View from the chamber: Make sure everyone has a home
PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 March 2018
If a week is a long time in politics, the last seven years has seen key decisions fundamentally change our lives in Camden.
Parliament approved the HS2 Bill – but not without the council and the community securing over 100 agreements to mitigate the worst impacts of the scheme and secure replacement homes for our council tenants.
Meanwhile, Brexit will redefine our relationship with Europe. With 75 per cent of Camden residents voting to remain, we’re clear that we will fight for our non-British EU citizens to retain their rights and are deeply committed to maintaining strong links with Europe.
We don’t know exactly what the next seven years will bring but we know the challenges we face now. The London housing crisis, air pollution, the need to care for our older residents and to tackle youth violence are huge issues we can only address by working together.
These challenges are set against a backdrop of repeated government cuts to public services and our budget. Our government grant has been halved since 2011. With social care costs and demands rising, we have had to make the tough decision to raise council tax by 4.99pc so that we can continue to provide the services our communities need.
We know crime and safety are big issues for our community which is why, last week, we announced extra resource for teams of police officers, community wardens and support for rough sleepers and young people at risk.
In Camden, we refuse to be passive recipients to cuts or changing circumstances. We have a proud rebellious spirit that throughout our history has seen our communities come together to tackle problems and bring about real social change.
Together, with our residents, businesses and community groups, we have a vision for what we want Camden to be like in 2025 – and a plan of action agreed by council.
At its heart is the core tenet of our original Camden Plan – that in Camden, no-one should get left behind. For me, that is a child growing up in a council house in Kilburn, gazing up at the glass buildings of our Knowledge Quarter and, one day, being employed there as a scientist, curator or coder. It is an intergenerational club bringing together the community. It is our teachers, police officers, nurses and social workers being able to put down roots, develop and deliver their talents in Camden through having a stable, genuinely affordable home.
This isn’t a plan which sits on a shelf. It was formed in dialogue with our community and Citizen’s Assembly – and we want continuing community debate to help produce brave new policy. We’ll be holding discussions on the issues of loneliness and isolation and Euston Station redevelopment in the coming months.
Everyone in Camden should have a place to call home, everyone should have a safe and clean Camden to enjoy and everyone should be able to live a healthy, independent life amidst our strong, active
I believe our communities’ creativity and energy is our greatest resource. I invite everyone in Camden to help bring this vision to life.
Read Camden 2025 and our Camden Plan at www3.camden.gov.uk/camden2025/