Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council

Why Islington needs fair funding

With Islington Council's budget being voted on next week, leader Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz explains why the council has written to the Government making three urgent calls for action

Looking after our parks. Helping local people find jobs. Building new council housing. Giving young people places to go and things to do. Providing vital help with childcare and the cost of living.These are just some of the hundreds of things our dedicated council staff do every day to help people living and working in Islington.

We’ll always do everything we can to protect the key services you rely on, and to create a more equal Islington. In truth though, it’s getting harder and harder.

Next week, Islington Council will vote on our Budget for the next financial year. This sets out all our spending for the next 12 months.

The impact of years of Central Government underfunding, runaway inflation, soaring costs and high demand for services mean we will have to make savings of £10.8million to set a balanced budget.

Since 2010, Government cuts have forced us to make savings of almost £300 million. Year after year, more and more savings are needed. This can’t continue forever without hitting services, and that is why we’ve written to Government to make three urgent calls for action.

Firstly, we need fair funding. We’ve called for the Government to reverse the cuts and increase funding to help us protect local services.

Secondly – we've urged Government to properly fund council housing, make it easier for us to borrow at affordable rates to build more council housing and spend existing funds, to provide much-needed genuinely affordable new homes.

Thirdly – we urge Government to create an ongoing settlement to create a resilient adult social care system that’s fit for the future, and guarantees the care that people deserve. In Islington, the cost of adult social care is currently increasing by about £20 million each year, much more than the money the Government allocates to pay for it.

We know paying council tax is difficult for many people and to protect people on low incomes, we’ve changed our Council Tax Support Scheme so that for the first time more than 8,000 low-income working-age households will pay no council tax at all from April.

We want to keep providing the excellent services you deserve. We need proper Government funding to help us do this.

Notes to editors

This article first appeared in the Islington Gazette on 22 February, 2024

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