News

Richard_Watts.jpg

Following the tragic incidents at Westminster on Wednesday 22nd March, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, made the following statement - 

Yesterday, an act of horrific barbarism came to the streets of London once again.

It came to shake us. It came to divide us. It came to break us.  

But it shall achieve none of these things.  

On behalf of Islington Council and Islington Labour, I send our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who lost their lives in and around Parliament. The Town Hall is flying the Union Jack at half-mast today in a sign of respect for the victims, and observed a minute's silence at 9.33am to coincide with the start of the Parliamentary day.  

I would like to place on the record my immeasurable thanks to the emergency services personnel who ran towards the chaos and danger that was brought to Westminster on Wednesday. We are fortunate to have so many who put themselves in harm's way to protect us in our daily lives. PC Keith Palmer did just that, and undoubtedly saved the lives of others in doing so.  

I would also like to thank our local police and council emergency teams for their response to these tragic events, which ensured that calm and vigilance were brought to our borough swiftly.  

In the coming days there will be much discussion and conjecture regarding the events of yesterday. I ask that we remember that the actions of one person do not represent anyone but themselves.

Islington's strength comes from our diversity, acceptance and shared values. We must never allow the cowardly actions of those who seek to sow hatred and suspicion to divide us. 

Islington united

Following the tragic incidents at Westminster on Wednesday 22nd March, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, made the following statement -  Yesterday, an act of horrific barbarism came to...

SpringClean.jpg

This March, Islington has been undergoing a serious spring clean. Labour-run Islington Council, schools and colleges and the wider community have been coming together this month to tidy up local streets, communities and parks.

Islington Labour is committed to keeping the borough clean, which is why it took Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘The Great British Spring Clean’ weekend campaign further by running it for four weeks.

Town centres will be deep-cleaned with specialist teams jet-washing pavements, removing graffiti and chewing gum, washing commercial bins, litter-picking, filling in potholes in the road, clamping down on fly-tipping, dog fouling and drivers who leave their engines idling.

This month, cutting-edge new technology is being introduced to improve long-term efficiency of rubbish and recycling collections and quicker responses to reports of fly-tipping and other issues. Labour-run Islington Council’s ongoing effort to clean up the borough also include a clampdown on fly-tippers and new ways of driving up recycling rates.

Members of the community are also invited to get involved to keep Islington’s town centres, estates and green spaces looking spick and span, long into the future.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, launched the spring clean campaign with a visit to Nag’s Head shopping centre in Holloway, joining council workers who will be leading the clean-ups. She also met children and teachers from Copenhagen School who got involved with picking up litter and helping to keep nearby streets spotless.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “This is about the community coming together. We all share Islington’s streets and town centres and feel passionately about keeping them clean.

“We are committed to improving our environment for the benefit of everyone and hope to see everyone doing their bit for the borough.

“New innovations, alongside community spirit and involvement, as well as our dedicated teams, are what’s needed to keep the borough clean and tidy.”

You can sign up here to volunteer at an upcoming spring clean day in your area.

 

Pictured - Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, and council workers cleaning up Nag's Head

Islington Gets a Thorough Spring Clean

This March, Islington has been undergoing a serious spring clean. Labour-run Islington Council, schools and colleges and the wider community have been coming together this month to tidy up local...

IMG_2572.jpg

Councillors, members of the Irish community in Islington, representatives of Irish organisations in London, and council staff, joined together on Monday 13th March ahead of the Town Hall flying the Irish flag to mark St Patrick’s Day on 17th March.

From Tuesday 14th March to Monday 20th March, the Irish flag will be flown from Islington Town Hall, to mark St Patrick’s Day and to celebrate the contribution of the Irish community to Islington.

Organiser of the event Cllr Troy Gallagher, Labour councillor for Bunhill ward and Chair of the London Irish Councillors Network, said of the occasion:

“The Irish community in Islington remains central to the foundations of the diversity that makes Islington such a wonderful place to live.

“By raising the Irish flag at the Town Hall on St Patrick’s Day, we will be celebrating the contribution Irish residents continue to make to the community.”

Joining councillors, the Mayor, and council staff, were representatives of the London Irish Centre and members of the local Irish community.

The 2011 Census found that there are approximately 8,000 Irish residents living in Islington, approximately 4% of the total population, with many more people having Irish ancestry. 

 

Pictured - Islington Labour councillors and representatives of Irish organisations in London raising the Irish flag

Islington Town Hall to fly Irish flag to mark St Patrick's Day

Councillors, members of the Irish community in Islington, representatives of Irish organisations in London, and council staff, joined together on Monday 13th March ahead of the Town Hall flying the...

