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Camden Labour leader pledges to help ‘desperate’ people at election’s launch

PUBLISHED: 13:45 12 April 2018

Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Archant

Leader Georgia Gould paid tribute to Camden’s Jewish community, and said Labour will stand up for people left “desperate” by austerity.

Camden Labour Party launch their local elections campaign at the JW3 Centre, on Finchley Road. Picture: Harry TaylorCamden Labour Party launch their local elections campaign at the JW3 Centre, on Finchley Road. Picture: Harry Taylor

Camden Labour Party launched its manifesto at a symbolic event at Finchley Road’s JW3 Centre on Tuesday night, with leader Georgia Gould saying London has “had enough” of austerity.

The launch was chaired by a panel including Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, with Kentish Town ward councillor Georgia Gould, and Fortune Green councillor Lorna Jane Russell.

The event was symbolically held at the JW3 Centre, with a background of recent antisemitism complaints levelled against the party.

The manifesto title, “standing together in tough times” also seemed apt, with relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community at a nadir.

However Tulip Siddiq thanked the JW3 Centre and its CEO Raymond Simonson for offering her a secure place to hold her surgeries after the killing of Jo Cox in 2016, and Cllr Gould praised the Camden’s Jewish community.

Cllr Gould said: “I am really proud that we represent a community with such a large Jewish population.

“We are all really saddened by people saying they don’t feel safe in the Jewish community. We stand against antisemitism as a party.”

Housing was a focal point of the launch and Labour’s manifesto. Cllr Gould said Labour didn’t want to see Camden’s social mix ruined and pledged that the council would build 800 more council homes by 2025.

“People are desperate. This is a consequence of political choices. It is only Labour which will stand up for those people,” she said.

The leader of the council also spoke about resident safety after concerns about youth violence in the borough.

Earlier on Tuesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott visited the Peckwater Estate, where Abdikarim Hassan was killed on February 20.

Cllr Gould said: “The most difficult thing over the last few weeks has been youth violence. I have been personally amazed by the response of the community.

“You can’t just walk on by when you lose a young life and see that as okay. We need to see more support from central government.”

The party has also pledged to publish fire risk assessments and action plans for Camden’s tower blocks following the evacuation of the Chalcots Estate over fire safety concerns.

Ms Gould promised to carry out a full independent investigation into the Chalcots if she stays in power.

She told the Ham&High that the commitments in the manifesto wouldn’t be affected by further Chalcots costs, which may rise to £90million.

“Most of that money is capital spend, a lot of the things in the manifesto are around revenue. We are committed to a massive capital investment programme in social housing, and improving our current stock. We will still deliver council homes.

“However if we don’t get government support, then there will have to be decisions in the future about the programme, and how long it takes to do works, and what we prioritise,” she said.

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