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Council grants for community festivals protected

January 22nd, 2015

Camden Council will provide £35,000 of grants to support community festivals over the coming year.

Due to heavy cuts from the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government, Camden Council has had to find savings of £73 million over the next 3 years. However, following a Cabinet meeting in December 2014, £35,000 will continue to be made available as grants for community festivals in Camden. All community festivals that receive a grant will also receive a waiver of all non-statuary fees and charges.

Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Culture Cllr. Abdul Hai said:

“Despite the savings of £73 million that we have to make over the next three years we have protected this money because we recognise that community festivals have an important role to play in helping community cohesion.”


New Year message from Camden Labour

December 31st, 2014

2015 is likely to be turbulent and challenging for Camden, but I and Camden Labour remain ambitious for our borough. We know, from the successes of 2014, we can deliver for Camden despite these challenges.

Just before Christmas we laid out our three year strategy to cope with additional cuts meted out on us by the Tory government. By 2017 we’ll have lost half our budget for services like social work, bin collections, parks, libraries and much, much more. Moreover the Tories have cut areas with higher levels of deprivation, like Camden, more than those with lower levels of poverty, so we’re receiving more than our fair share of the cuts.

The scale of this challenge means we have to change what we do and how we do it. Inevitably this means really difficult decisions about stopping some services that we know people value. That’s why we spoke to thousands of people while developing the plan and we’ll do many more detailed consultations about changes to individual services over the coming months, look out for details so you can make your views count.

Despite the extraordinary depth of Tory cuts we’re still prioritising the things that matter most. We’re continuing to provide 25 hours free childcare for three and four year olds. We’ll spend more on services to support domestic violence victims. And we are launching Camden’s first mental health prevention fund, with local health services, to try new ways to deal with the high levels of mental health problems locally.

We recently agreed to do more work to tackle low pay and poor working conditions. We’ve signed up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter and tightened our conditions about how contractors treat their staff. Low pay is a scourge we’re determined to tackle, despite the financial challenges we face.

But our challenges aren’t just financial.

Over 2014 we achieved some significant successes in our battle against HS2’s plans for our borough. We got the suggested link through Camden Town scrapped; we forced a major rethink on designs for Euston station and got HS2 to buy some replacement housing. We’ve finally convinced them that Maria Fidelis school should be relocated to a single site because of the negative impact on students. But there are still major battles to fight. While everyone concedes the current option proposed for Euston station is inadequate there’s no consensus on what should be built in its place. Ministers have already pulled the plug on one alternative – a ‘double deck’ scheme – and we must continue to fight for better plans. We’ve shown that we succeed when we pull together to campaign and it’s essential we continue.

The biggest challenge the borough faces is housing. During 2014 people moved into the first new Council housing built for nearly three decades and over the coming year more new homes will be finished. We want to build more but we’re prevented from doing so by government. We’re also taking action to improve the private rented sector and ensure tenants are treated fairly.

But again we don’t have the powers we need to properly tackle Camden’s housing crisis. Over the coming year we’ll put pressure on both the Tories and Labour to allow us to invest more in housing and give local authorities more powers to deal with rogue landlords, protecting responsible private sector tenants.

We won’t be able to succeed in these campaigns or meet the challenges we face without your help. But we know, despite the pressures, the progress we made in 2014 shows that with determination and imagination we can still make a big difference to people’s lives. We look forward to working with you to achieve even more in 2015.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Labour


Death of St Pancras and Somers Town Councillor Peter Brayshaw

December 18th, 2014

Following the sad news that Cllr Peter Brayshaw has passed away, Sarah Hayward, Camden Labour’s Leader paid the following the tribute:

“The whole of Camden Labour is shocked and saddened by the death of our dear comrade Cllr Peter Brayshaw. Since we learned the news the words most commonly used to describe him have been wise and kind. There is no more fitting tribute.

Peter was a huge support and an incredible source of information and advice for so many of his colleagues. His wisdom and knowledge were garnered through his decades of public service, both as an officer in local and regional government and as a Labour councillor, and I personally have valued his support and advice on many occasions.

Peter returned to the council in 2010 where he worked tirelessly to help us make the best of the terrible situation meted out on us by government. His scrutiny, challenge and ideas improved our decisions.

Peter served three times as a councillor – since 2010, in the mid 2000s and in the early 1990s. In all three spells he was known as assiduous, able and Labour to his core. Peter was one of the fairest people in politics. If he agreed with you it wasn’t to garner favour it was because he believed it was right, if he disagreed he did so honestly and without future prejudice.

Outside the Town Hall Peter was active in so many ways and contributed on everything from his own Tenants and Residents Association to the campaign to end South Africa’s apartheid regime, latterly he was national vice chair of Action for Southern Africa. If Peter saw an opportunity to help people, he took it. One of his most recent campaigns was to be a leading voice the so-called “shareholder spring”. Peter was a key member of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum whose members are major shareholders, to challenge multinational institutions over their business practices.

We will all fondly remember kind and wise Peter Brayshaw.”


New Labour candidate for Holborn and St Pancras selected

December 16th, 2014
Keir Starmer, Labour's Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras

Keir Starmer, Labour’s Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras

Keir Starmer has been elected by local members to stand as Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras at the up-coming General Election.

On Saturday, members of Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party met to select Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for the area, completing a selection process triggered by Frank Dobson’s announcement that he is to stand down from the House of Commons at the next election after more than three decades as the MP for Holborn and St Pancras.

Following his selection, Keir Starmer said “It is an honour and a privilege to have been selected as Labour’s candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, and I want to say a big thank you to everyone for playing their part in the selection exercise.

I would like to pay particular tribute to the other candidates, who were outstanding in their quality.

We must now focus on a Labour victory next May and I look forward to meeting residents across the constituency to discuss the issues which matter most to them and what I will do if they elect me to be their next Labour Member of Parliament”.


Innovative Camden Labour ‘Funding Circle’ project gives businesses a boost 

December 16th, 2014

Thanks to a new initiative from Camden Labour more than £1 million has been invested into Camden’s small and medium-sized businesses as part of a council scheme to stimulate economic growth and employment in the area.

Last year Camden became the first London council to finance local business growth through Funding Circle – a Peer to Peer lending marketplace for small business loans. The council committed £100,000 to the scheme, making it easier for firms to access finance.

Camden Cabinet Member for Finance Cllr Theo Blackwell said, “This is an innovative use of council funds, allowing us to directly help small businesses unable to get loans from traditional banking. This helps local businesses to thrive and develop in difficult times, leading to growth and local jobs.”

11 companies have since been interview interviewed with five reporting that they have taken on at least one new member of staff since receiving funding. Job creation, increased turnover and overseas expansion were also cited as being part of their five-year growth plans.