Statement on the murder of Jo Cox

June 17th, 2016

Camden Labour Group are utterly shocked by the brutal murder of Jo Cox MP, killed during her advice surgery, while she was giving her time and service to the community she was proud to represent in Parliament.

She was a committed representative of her constituents, always working for supporting the local community and enhancing its diversity and cohesion.

Before becoming an MP Jo was a passionate campaigner on behalf of the most vulnerable children around the world and she proudly and courageously continued to speak for them when she arrived at Westminster.

Her tragic death is a loss for everyone caring about social justice and fighting for a fairer society.

We express our sincere condolence to her husband, her two young kids, her family.

The cruel death of a public servant doing her duty is also a reminder of the degeneration of our public life, where contempt, distrust and hate towards those with a different opinion are now totally accepted.

Camden Labour Group will honour her memory and her sacrifice by tirelessly working to combat any form of intolerance, hate and violence in our society.

In sign of respect for Jo Cox, Camden Council will fly the flag half-mast today. [ends]

Cllr. Lazzaro Pietragnoli, on behalf of Camden Labour Group

Campaigning for Sadiq Khan and Andrew Dismore – Get Involved!

March 21st, 2016



Thursday 5th May will be a very important day for London. Londoners will have the chance to vote for their Mayor of London and their representatives on the Greater London Assembly (GLA).

Sadiq Khan is standing as Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London and Andrew Dismore AM is seeking re-election as Barnet and Camden’s representative on the GLA.



Sadiq’s priorities for London are:

  • Tackle the housing crisis, building thousands more homes for Londoners each year, setting an ambitious target of 50 per cent of new homes being genuinely affordable, and getting a better deal for renters.
  • Freeze London transport fares for four years and introduce a one-hour bus ‘Hopper’ ticket, paid for by making TfL more efficient and exploring new revenue-raising opportunities. Londoners won’t pay a penny more for their travel in 2020 than they do today.
  • Make London safer, with action to restore neighbourhood policing, tackle gangs and knife crime, a plan to tackle the spread of extremism, and a review of the resourcing of our fire service.
  • Be the most pro-business Mayor yet, working in partnership with industry to deliver on skills, infrastructure, and growth.
  • Restore London’s air quality to legal and safe levels, with action to make travel greener and pedestrianise Oxford Street, while protecting the green belt.
  • Set up ‘Skills for Londoners’ to ensure all Londoners have the opportunity to train in the skills that our economy needs.
  • Tackle low pay, working with employers to make London a Living Wage City.
  • Challenge gender inequality, working to close the gender pay gap and support women to break the glass ceiling while helping to remove the barriers to women’s success.
  • Make cycling and walking safer, with more segregated cycle routes, action on dangerous junctions, and safer lorries.
  • Make London a fairer and more tolerant city, open and accessible to all, and one in which all can live and prosper free from prejudice.

Andrew Dismore has served us well as our Assembly Member. He fought against  the Conservatives’ fire brigade and police cuts  and for our Safer Neighbourhood Teams. He has supported our communities against discrimination and victimisation.

Andrew has spoken out for people in desperate housing need despite a hostile Conservative Mayor. He’s argued for genuinely affordable homes, especially for rent.

He has campaigned to bring Thameslink within TfL and against the Conservatives’ excessive fare rises.  He has stood alongside us over HS2.

Andrew says: “It’s been tough facing down a Conservative Mayor, who has imposed massive police cuts, jacked up fares and ignored  London’s ever deteriorating housing crisis.

“Please re-elect me and vote for Sadiq as Mayor for a real difference in  our security, for transport and, above all, more  affordable homes.”