Claudia_Webbe.jpg

Labour-run Islington Council has become the first council in the capital to call for all diesel vehicles to be banned from London.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, has called on the Mayor of London to bring forward plans to commit to banning diesel vehicles from the city by 2025. 

Cllr Webbe said: "A blanket ban in the capital on all diesel vehicles, including the ones meeting the Euro 6 standard, would have a dramatic impact on air quality for the millions of us who work and live in London.

“The capital’s air pollution is nothing short of a public health crisis, reducing the quality and shortening the lives of all Londoners. The answer has to be bold and co-ordinated across all levels of government.

“It is encouraging that the Mayor is determined to tackle the issue, and we will do everything we can to help him achieve these aims.

“But I am urging him to go further still and commit to brave, truly life-changing measures. It is never too soon to start reclaiming London’s air for the sake of those who breathe it every day."

Islington is calling on the Mayor to:

  • expand his proposed Emissions Surcharge, or T-Charge to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
  • enable the earlier introduction of the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in October this year, expanded out to the M25 in 2019.
  • use the ULEZ as a transitional arrangement towards removing all diesels from Greater London by 2025. This would need support across London’s authorities including the GLA and TfL, for the necessary infrastructure to replace them – from electric vehicle charging points and electric bus fleets to cycle route improvements and more.
  • strengthen the Emissions Surcharge with fewer exemptions and a re-examination of the emissions standards being used for petrol and diesel vehicles.

Cllr Webbe added: "Islington Council has been at the forefront of developing pioneering, innovative policies to tackle poor air quality where we have opportunities to.

"From introducing the country’s first 20mph speed limits on all council-managed roads, to the introduction of the diesel surcharge on residents parking permits, to tackling idling hotspots with the threat of fines – we have made bold, often initially unpopular decisions to tackle the growing threat from air pollution, despite cuts to the council’s central government funding that will reach 70 per cent in a decade by 2020.

"We have also pushed forward with schemes to install more electric charging points and made it easier for people to walk and cycle in the borough.

"We agree more needs to be done to tackle air pollution, and we support further action.  However Islington Council cannot solve air pollution alone.  We know that the majority of harmful pollutants in our borough come from buses and lorries travelling through Islington, and we need action from higher levels of government.

"That is why, in response to his latest consultation on air quality, we have called for the Mayor of London to ban diesel vehicles from the capital, including Euro VI diesels as we do not believe there is any clean diesel yet produced.

"It is time for radical action like this at a city-wide level, to head off potentially disastrous health impacts in years to come."

Pictured - Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment & Transport

 

Calls for Mayor to ban diesel vehicles from London

Labour-run Islington Council has become the first council in the capital to call for all diesel vehicles to be banned from London. Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and...

IMG_8222.JPG

The Tory Budget has been slammed by Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council's Executive Member for Economic Development, for not offering more support for local small businesses that will be hit by massive Government increases in business rates bills. 

Islington's Labour-run council has been supporting efforts by Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel Business Improvement District to call on the Government to freeze the massive business rates increases that will hit local firms from 1st April.

A massive petition - which has now attracted more than 13,600 signatures - was presented to the Treasury last week (1st March) to make the case for a freeze in the implementation of the new higher rates and for more generous support for local businesses. 

However, the Tory Budget delivered on 8th March offered little new support for businesses in Islington, which will see the third highest business rates increase in the country at an average of 45 per cent. 

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “Small businesses in Islington face massive central government increases in business rates bills from 1st April and the announcements by the Chancellor will do little to ease the pain.

“Islington Council has supported our small businesses by working with Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel BID to organise a petition against the business rates increases – that has been signed by more than 13,600 local people.

“The cap on increases for small businesses that will lose Small Business Rates Relief announced today is welcome, but this is for a limited time only.

“The total business rates bill for Islington’s businesses will increase by almost £100 million from 1st April, so the extra money for discretionary relief will make very little difference.

“Islington is very lucky to have such diverse high streets and the impact on smaller firms from this increase will be severe. We’ve already seen rents go up significantly over recent years and I am worried that the hike in business rates will put more pressure on local shops to close or move elsewhere.

"Our local businesses provide jobs and vital services for local people, and we are deeply concerned about the impact the Tory Government’s hike in business rates will have.

“Islington Council will not receive any extra funding from the increase in business rates bills. We will continue to push the government to bring forward genuine support for local businesses and will offer support to those affected by the government’s increase in business rates bills.”

Please add your name to the petition to call for further action to help local small businesses.

Pictured - Cllr Asima Shaikh and Islington business owners and representatives submit petition to HM Treasury. 

No real help for small businesses from Tory Budget

The Tory Budget has been slammed by Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council's Executive Member for Economic Development, for not offering more support for local small businesses that will be hit...

IMG_8222.JPG

Today (1st March) an Islington Labour councillor and business representatives delivered a 12,658-strong petition to the Treasury. The petition calls on the Government to freeze plans to dramatically raise Islington’s business rates.

