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The Green Party views on the council budget are sensible

13 March, 2020

• IT’S a shame traditional party politics leads to the sort of sniping in Cllr Tricia Clarke’s letter, (A bold budget for hard times, March 6).

The Green Party’s Caroline Russell is the only councillor at the Town Hall not elected from Labour and the majority party, as usual, voted down her proposed amendments to their budget unanimously even though these included sensible and affordable suggestions.

To accuse Cllr Russell of “irresponsible behaviour” to set her lone voice against Labour’s budget as a result is as sad as it is unconvincing.

The sorts of “negative” proposals Caroline put forward, that Labour chose to reject, included should Islington’s charges for parking bikes in bike hangars be in line with neighbouring boroughs rather than by far the highest in London?

No, obviously more sensible to charge a family of bike riders several times what it would cost a driving family to park their car.

Should we stop charging council tax for the lowest income households, as Labour have done in Camden?

No, more sensible to use council money to pursue people for tax they can’t afford to pay.

Should the council facilitate a “citizen’s assembly” to allow stakeholder involvement in its climate emergency action plan?

No, why would we want to bother with listening to people about such an important subject?

Would it be sensible to analyse performance of the recycling chute project Caroline initiated on Highbury Quadrant estate, with a view of rolling it out more widely?

No, if people knew it worked they might expect us to make recycling easier on other estates too.

Could we fund a staff member to sustain the minimum energy efficiency standards work by trading standards to improve housing conditions in private rental accommodation?

No, clearly better to leave tenants to find out for themselves if their landlords are renting them illegally cold, hard-to-heat flats!

Still, at least the council agreed to Caroline’s suggestion to create a contingency fund, so that their own contractors can stop cutting off council tenants’ gas when they carry out the annual landlord’s safety check, if the occupants don’t have any credit on their meter.

Apparently Islington Council hadn’t noticed this was happening, causing enormous distress for about 180 households each year.

Until Caroline pointed it out to them…

ANDREW MYER
Islington Green Party

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