We’re campaigning hard to get Sadiq and Andrew elected in May – if you can help, please get involved. Our campaign sessions are detailed below:

Saturday 26th March – Camden Town with Primrose Hill Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm outside HSBC next to Camden Town underground station

Tuesday 29th March – St Pancras & Somers Town canvass, 1pm at Londis on Crowndale Road

Thursday 31st March – Camden Town, 1pm at Chalk Farm underground station

Saturday 2nd April – Gospel Oak Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, venue TBC

Saturday 2nd April – Fortune Green Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, West Hampstead Overground Station

Sunday 3rd April – Kilburn, 2pm, Kilburn High Road overground station

Tuesday 5th April – Somers Town, 1pm at Londis on Crowndale Road

Thursday 7th April – Haverstock, 1pm at Chalk farm underground station

Saturday 9th April – Haverstock Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, corner of Malden Road/Queen’s Crescent 

Saturday 9th April – Belsize & Swiss Cottage Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, Swiss Cottage underground station 

Tuesday 12th April – Camden Town with Primrose Hill, 1pm at Camden Town underground station

Thursday 14th April – Kentish Town canvass, 1pm at Kentish Town underground station

Saturday 16th April – Bloomsbury Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, venue TBC

Saturday 16th April – West Hampstead Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, West Hampstead overground station

Tuesday 19th April – Somers Town, 1pm at Somers Town Coffee House, Chalton Street

Thursday 21st April – Haverstock canvass, 1pm at Kentish Town West Overground station

Saturday 23rd April – Kentish Town with Cantelowes Campaign Day, 11am and 1:30pm outside Kentish Town underground station

Saturday 23rd April – Kilburn Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, Kilburn High Road overground station

Sunday 24th April – Fortune Green Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, West Hampstead Overground Station

Tuesday 26th April – Camden Town with Primrose Hill, 1pm at 110 Gloucester Avenue, NW1 8HX

Thursday 28th April – Kentish Town canvass, 1pm at Kentish Town underground station

Saturday 30th April – St Pancras & Somers Town Campaign Day, 11am and 2pm, venue TBC

Saturday 30th April – Kilburn, 2pm, Kilburn High Road overground station

Sunday 31st April – Kilburn, 2pm, Kilburn High Road overground station


If you would like to know if there are other local campaign sessions, or if you want more information, please contact




A comparison of Camden and Barnet on housing policies

February 15th, 2016

DISGRACED former Conservative Assembly Member Brian Coleman and this year’s Conservative candidate Daniel Thomas, a Barnet councillor, have been boasting on Twitter about Barnet’s supposed success in housebuilding versus Camden’s.

Mr Coleman’s hopeful successor and protégé said that Camden “should be more ambitious with regeneration of estates.”

I feel I must translate for Camden residents what being “more ambitious” with regeneration has meant in Barnet under the deputy leadership of Cllr Thomas.

West Hendon estate – In the ward I represent, Cllr Thomas has led the crusade in the demolition and redevelopment of a 680-home council estate – the West Hendon estate – to be replaced with a 2,000 new ones. Of these new homes just 242 will be for social rent. This means about 200 households from the current West Hendon estate will be made homeless. To add the cherry on top, the land was handed over to Barratt for just £3 and he is allowing a 29-storey tower block to be built. The council also made opening offers to leaseholders almost £100,000 below their market values – angering residents.

Grahame Park estate – the ward neighbouring mine is home to the largest council estate in Barnet with 1,777 homes. Cllr Thomas is demolishing 1,314 of these homes. The exact composition of replacement social homes is still to be decided but the new estate will be around 2,000 privately-owned and 1,000 social housing, a net loss of 350 homes for social rent.  Additionally we recently uncovered that the new social homes to be provided by Genesis Housing Association will not be socially rented in perpetuity – meaning once they become vacant after a death or eviction Genesis can rent at “affordable rent:” levels (80 per cent of market) or perhaps even full market rent – well beyond the means of most current residents, and hardworking people, on these estates. Cllr Thomas has also led or cheer-led the redevelopment of the Stonegrove estate and the Dollis Valley estate with a similar mix of new private homes from council assets and fewer homes for social rent.

All in all under his stewardship Barnet will have a net loss of over 800 social homes while, at the same time, the number of residents in temporary accommodation will continue to skyrocket and cost the taxpayer millions more in housing benefit costs due to the excessive cost of temporary accommodation. Some of this is just pressure on the housing system, but losing 800 much-needed, low-cost, social homes must and will exacerbate the situation. Anyone denying this is just an idiot.

