simple things in life, such as love for family, food or music we can find great commonality, an increased understanding of each other that benefits everyone.

So, I hope you enjoy getting together and finding out what you have in common.

To find out more information please visit: https://www.islington.gov.uk/advice/voluntary-community-organisations/funding/council_funding/the-great-get-together-17-to-18-june-2017

 

Applications are to be submitted via email to: partnerships@islington.gov.uk. The closing date for applications is Sunday 7 May 2017 (11:59pm)

 

Pictured - Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development

 

Bringing Islington together through The Great Get Together

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, blogs about The Great Get Together. In my role as Executive Member for Community Development, I am struck often by the generosity...

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