Belsize Liberal Democrat Councillors Tom Simon and Luisa Porritt have gained places on five committees, enabling them to hold the Labour-run Council to account on key policy areas.
Tom has a place on the Culture and Environment Scrutiny Committee, which covers areas including policing, waste collection, air quality and planning decisions that were central to the Camden Lib Dems manifesto. He is also on the Licensing Committee, which he sat on as a Councillor previously.
Luisa has places on the Resources and Corporate Performance Scrutiny Committee & the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee, where she intends to use her background in finance and economics to ensure local government finances are managed effectively.
Tom has also joined the Fire Safety Advisory Panel.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Camden Council, Cllr Flick Rea, has criticised the fact that profits from the sale of council homes were never returned to local authorities to build new council homes.
Speaking in the Camden Citizen, which you can read here, Flick said, "Whilst it is a commendable ambition for people to want to own their own homes, it has never been right that the profits were never returned to local authorities to build new homes and replenish their housing stock."
"Furthermore, the process was not set up to prevent early resales, thus doubling the inequity for local authorities such as Camden who effectively lost out twice!"
"As it is, it has led to a system of greedy landlords buying up ex-Council properties and converting them into high-rent tenancies. No help there for those who need social housing, and no help for local Councils to build new homes."
The Council is currently consulting on plans for traffic controls to prevent traffic queuing outside Gospel Oak primary school at the beginning and end of the school day.
Gospel Oak Lib Dems strongly support steps to improve air quality, particularly around schools, and the Council are right to recognise that action needs to be taken. But the proposals put forward are too limited and too timid. They would serve only to move backed-up traffic a road or two along. This is an opportunity to do much more.
We call on the Council to include in the consultation consideration of one-way systems preventing the streets north of Mansfield Road being used as a cut-through at all: not just a Healthy School Street but a step towards a Healthy Neighbourhood.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Camden Council, Cllr Flick Rea, has spoken out against the massive increase in the number of visits to foodbanks.
Speaking in the Camden Citizen, which you can read here, Flick said, "This only underlines the serious inequalities in our Borough and is a shameful indictment of today’s fractured society."
Queen Mary’s Hospital lies at the apex of Hampstead on the corner of East Heath Road and Heath Street. The 1.6 acres of land and buildings, originally a maternity home, was bequeathed by Lord Leverhulme nearly a century ago, for therapeutic medical purposes, and also provides accommodation for 52 nurses and key workers.
The Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust is considering selling the site for luxury housing development, which is the last thing that Hampstead needs. We believe that the Trust should seek ways of retaining the site for NHS and key worker housing use, and that Camden should refuse any planning applications for demolition or change of use.
If you feel the same way, and want to stop the sell-off, please sign the petition.
Residents of Wendling have been consulted about regeneration of the estate five times in the last two years. Each consultation has led simply to the Labour council immediately announcing a further consultation.
Labour’s merry-go-round throws away money and leaves tenants and leaseholders in a state of perpetual uncertainty.
We call for the next consultation to be decisive and to be decided by a vote.
It is also imperative that the offer on the table should be open, honest and clear.
It is concerning that rumours are again circulating about tenants being relocated to Southend-on-Sea: there must be no doubt where people would be housed during rebuilding. Tenants and leaseholders must know what housing would be available to them and their families. And there must be clarity about the build quality: will the standards of Cherry Court be matched and if not why not?
Only Lib Dem councillors will stand up for the residents of Wendling.
(Read the manifesto here:)
Launching their 2018 local elections manifesto at the Sheriff Centre in West Hampstead on Tuesday 17 April, Camden Liberal Democrats pledged a borough that is open, vibrant and inclusive. In the manifesto, Lib Dem council candidates promise to listen to residents, stand up for local communities in all parts of the borough,and support the vulnerable so everyone can participate fully in our society. A Lib Dem-run Camden Council will be accountable, safer and greener, and will promote diversity and creativity.
The party’s top five manifesto pledges are:
1) Fund 20 extra PCs and community safety officers to reverse the rise in crime; and bring together youth services and community groups to urgently tackle knife crime which risks the lives of our young people.
2) Improve access to mental health services and work with Camden NHS to fund a local team of specialist community dementia care nurses.
3) Build 700 new zero-carbon social and affordable homes; boost shared ownership options for young people to give them a first step onto the housing ladder; protect private tenants from rogue landlords; and treat council tenants and leaseholders with respect.
4) Reduce air pollution, especially near schools and nurseries; install electric charging points on most roads in the borough; switch to energy-saving street lights; and create 25 new ‘pocket parks’.
5) Review Labour’s inflexible rubbish and recycling policy, hold contractors to account, drop punitive garden waste charges and get tough on fly-tipping.
Camden Liberal Democrats will also continue to fight for an Exit from Brexit, enabling the UK to stay in the European Union (EU). The party will be the strongest voice for Camden’s EU citizens, and seek to protect its other residents from damaging Tory/Labour hard Brexit plans. Unlike any other major party, Camden Liberal Democrats believe the people must have the final say on the final deal with the alternative option being to
remain in the EU.
Other manifesto highlights include:Introducing youth workers into A&E departments to engage with patients attending with stab wounds.
