The Leader thanked the Mayor and said she was pleased to join the Mayor at a number of events over the past month, including jubilee celebrations, and an inspiring event at the Town Hall, welcoming tradeswomen from around the world.
The Leader had attended a number of events to celebrate Refugee Week and Windrush Day. The Leader praised the work of the Council to welcome migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to the borough, and expressed concern at the government’s proposals to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. The Leader said she was proud to see a motion this evening to oppose these plans.
The Leader said her thoughts were with the family of the council’s former Corporate Director of People, Carmel Littleton, who had passed away one year ago. The Leader reflected on her time working with Carmel, and said her proudest achievement since becoming Leader was ensuring that every young person entering Year 7 had access to a laptop or tablet. This was something that Carmel was also passionate about, and the Leader hoped she would be proud.
The Leader congratulated Fiona Monkman, one of the council’s architects, who had recently been given the MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice for her work on the Centurion Close social housing block in Laycock ward. The Leader was proud Islington’s social housing, and the Council had committed to building 1550 more genuinely affordable council homes over the next few years. The Leader said that the quality of these homes was as important as the quantity, and asked the Council to give a round of applause to Fiona for her work.
The Leader expressed concerns at proposed cuts to local bus services as a result of government cuts to Transport for London funding. In particular, the Number 4 bus which stretched from the north to south of the borough. The Leader was proud to join trade union colleagues on the steps of the Town Hall and also join them in central London in protest against these government cuts and the cost of living crisis, and to demand better funding for local government and public services, and better wages for working people. The Leader said that the Council would always oppose government cuts and noted that the Council would consider a motion opposing the bus cuts later in the evening.
The Leader of the Opposition responded. The Leader of the Opposition also expressed her support for the motion welcoming refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to Islington, and welcomed that the Opposition and Majority groups could work constructively and in collaboration on these issues.
The Leader of the Opposition said she supported the council’s work to oppose bus cuts, in particular to the Number 4 bus. Cutting public transport at a time when we are seeking to reduce private car usage made no sense, and the opposition supported the motion submitted on this issue.
Finally, the Leader of the Opposition paid tribute to Charlie Kiss, a local campaigner and political activist, who had sadly died earlier in the month. Charlie was the first trans man to stand for parliament, in the Islington South and Finsbury constituency, and was well known to many members of the Council.