Islington’s Labour-run Council is adding to its diverse and talented Executive with two experienced councillors taking on new roles next week, while saying goodbye to a long-serving Deputy Leader.
Cllr Sue Lukes will be appointed to lead the newly-created portfolio for Community Safety while Cllr Nurullah Turan will become Executive Member for Health and Social Care.
Sue will take on a range of extremely important responsibilities in the current climate. As well as looking after community safety, working with local Police and protecting local people, she will also work on the Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in a public protection role. Cllr Lukes, who was born in Islington and has been a Highbury East councillor since 2018, said:
“This Tory Government has shown time and again that it is incapable of undertaking the first responsibility of any government, keeping people safe.
“The pandemic has reminded us all: no-one is safe unless everyone is safe. Islington people know that, and I am determined to work with everyone in our borough to make a real difference. I am proud of the work Islington Council has done in recent months and years, including protecting people from the worst of the pandemic and providing vital services to those most in need.
“It is vital that we continue our prevention and early intervention work, strengthening community relations and tackling the complex causes that fuel serious youth violence, gang crime and anti-social behaviour. We are heavily investing in services to stop domestic violence at source and I am determined to take that forward. It is only through making our borough a safer place, that we can make it a fairer place for all.”
Nurullah will be taking over from Cllr Janet Burgess in leading our Health and Social Care work. Janet has been on the Council Executive since Labour took control of the Council in 2010 and in recent years has been a champion of increased government spending on Social Care, as well as securing the London Living Wage for care workers across the borough. Nurullah brings a wealth of health-related experience to the role with a particular focus on tackling mental ill-health. Cllr Turan, a councillor since 2014, said:
“I am looking forward to leading the council’s health and social care agenda; I’ve benefitted from some considerable insight as chair of DERMAN, a mental health charity, and am proud to have been the council’s Mental Health Champion for the last year. The Tories have continually failed our health and social care services. They have starved the social care sector of funding for years and continue to not give mental health the parity of esteem it deserves. I am determined to fight this Government to ensure the people of Islington get the services they deserve.
“I want to pay tribute to the work Cllr Burgess has done over the last decade, from protecting high-quality adult social care in the face of huge central government funding cuts, to securing the London Living Wage for domiciliary care staff.”
Also taking over from Janet, succeeding her as Deputy Leader of the Council, is Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz. Kaya will be making history as the first Black woman to be appointed as Deputy Leader of Islington Council. Kaya, who was born and raised in the borough, said:
“I am immensely proud to be taking the role of Deputy Leader in a borough that I have such a deep, lifelong connection with. Islington is a wonderfully diverse place, but I know that too many in our community face challenges and injustice, too often. As a woman of African heritage, it’s both a huge privilege and responsibility to serve Islington and I remain determined to fight to end inequality and injustice, and make Islington a place where everyone can succeed.”
The appointments were made by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Watts, and the councillors will take up their roles on 28 September.