There was a meeting of Camden Council on Monday, 8th October. As part of my accountability to residents, below are the actions I took at the meeting.
- I paid tribute to the sadly recently-deceased Sir Alan Greengross, one of my predecessors as Leader of Camden Conservatives and councillor for Hampstead Town, and also formerly Leader of the Conservatives on the Greater London Council. Lib Dem leader Flick Rea helpfully pointed out in her tribute speech that local councils shouldn’t waste their time talking about foreign policy, e.g. Camden’s then Nuclear Committee, which Sir Alan opposed: “As if we were going to stop anything.”
- I spoke to support the deputation calling for Camden to stop using glyphosate weedkiller, noting that Camden Conservatives’ manifesto committed to ending its use. I noted that the financial risks posed by lawsuits if we did not discontinue its use could be significant, and asked the deputees what their preferred solution, out of the many available, was. (D)
- I gave my speech as Leader of the Opposition noting that Camden’s Labour administration had failed to focus on its day job of improving services and ensuring efficient and effective local government. I reeled off a list of failures that had come to light just since the last full council meeting in July – on Camden building fewer homes than any London borough, its school standards declining relative to every Inner London borough, its housing stock now having more non-decent council homes than all councils but one nationwide, the recent doubling of flytipping, and its record as the worst council in the country for violent crime. Sadly, Labour don’t seem especially interested in reversing those trends, as for the last seven council meetings in a row, they have proposed motions on matters that are outside the powers of the council: posturing, rather than solving problems.
- I spoke to note that amendments that were discussed at the Audit Committee could be made by the Borough Solicitor to the Council’s submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England about the new ward boundaries. At that committee, I detailed a few elements of the draft submission that could weaken its persuasive power, and have ensured the Borough Solicitor will remove them. (M)
- I was due to propose a motion to launch an independent review of the Community Investment Programme: Camden’s failed estate regeneration programme, which is failing miserably to meet its revenue targets. With over 5,500 council homes in a dilapidated state, Camden needs investment to fix its broken housing stock, yet since its launch in 2010, the CIP has yielded an average of £67m less each year than had been forecast just two years before. This trend goes back to the project’s start, so Labour’s attempts to blame Brexit or Stamp Duty or other recent changes are juvenile and misplaced – they have simply mismanaged the project, and we need a review to find out if there is a better way forward. Sadly, Labour filibustered this, so we didn’t get to it. (M*)