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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.

Impact of £70m Tory/Lib Dem cuts to Camden revealed

December 11th, 2014

George Osborne’s plan to shrink the state through prolonged cuts to public services is forcing Camden council to cut £70m of services juts to balance the budget over the next 3 years.

The effect of the cuts will be to reduce provision locally, fewer universal services and an increase the number of means-tested services.

Camden council’s Financial Plan, to be outlined on 17 December, sets out proposals to cut spending across all areas of council activity:

  • Community safety budgets will be cut and refocused, with less money to address anti-social behaviour
  • A new waste and recycling contract will be negotiated at a lower cost and steps taken to boost recycling rates
  • Services like employment and sexual health shared with other boroughs instead of provided just by Camden
  • Savings from social care budgets will be made by encouraging more people to live at home for as long as possible
  • More income from advertising and commercial opportunities in parks and in public spaces
  • Review of the entire early years system to consider how to focus the money on those who really need the support and maintain 25 hours of childcare
  • Cuts to library and youth services are also proposed, but nothing has been earmarked for closure
  • More online services for those who can use the internet.

Currently 63% of funding for services comes from Whitehall.  Between 2010-17 central government grant will have been cut by half, with Camden facing the 8th highest cut in the country.  Camden Labour warns that unless local services get more funding there will be no money for all services other than street cleaning and recycling, adult social care and safeguarding children by 2021.

An estimated 600 Town hall posts are expected to be lost, including 200 managers, on top of the 975 posts deleted in the 2010-14 period.  Consultation on specific proposals with unions and service users will start in the New Year.

All decisions will be subject to an Equality Impact Assessment to ensure that there is not disproportionate impact on one part of the community over another.  The council will report on the cumulative impact of the cuts at regular stages over the next 3 years, addressing unfairness in our budgets if at all possible.

Camden Labour councillors have led a fundamental review of all council spending to focus money on projects which tackle inequality.  As part of the Plan, Camden will;

  • Retain 25 hours of free childcare
  • Invest more in domestic violence prevention
  • Limit cuts to mental health services
  • Fund Unison’s Ethical Care Charter to end poverty pay with care workers.

In the New Year the Council will launch a campaign for more powers and spending for health, skills and welfare to be devolved from Whitehall to Camden and other London boroughs so that millions in public money currently spent by government agencies can be used in the most effective way at a local level.  This will also include leading calls for a bed tax on hotel stays, as proposed by cross-party the London Finance Commission.  This would require national legislation but, if successful, could raise up to £5m a year for public services. If other cities, regions and councils are demanding more powers, devolution must also happen here too.

Camden Labour leader Sarah Hayward said: 

“Osborne and Cameron’s vicious cuts to council budgets are an early demonstration of their plans for public services. They plan to roll back the state and pull away vital safety nets for vulnerable people.

Camden Labour has tried to prioritise the money we have left for vulnerable people and what we know will help them best and help save money in the long run. We’ve focused on tackling inequality, preventing people getting in to trouble and being as efficient as we can. This means extra money in some areas like mental health prevention and domestic violence. But also means some very difficult cuts to services that we know people value.

It’s essential that we fight for a Labour government in 2015 to protect the future of the welfare state and universal public services.”

Labour Finance lead Cllr. Theo Blackwell said: 

“As Labour councillors we are in a particularly difficult position implementing cuts to public services we never wanted to – but let’s be clear: the responsibility lies with George Osborne and the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition. One-term Tory austerity didn’t work because it started off by doing too much too fast, as we warned. Plan for spending restraint and investment was replaced by deep cuts in the measures in the emergency budget of 2010 and the first settlement which choked the recovery already underway.  It left no room for error, so when European economies started to suffer there was little scope to compensate.”

For more information, please contact us.

Camden Labour opposes cuts to the Royal Parks Police

November 28th, 2014

Camden Labour’s councillors for Regent’s Park Ward, Cllr. Heather Johnson, Cllr. Nash Ali and Cllr. Nadia Shah have written to the Government along with Cllr. Jonathan Simpson, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety, in opposition to cuts to policing for Regent’s Park.

Camden Labour wants the Government to commit the full £8.8m which is needed by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to maintain the OCU’s to maintain adequate policing services in Regent’s Park.

Cllr. Jonathan Simpson says: “Regents Park Ward faces a raft of challenging criminal and ASB related issues, including issues around serious youth violence, disorder and gang activity. As a Community Safety Partnership we deliver a substantial amount of work in the area to tackle this. Geographically and practically, due to the location of the ward being adjacent to Regents Park we do a great deal of work with the Royal Parks Constabulary”

Cllr. Heather Johnson added: “Cuts to the police in Regent’s Park will have a detrimental effect on the work that can be done in the park, leaving us with a vulnerable part of the ward that will have a damaging effect on the community.”

Cllr. Nadia Shah says residents fear there could be an increase in drug-related crime if the resources needed are not provided, and said “This decision will affect the whole of Camden as Regent’s Park is extremely popular with people living all across Camden, and the overwhelming majority