The Tory Government’s proposed business rates rise will see Islington businesses’ rateable values rise by 45 per cent – the third highest rise in England.

The Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel Business Improvement District, supported by Islington Council, handed the petition to Treasury officials ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget announcement on 8th March.

12,658 signatories asked the Government to freeze the implementation of the business rates valuation until after Britain leaves the EU. The petition also urges the Treasury to extend reliefs, which will help small and medium businesses cope with the effect of a significant rise.

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, said:

“A big increase in business rates could force small and medium businesses to close or move – damaging the diverse and independent nature of our business communities.

“We urge the Treasury to stop these plans and support our shops and services in these turbulent times ahead.”

You can still add your call to the ongoing petition against the business rates rise on Change.org.

 

Pictured - Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, and business representatives delivering the business rates petition to the Treasury

Islington Labour councillor and businesses deliver business rates petition to Treasury

Today (1st March) an Islington Labour councillor and business representatives delivered a 12,658-strong petition to the Treasury. The petition calls on the Government to freeze plans to dramatically raise Islington’s business rates....

Islington Labour backs calls for Government to freeze business rates hike

img_0645.jpg

Islington Labour is supporting calls by local business groups for the Tory Government to freeze the implementation of higher business rates across the borough.

Business rates are set by national government and the valuations of all businesses in the country were recently reviewed. Many businesses in Islington, including small businesses, will see business rates bills increase significantly.  

The average 45% increase in rateable values for Islington is the 3rd highest in England.

Islington Chamber of Commerce and Angel Business Improvement District (BID) have organised a petition calling on the government to -

  • freeze the implementation of the new rates;
  • extend support for businesses affected by higher business rates;
  • give more help to small businesses by increasing the threshold for Small Business Rate Relief in inner London, funded by national Government.

Labour-run Islington Council is supporting the initiative.

Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, said –

“Islington is very lucky to have such diverse high streets and the impact on smaller firms from this increase will be severe. We’ve already seen rents go up significantly over recent years and I am worried that the hike in business rates will put more pressure on local shops to close or move elsewhere.

"Our local businesses provide jobs and vital services for local people, and we are deeply concerned about the impact the Tory Government’s hike in business rates will have.

“I’ve been working closely with businesses and business groups, and many people are really worried about what these massive increases in bills will mean for them.

“We are calling for the Government not to go ahead with these plans and the council is offering local companies advice on how they can manage the changes ahead.”

The petition can be found here and will be handed to the Government before the national budget is set on 8th March.

Please join the campaign and add your name to the petition today.

Freeze business rates hike

Islington Labour backs calls for Government to freeze business rates hike Islington Labour is supporting calls by local business groups for the Tory Government to freeze the implementation of higher...

IMG_2317.JPG

The iconic LGBT flag will be flying over Islington Town Hall once again this February to mark LGBT History Month.

Islington has a proud LGBT history, where it played host to the UK’s first gay rights demonstration on Highbury Fields in 1970.

LGBT History Month 2017 has particular significance, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years and in private.

To mark the start of LGBT History month, a rare artwork purchased through the generosity of anonymous donors and an Art Fund Grant went on display for the first time at Islington Museum.

‘World of Cats’, a five-and-a-half foot, four panel screen decorated with a collage of cats, was created in 1966 by artist Kenneth Halliwell. Halliwell lived with his playwright partner, Joe Orton, between 1959 and 1967 in Noel Road, Islington.

Halliwell and Orton notoriously stole books from Islington libraries then defaced and returned them in the 1960s. Eventually they were caught and imprisoned for sixth months and it is thought their sentence was in part so harsh because of their then-illegal homosexual relationship. In 1967, Halliwell killed Orton before committing suicide.

The defaced book jackets are kept permanently in Islington Museum, along with ‘World of Cats’ until 13th March 2017.

Cllr Aysegul Erdon, Equalities Champion, said: “Islington’s LGBT community contributes so much to our borough. Without them, we would not be the diverse and eclectic society we are today.

“It is fantastic that ‘World of Cats’ has been returned to its home in Islington. It is a valuable piece of our borough’s cultural history and I encourage everyone to see it while it is on display.”

 

Pictured - Islington Labour councillors fly the LGBT flag at Islington Town Hall

Islington Labour marks LGBT History Month

The iconic LGBT flag will be flying over Islington Town Hall once again this February to mark LGBT History Month. Islington has a proud LGBT history, where it played host...

Claudia_Webbe.jpg

Islington Labour councillors have secured significant concessions on the Archway transformation works from Transport for London (TfL) on behalf of residents and passengers.

