Islington Labour has today, 9th January, published its proposals for Islington Council’s finances for the year ahead with a commitment that it is a ‘budget for the many’.
Despite continued Tory Government cuts, which have seen Islington Council lose 70% of its core national government funding since 2010, the budget proposals include commitments to build new council homes, protect vital services and to invest in much needed support for homeless people.
The budget, set to be debated by the Council on 28th February, also commits a further £500,000 in targeted support for young people at risk of being drawn into crime to help build on work that has seen crime rates fall in Islington when they have increased in London.
Islington is also set to become the first council in the country to pay the cost of ‘settled status’ for EU Citizens who are directly-employed Council staff. Council employees who are originally from other EU countries will be required to secure ‘settled status’ once the UK leaves the EU. To support Council workers and to protect Council services that would be stretched if staff left, directly employed staff will be reimbursed for the cost of successful applications.
Due to Tory Government cuts and rising demand for services, the Council needs to save a further £50m over the next three years – this is in addition to the £225m that has already been saved since 2010. In 2019/20 alone, the Council is required to make £13.8m of savings.
Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, said:
“Every year it gets harder to make savings due to relentless Tory cuts, but we are determined to deliver a budget that helps make Islington a fairer place for the many, not the few.
“This year’s proposals will see the largest council home building programme in Islington for over 30 years continue and protects vital services, such as keeping all libraries open; maintaining weekly bin collections; protecting free school meals for all nursery and primary school children; and keeping up our grant-giving to the local voluntary and community sector which does such important work in the borough.”
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety, said:
“It’s not just the Council which is feeling the pressure of continued Tory Government cuts. The local police have seen 300 police officers cut, schools have over £300 less to spend per pupil and Universal Credit will see 10,000 local families lose an average of £500 a year.
“It’s clear that the Tories’ cuts don’t work and we need a Labour Government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, that will end austerity, invest in public services and support local people.”
The full budget proposals can be read here.