Published: 20 January, 2017
• US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once remarked that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. So as an ancient crumbly on the last leg of the journey towards nirvana, I question the wisdom of Islington Council slashing jobs and deciding, in its cost-cutting exercise, that the only way to pay for adult social care is to pass on the costs to the Jams (the Just About Managing) (Council tax bills to go up by 5%, January 13).
Councillors Richard Watts and Andy Hull can shout all they want about the havoc caused by vicious central government tactics, leading towards the death of local democracy. But do Town Hall chieftains have any intention of actually getting onto the streets to protest? I would suggest that a major demo is needed – and quickly. A march to the Palace (of Varieties) at Westminster would waken up the Brexit-fixated government.
Our pensions increase in April by a meagre amount again. Where does the increase go? Why on rent and council tax rises, leaving millions of pensioners living in near penury, facing a “heat or eat” dilemma.
At least we grey panthers have the Freedom Pass. That’s safe and secure from any axe, is it not?
Radnor Street, EC1
• DESPITE another year of massive cuts from the Tory government, I am proud that Islington Labour will deliver a council budget for 2017-18 that makes a difference when it comes to the borough’s top priorities.
Islington Labour is committed to making our borough a fairer place for everyone. That’s why the council’s budget proposals published last week will see new council houses built, prioritised for local people, meaning we will build the most new council homes in a single year for 30 years, helping us tackle the housing crisis.
We are protecting £3m of funding to help more local people into work. A further £500,000 of new funding will be invested to help keep young people from getting drawn into gangs and crime.
There were difficult choices in the budget once again, thanks to £21m more cuts by the Tory government. By 2020, the council’s government funding will have been cut by 70 per cent in a decade.
But this budget protects frontline services, and important measures like the subsidy we provide for childcare will not be scrapped, although charges for the most-well-off may go up.
This budget invests in addressing the most important issues facing our borough. In the circumstances, it is the fairest budget possible. As such, it is one I am proud to put forward.
CLLR ANDY HULL
Labour executive member for finance, performance and community safety
• IT was a shock to read that council tax will rise by five per cent. This will generate massive misery for people on a fixed income already struggling to survive. But it will be great for loan sharks. The dictatorship of Islington’s Labour has sunk to new debts.
The council tax rise
They have some cold nerve,
Five per cent council tax rise they serve,
This the poor cannot swerve,
I think it is absurd.
Five per cent rise
Is like onion juice in your eyes,
With waves of debt already rising,
Many boats on the verge of capsizing,
Why are they not realising?
The council like to bark,
Stay way from the loan shark,
Here is a spark,
That argument you can also park.
As we sail deeper into debt.
Here’s what they might regret,
Paying a fortune for a chief,
Is that a necessary economic grief?
One million for PR,
What is that for?
Free away days and jollies?
Are they off their financial trolleys?
How much could they save?
To help the poor from this economic wave?
Frontline services they will protect,
Do they fear we won’t re- elect?
Islington politicians in a bubble,
Is always the poor man’s trouble.
Is the cost of this authority,
The source of its poverty?
Why not could charge the snobs?
Not those with fixed bobs.
Amwell Street, EC1