The removal of the gyratory will create a new public space and two-way traffic system, along with cycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossings. The works are expected to be completed by summer 2017 and will also allow new genuinely affordable homes to be built.

However, TfL’s works have resulted in the relocation or removal of bus stops in Archway, as well as traffic congestion on residential roads. Long before the works began, Islington Labour councillors have been pressing TfL to introduce measures to mitigate any negative impact for residents and passengers. Islington Labour have committed to campaign every day to ensure TfL gets this major transformation right, so as to maximise the benefits for all.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, has been raising concerns about the works for months. In December 2016, she wrote to the Mayor Sadiq Khan to express frustration with TfL’s communication with the Council and local community about the Archway bus consultation report.

Following ongoing campaigning from Islington Labour, TfL have agreed to -

  • Monitor and review putting bus stops at other locations, so that route destinations and stop locations work for passengers
  • Reroute certain buses to terminate at Whittington Hospital and/or St John’s Grove near Upper Holloway station
  • Introduce new clearer signage in the area to let passengers know about the changes
  • Deploy uniformed transport information helpers in the area, to help residents and visitors alike for the duration of the works and beyond
  • Introduce ‘live’ next bus information boards at Archway station, and countdown signs at a number of bus stops around Archway
  • Introduce a clean bus fleet at Archway as quickly as possible
  • Ensure bus drivers comply with Islington Council’s anti-engine idling agenda
  • Take action now to design out crime and anti-social behaviour, including rubbish at bus stop locations
  • Undertake traffic modelling once the works are complete and take corrective action as necessary
  • Undertake corrective measures and changes if traffic monitoring shows significant increases in traffic volumes on local roads
  • Allow residents to take ownership of the look and feel of the new public space
  • Monitor and review the information arrangements for cyclists whilst the public square is being built, and take action to eradicate any pedestrian and cyclist conflict once built
  • Provide a modest improvement to the Archway station façade
  • Support the Council on planting at Pauntley Street and additional trees and hedges to mitigate the effect of the bus stands
  • Consult on and implement a border of trees and other greenery at Vorley Road outside the children’s centre
  • Consult and reach a resolution on the Despard Road loading bay

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Throughout TfL’s work to transform Archway, Islington Labour councillors have been putting residents and passengers first. We have demanded and secured these key concessions from TfL on their behalf, and will continue to hold TfL to account.

“For years, we campaigned for the removal of the Archway gyratory. It will bring the greatest transformation to the area in a generation, giving the town centre a much-needed boost in terms of safety and economically. Everyone who uses the area will benefit from these exciting changes.” 

Val Shawcross, London's Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “‘The Archway scheme will bring significant benefits to people living and working in the area – including substantial safety improvements for walking and cycling.

“TfL have been working very closely with Islington Council, Assembly Members and particularly councillors like Claudia Webbe to ensure the scheme is the very best it can be. This includes looking at small further changes – specifically reconsidering the location of a bus stop, some signage improvements  and  improving pedestrian access to a bus stop across a cycle lane.”

 

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

Islington Labour councillors secure more Archway concessions from TfL

Islington Labour councillors have secured significant concessions on the Archway transformation works from Transport for London (TfL) on behalf of residents and passengers. The removal of the gyratory will create...

OurSchoolsOurSay.jpg

Islington now ranks in the top 20 in the country for boosting pupils’ attainment, new figures released this week reveal.

Islington has been ranked 18th out of 151 local authorities for the academic progress made by pupils between the end of primary school and their GCSE results across eight key subjects.

This represents a radical transformation in the performance of Islington’s schools. In 2008, the borough ranked in the bottom 20 local authorities for its GCSE results.

Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, says: “We now have some of the best schools in the country that are helping young people in Islington progress faster than many other areas.

“These results are a ringing endorsement for the quality and high standards in our schools, and are a testament to the hard work of all teaching and support staff, as well as the pupils themselves.”

New figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that Islington pupils’ GCSE results are far ahead of the national averages in several key subjects. 64.2% of pupils gained a grade C or better in GCSE Mathematics and English Language or English Literature. These compares with 59.3% in England, a new measure introduced this year.

Some 58.7% of Islington pupils achieved five or more GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Mathematics, up by 0.8%. This was again above the national rate, which fell by 0.3% to 53.5%.

The Progress 8 score showed that Islington pupils’ GCSE results were almost one-fifth of a grade better than their peers nationally in 2016.

The figures also build on the progress in primary schools. Recent DfE figures revealed the performance of disadvantaged children in Islington primary schools for reading, writing and maths combined last year was the 11th best in England.

Islington schools in the top 20 in the country for pupil progress

Islington now ranks in the top 20 in the country for boosting pupils’ attainment, new figures released this week reveal. Islington has been ranked 18th out of 151 local authorities...

Welcome to Islington Labour