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Catherine West, new Council leader, sets out Labour’s plan

May 20, 2010

Councillor Catherine West is the new Leader of Islington Council

On Tuesday evening, Cllr Catherine West became the first Labour leader of Islington Council in 10 years. Labour has a 35 to 13 majority on the new Council and the Annual Council meeting on 18th May confirmed a new administration under her leadership.

Catherine has published a short message setting out some of the guiding principles and what the new Labour administration wants to achieve in the Borough. It is reproduced in full here.

“My name is Catherine West; I’m a mum of two and I live and bring up my children in Archway.

“I love Islington and feel honoured and privileged to have been elected to lead your council. It’s an exciting challenge but with difficult financial times ahead it’s also a tough one. Central to everything we do over the next four years will be our absolute determination to build a fairer Islington.

“Islington is an attractive borough with great shops and restaurants – but that’s only half the story. The truth is around half of our children are growing up in poverty. The more affluent in our borough can expect to live up to ten years longer than the least well off. And while luxury flats continue to spring up, thousands of our families are in desperate housing need – living in overcrowded homes or seeing their children priced out of the area they grew up in.

“Our fairer Islington pledge is about reducing inequality. We want decent homes for those on the lowest incomes, and over the next four years we’ll be creating thousands of new affordable homes, building new council houses and setting tough targets for developers so that 50% of all new developments are affordable.

“We won’t forget our leaseholders – and tax payers – who need value for money and transparency from major works, and we’ll look at how our allocations system can be best used to really help the severely overcrowded families who need it most.

“Home isn’t just the house you live in – it’s the street, the estate, the community you’re a part of. Far too many of our residents have their lives blighted by crime and fear of crime – so we’ll be taking tough action to tackle crime and its causes.

“We want to see police targeting knife and violent crime hot spots and real support for residents struggling with anti social behaviour. Just as importantly, we’ll invest in youth facilities so our young people have purposeful activities to get involved in. We will offer support to parents who might be struggling, and promote the Neighbourhood Watch groups that play such an important role in strengthening communities.

“We’ll also protect the free school meals for all primary school children that we fought so hard to introduce because I believe a nutritious daily meal is what a growing child needs.

“Our programme is ambitious because there’s so much to be done, but we are ready for the challenge of creating a fairer Islington. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

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