27 February 2020
As the sole Green Party Councillor Caroline Russell has once again put forward an amendment to the Labour budget.
The amendment focuses on a few key proposals, starting with making sure it is never cheaper to park a car than a bike. By raising the cost of every car parking band by £107.25 per annum ( the council’s proposed cost of parking a bike) there will be a £2.861m budget surplus to be spent on support for the poorest residents and tackling the climate emergency.
The proposed amendment will halve the cost of parking a bike reducing it to a pound a week and will end the grossly unfair situation where Tesla sports car owners receive free parking, while people are charged over £100 for using the council’s on street bike parking places.
The proposals include:
Exempting Islington’s poorest from paying the 8.5% council tax contribution so many can ill afford.
Creating a gas credit contingency fund so council tenants don’t end up with the gas cut off during their annual gas safety check.
Protecting the Council’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards work, which holds landlords to account on ensuring rented homes meet basic energy efficiency standards.
Caroline said “10 years into a Conservative led government and Islington’s poorest are suffering. I’ve put together this budget amendment to challenge Labour to do more for people living on the tightest margins in our borough.”
“As a Councillor I’m very concerned to see growing council tax arrears year on year. Residents tell me they can’t pay their council tax and have fallen into debt. The disastrous rollout of Universal Credit, the end of the council tax exemption and the cuts to support services have left many households in crisis. I want Labour to listen and to stop burdening the poorest with council tax, when so many are struggling to pay for food and rent.”
"Shockingly 180 households a year have their gas cut off at the annual safety check because they have no credit on the meter. This costs the council £21,000 a year in reconnection and wasted visits. If they take up my idea of providing gas credit at the time of the annual check it would save £8000 a year and protect the well being of residents on precarious incomes. I really hope they steal this idea."
“We can raise the necessary money by fixing the council’s broken approach to parking fees. It isn’t right that electric cars get free parking when it costs £107 to park a bicycle. By all means electric cars could have cheaper parking - but it is illogical that Tesla owners have their parking costs completely subsidised by the council.”
“My proposals would halve the cost of parking a bike, bringing charges in line with other boroughs. Sorting out the parking charges makes sense in a climate emergency and creates space in the budget to help protect Islington’s most vulnerable residents”