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Council budget saves frontline services and freezes Council Tax

February 17, 2011

This evening, Caledonian ward’s Labour Councillors voted for the 2011-12 Council budget which has safeguarded frontline services and cut out waste and inefficiencies. Caledonian Councillors voted to reject an amendment from the Lib Dem opposition to abolish free school meals.

Islington faces the biggest cut in London because our community has one of the highest levels of low-income families in the country. The government has cut funding to Islington by £40m this year alone. The cuts came as Tory/Lib Dem Government Minister Grant Shapps personally refused to stop targeting areas with many low-income households, like Islington. Affluent places like Richmond-upon-Thames have had only 2 percent cuts, while Islington has been hit with a 12 percent cut.

In setting the budget, Labour Councillors have managed to protect services that the Tory-led Government thinks we should cut. Labour’s priority has been to protect services that support low-income people, the young and the vulnerable:

  • Established a new Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Created a £1m rescue fund to help local voluntary groups deal with Government cuts
  • Kept all our Children’s Centres open
  • Protected universal Free School Meals
  • Doubled the team dealing with dangerous dogs
  • Kept all our Libraries open with no change to opening days or hours
  • Kept all school crossing “lollipop” officers
  • Kept the £100 Council Tax discount for over 65s
  • £400,000 on getting people in poverty into work
  • Committed an extra £2m for people with Learning Disabilities and an extra £2m for child protection
  • Retained Adult Social Services for those with moderate needs – one of the only councils in the country to still do this.

Paul Convery says: “This has been the toughest Council budget ever. Islington has suffered the largest government cuts in living memory. We’ve achieved this budget partly by cutting waste and inefficiency inherited from the previous LibDem administration. We’ve made over half the budget savings by doing this. We found £1m of savings just from simple management reorganisations. As a result, more money will be spent on frontline services.  The other half of our budget saving has been a lot harder to find and difficult choices have been made. But our priorities have been to protect the services that help the less prosperous in our community.”

But this unprecedented financial squeeze is only just beginning. Each year the Government’s cuts will be worse for Islington – more services will close and fewer people will get the support they need.  That is why Labour is appealing to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to stop targeting boroughs like Islington in this way.

Cally Councillors urge residents to support our campaign to stop the Government pushing through yet further draconian cuts next year … and the year after. The Council has estimated that Islington will experience cuts totalling £335m over the next 3 years – in healthcare, transport and local government services.

Sign the petition at

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