There was a meeting of Camden Council on Monday, 19th September. As part of my accountability to residents, below are the actions I took at the meeting:

  1. Asked the Cabinet Member for Finance about Camden Council’s levels of cash reserves. Currently Camden holds over £300m in cash and short-term financial instruments, and has approximately the same debt: paying £17m more in interest payments than it receives. I queried the rationale for having larger cash reserves than would be advisable in the private sector. (R)
  2. Asked the Cabinet Member for Sustainability & the Environment the proportion of properties with gardens that were forecast would pay the new Garden Tax. The Cabinet member refused to answer, citing commercial confidentiality. I noted in my supplementary question my disappointment, and noted that the Garden Tax had risen from approximately £40 to £75 since Conservative councillors were briefed about it a few months ago: suggesting a halving of the expected take-up rate. (Q)
  3. Asked the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport, & Planning how many enforcement notices had been issued against unlawful short-term leasing without planning permission (an issue related to AirBnB and similar services, which I support). Despite a small spike in 2015, the level in 2016 is lower than it was before 2015: demolishing Labour’s claims that government deregulation of AirBnB has led to a rise in unlawful lets. (Q)
  4. Gave a speech urging Camden to take advantage of powers conferred by the Conservative Government to introduce on-the-spot fines for fly-tipping, as introduced by a number of other boroughs: a measure that would help combat the spike in fly-tipping in our community. (O)
  5. Gave a speech in favour of the cross-party motion on refugees. I noted my own family’s background in the Middle East, my pride in former Willow Road resident Sir Nicholas Winton (who saved 667 Jewish children from the advancing Nazis), and my disgust in the hostility to immigrants shown by Donald Trump. We are a great country because we are an open country, and I wish that to continue. (M)
  6. Voted for the cross-party motion on refugees. It was approved unanimously. (V)
  7. Voted for the Conservative motion (as amended) on saving the number 13 bus, re-routing the number 139 bus, and other changes to bus routes that would benefit Camden residents. It was approved unanimously. (V)
  8. Voted for the cross-party motion opposing hate crimes in Camden and backing EU citizens’ right to remain in the UK after the EU referendum. It was approved unanimously. (V)

You can see a full round-up of meetings this year here.