- Tackling the social care funding crisis by increasing council tax in the short term, while calling on Government to raise a penny on the pound in income tax as a longer-term solution.
- Doubling the council tax premium (from 50% to 100%) on homes left empty for over two years.
- Making use of empty council buildings to provide emergency and temporary accommodation to rough sleepers.
- Provide free sanitary towels in schools so that girls can continue their education uninterrupted and with dignity, to end period poverty.
- Planting at least two new trees for every one that needs to be removed.
- Enhancing play facilities for children with disabilities, especially in Camden’s parks.
- Working with schools to develop inclusive, non-proscriptive, gender neutral school uniform policies.
- Promoting and protecting live music, theatres, local community centres, pubs & cafes, including venues that support LGBT+ and BAME communities, and seek the reopening of the Black Cap.
- Establish a ‘technology incubator hub’ to develop relationships and support between large
technology firms, universities and start-ups.
Roger Fox, Chair of Camden Liberal Democrats, said:
“Here in Camden, we pledge that our prospective councillors will make it easier to live as a Londoner, by listening to residents, standing up for local communities in all parts of the borough, and supporting vulnerable people. We will strive for a Camden that is not only safer and greener, but also open, vibrant and inclusive.
“The Liberal Democrats are also the only major party with a clear and unambiguous pro-European platform. These elections are a great opportunity to send a message to both parties that their pro-Brexit stances are not supported in London, with a strong Liberal Democrat vote here in May.”
Camden Liberal Democrats are pleased to announce the party’s full slate of 54 candidates in each of the 18 wards of the Borough of Camden, to give voters the opportunity to elect hard-working, liberal, and genuinely pro-European voices to the council.
The candidates have a mix of experience. Eight current or former councillors are standing again, while almost 40% of the 54 candidates are newer members who have joined the Liberal Democrats since May 2015, bringing new energy and ideas. This strong, diverse group of new candidates has been motivated by the Liberal Democrat revival, with membership having doubled in Camden since 2015, partly based on the party’s robust defence of those who voted to remain in the European Union in the June 2016 referendum. Collectively, the Camden candidates are campaigning for an open, internationalist and collaborative approach to how our borough and country are run.
Candidates hail from a diverse range of backgrounds. They include current council tenants (Jill Fraser, Daviyani Kothari, Mukul Hira), and individuals working in public services, such as Nancy Jirira (nurse), Charlotte Wattebot-O’Brien (doctor), and Tracey Shackle (family learning practitioner).
New candidates include recent graduates (Mark Johnson, Surya Kumaravel, Max Karasinski), as well as Will Coles who is a current PhD student. Some candidates work in business or law in the City of London (Roger Fox, Kushal Bhimjiani, Victor Hjort), others are people running their own businesses (Luisa Porritt, Stephen Crosher, Erich Wagner).
Finally, the eight former or existing councillors who are standing bring substantial experience of local government, including from the period when the Lib Dems ran the council (2006-2010). These former councillors are experienced in the areas of planning, education, waste collection, and health and social care.
Roger Fox, Chair of Camden Liberal Democrats, said:
“I am proud that we are offering all residents across Camden the opportunity to elect Liberal Democrat councillors on 3rd May. All over the borough, our teams offer an invaluable mix of experience and fresh perspectives. They include both former councillors and those who have energetically turned to the Lib Dems more recently, to fight for an open and inclusive society.
“We are united in our aim to offer a strong policy agenda for Camden, that will deliver a borough which is safer, greener and supports inclusivity, diversity and creativity. We will also continue to represent the vast majority of Camden residents who voted to Remain. And we will work to a bring about an Exit from Brexit, by giving electors the chance to send a clear message to the other parties at the ballot box that they are unhappy with the pro-Brexit policies of Labour and the Conservatives.”
This week, members of the Muslim community felt unable to leave their homes in a vile planned attack on their religious freedom and identity.
Here in Belsize, one woman told me last weekend that neither she nor her kids would be leaving the house on 3 April, so called 'Punish a Muslim Day', after a letter was circulated promising rewards to those who carried out physical attacks or verbal abuses towards Muslims.
On the day, I went to visit the same lady and she was afraid to open the door until she knew who it was. When we spoke, she was visibly upset as she said she had heard reports of Muslims she knew being targeted. And indeed, her kids had stayed at home with her.
She wasn't the only one who felt afraid. Other Muslims living in the same building were not opening their doors as our team went round knocking on them.
This appalling Islamophobia has no place in a liberal, tolerant, open society.
We firmly believe Camden, which is many ways a microcosm of London and the country at large, is all the better for its diversity.
If you agree, please do what you can to make your neighbours, local business owners, and public servants from the Muslim community feel at home.
For our part, we promise to call out and tackle prejudice whenever and wherever we see it.
Thank you for standing with us against intolerance.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Belsize ward
It’s now a year since Theresa May notified the EU of the UK’s intention to leave and, as things stand, this time next year we will be cast out into the uncertain reality of life outside the world’s most successful trading bloc and peace project. By then many important issues will still need to be negotiated. We won’t know what Brexit really means but it will be too late to change our minds.