10 March 2017
Caroline Russell said; "Since 2010, Islington Council has lost around £150million of its funding from national government. These cuts have been cruel and highly damaging to our community. An additional £3million of cuts have been proposed by the council and are aimed at services for children, older people and people with learning difficulties. These services support some of our most vulnerable neighbours.
I recently put an amendment to Labour’s annual budget to consult Islington residents on whether they would be willing to pay an average of £1 a week extra through council tax to protect these vital services.
Rather than seeing these services cut, I am doing all I can to protect them. To fund them, I would much prefer to see central government increase taxes on the very rich and on large corporations, who for far too long have simply not paid their fair share back into the communities that make them money.
But in the absence of this, I feel duty-bound, as the sole opposition councillor, to put forward alternative strategies.
Unfortunately, my amendment to hold a referendum on increasing council tax by five per cent was voted down by Labour (Council tax rise will pay for social care, March 3). I do not know what residents might have said but I do know we should have at least asked – it’s too important not to.
I believe the majority of residents value public services and want to live in a community where they know those who need a hand will get the help they need.
Referenda may have a bad name at the moment but we must have faith in democracy and in the people of this borough that, when the time comes, we will pull together to protect each other from these harmful and savage government cuts to our local services."
This letter was first published in the Islington Tribune on 10th March 2017.