Highgate needs a Labour councillor to fight for all its residents

I note that Paul Barton the so-called one speech Tory councillor for Highgate has resigned two years after being elected to serve the ward.  Highgate deserves a hard-working local candidate that is accessible to residents, undertakes their casework and

I note that Paul Barton the so-called "one speech" Tory councillor for Highgate has resigned two years after being elected to serve the ward.

Highgate deserves a hard-working local candidate that is accessible to residents, undertakes their casework and actively participates in the local community. I want a candidate that will stand up for the issues that are important to the local area. These are some of the following issues that I believe are of crucial importance to our local community.

It is important that in Camden all residents benefit from door-to-door recycling irrespective of where they live. This Tory/Lib Dem coalition has withdrawn the facility from some social housing estates, including from those in Highgate.

Services crucial to the most vulnerable in our community such as Careline and meals on wheels must be protected from privatisation and unfair price-hikes. Meals on wheels has seen above inflation price increases, which has made the service unaffordable to those that rely on it to provide them with a hot meal, and the privatisation of Careline threatens to erode the quality of the service.

Funding cuts are also threatening the Highgate Road Day Centre just outside the ward.

We should see our local authority investing more rather than cutting back spending on community centres and projects for our children and teenagers, so that they can all enjoy extra-curricula and recreational activities irrespective of one's income.

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The Highgate Newtown Neighbourhood Partnership founded under Labour in an area of deprivation is an excellent example of how all parts of the local community can be brought together to help regenerate an area. Now the services provided by the Fresh Academy and community centre are under threat having had their funding slashed by the Tory/Lib Dem administration; an issue the Green Party has been silent on.

Street wardens do a fantastic job in deterring criminals from Camden and we must maintain this crucial community service. This years Tory/Lib Dem budget shows that they are at risk.

Selling off Camden's housing stock is not the answer to raising the funds needed to repair and improve our social housing, especially when there is such a huge shortage of homes for families in the borough. We need to raise money from alternative channels such as from grants available through the Greater London Assembly. Further, leaseholders should not face unfair charges on repairs to their homes; they should only be liable for the costs incurred in repairing their property and a proportion of the costs associated with communal areas and structures.

I would remind local residents that the Labour Party is a green party. It was a Labour council that introduced door-to-door recycling, it was under Labour that Camden became one of the greenest boroughs in London consistently topping green issue league tables and it's thanks to a Labour Mayor that Camden has benefited from increased funding for cycle lanes.

In 2005 Camden - under Labour - was the first London borough to push for a ban on plastic bags, which take generations to decompose and have a hugely negative impact on our wildlife and domesticated animals. Now, thanks to Gordon Brown's Government we should start to see the decline of the plastic bag. The nationally recognised and award-winning Boulevard Project saw the introduction of a radical programme to plant trees in a bid to green our borough. Again this was an initiative introduced by a Labour administration and has since been cut-back by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition.

It was also under Labour that Camden became a fair trade borough. Calling yourself green does not mean that you are best placed to deliver on the environment.

What Highgate and Camden needs is strong and focused opposition, one that has the environment at the top of its agenda but also an opposition that has answers to resolve the boroughs housing problems, an opposition with an effective strategy for reducing the level of crime in the borough and importantly one that believes in delivering excellent local services to all, irrespective of where you live.

The single issue Green Party can't offer this. Highgate is a special place and it needs an accessible, strong candidate that will fight against a two tier Camden and be an organ for the local area.

Michael Nicolaides

Chair, Highgate Labour Party