And if Cllr Thomas wants to compare Barnet’s record with Camden’s let’s look at homelessness. In Barnet the number of children in homeless families has gone up in three years, from 3,000 to 4,000. In Camden, in three years, the number of home­- less children has gone down from 1,075 to 326.

Housing in Barnet is reaching a breaking point. Camden residents should look and judge the actions of Cllr Thomas in Barnet and ask themselves: Do we really want this man representing us at City Hall?

Labour, West Hendon ward & Housing Committee Member
London Borough of Barnet


This was published in the CNJ and can be viewed here.

Camden set to lose out on Govt’s £300m fund to ease council cuts

February 10th, 2016

Camden set to lose out on a £300m superfund by the government intended to soften the impact of council cuts.

Following the Comprehensive Spending review in November a special fund was set up by the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The fund will now be allocated mainly to wealthy, Conservative-controlled shire councils receive an estimated 83% of the cash, while inner city areas with greater pressure lose out.

The biggest beneficiaries will be Surrey, which will get £24m, with £19m going to Hampshire, £16m to Hertfordshire, £14m to Essex, £12m to West Sussex, £11m to Kent and £9m to Buckinghamshire. Cameron’s county council in Oxfordshire will get an additional £9m to ease the cuts over the next two years.

Cllr. Theo Blackwell, Cabinet Member for Finance said:”Camden has lost nearly 50% in government funding since 2010. This means each and every year the council has had to cut around £20 million from local services. Many shire areas have had their funding protected. This week Camden successfully staved off an attempt to make this year’s deep government cuts even deeper, but unlike the southern counties we have no support from this special fund.”    

The Council must deliver services while dealing with inner London pressures which Government has made little to no allowance for in funding allocations. For example:

  • Camden had the 4th fastest growing population in the country between 2010 and 2014, and this is set to grow by a further 20,121 (7.4%) by 2020, yet there is nothing in the settlement to enable us to respond to the increased infrastructure and service delivery that these demographic changes require. 
  • The latest projections estimate London’s population will rise from 8.6 million in 2015 to 9.1 million by 2020, an increase of 6.4 per cent – more than twice the anticipated rate of increase for the rest of England (3.1 per cent). London’s growth will account for 28 per cent of all population growth in England over that period.
  • London Councils estimate that London’s daytime population rises to close to 10.8 million – an increase of 2.5 million or 30 per cent from its usual resident population. This significant level of growth places increased pressure on local authority services and infrastructure.
  • Due to its transport infrastructure and status as a tourist hub, Camden also faces increased demand from short-term and day-time populations, which are not fully captured within the funding allocations. Homelessness and rough sleeping numbers have spiked in the last two years, bringing further pressures. Finally, the costs of providing services in London are higher than in the rest of the UK.
  • Meanwhile, the government has continued to pass new responsibilities to the council and then cut the funding to deliver these – exacerbating the effect of the cuts. Examples include public health, council tax benefit, and the local welfare fund. The government decision to abolish the contracted-out rate will create a further financial pressure for Camden of £2m in 2016/17 alone

Labour Camden council has made a major step forward in transparency

November 13th, 2015

Camden council has made a major step forward in transparency by committing itself to a new Open Data Charter. 

The Council has made considerable progress in publishing its data openly over the last 6 months. However the Council currently has no agreed position on the publication of data although its de facto position is to not publish data openly unless there is a statutory requirement to do so. The Open Data Charter changes this position to “open by default” i.e. to publish data openly unless there is a good reason why not.

Other local authorities who are at the forefront of Open Data include Bath and North East Somerset, and Leeds have open data policies. It will also act as a reference point to encourage services to publish their data while providing assurance that open data does not override privacy and data quality concerns.

Open data is published on Camden’s new portal, in partnership with Socrata  – datasets on the portal will grow as more information is published and respond to demand from residents and businesses.

Labour’s Theo Blackwell said:

“Camden is leading the way across public services in our work on technology to improve public services and save money.  Now we make our datasets open and available for public and commercial use to improve transparency and local democracy as well as give new insights into Camden’s environment and economy.”

London Borough of Camden Open Data Charter November 2015