There was a meeting of Camden Council on Monday, 12th November. As part of my accountability to residents, below are the actions I took at the meeting.
- In the themed debate on rough sleeping, I noted that despite the claims from Labour councillors that rough sleeping was caused by the government, Camden had the largest increases in rough sleeping nationally this year and since 2010, suggesting something was going specifically wrong in Camden, not nationally. I asked the Leader, who claimed that she wanted to influence the government, whether Camden had responded to the large number of government consultations on the matter, but she declined to answer (I assume we haven’t, but I will be FOIing accordingly).
- I gave my speech as Leader of the Opposition reiterating the point last month that Camden’s services were failing across the board, but specifically noted that the Cabinet member for schools had responded to me noting that our school results fell relative to other London boroughs by saying I was ‘badmouthing’ Camden. This attitude, whereby the administration is above criticism, is undemocratic charlatanism that risks letting down our kids. I also noted that Camden Conservatives stood on a platform of abstaining on motions that are outside the council’s control, and we were thus disappointed that Labour and Lib Dems again tabled motions that the council cannot control – we would be abstaining accordingly.
- In response to the North London Waste Plan, I asked what would happen if the identified ‘windfall’ sites were not able to be used (as it appears one site in Haringey might not be). I also further asked how long sites were safeguarded for and what this meant for Regis Road and the wider Kentish Town development framework. The Cabinet member said that the site could be used for development, provided Camden negotiated the use of one of the windfall sites elsewhere in lieu. However, as Regis Road is the only local dump in Camden, I am concerned by this.
- Per the above and our manifesto commitment, I abstained on both the Lib Dem and Labour motions on Brexit, as it is not within the powers of a local council. (V)
- I was due to propose a motion tabling an Animal Welfare Charter, which Camden could raise animal welfare standards by adopting. This would actually raise standards in Camden. However, we didn’t reach this, because Labour and the Lib Dems both wanted to show off that they had things to say about Brexit so tabled virtually identical motions on it (the is the second time they have bumped motions related to things in the council’s powers for motions about Brexit – last time, in 2016, was about air quality). (M*)
- Because we ran out of time allocated to motions, I raised the Animal Welfare Charter in the open session, and specifically asked the Resources & Corporate Performance Scrutiny Committee, which is responsible for matters that don’t expressly fall within the remit of other committees, to receive an officers’ report assisting in the adoption of an Animal Welfare Charter. (O)