Gazette letters: Carers, Community Plan, legalising drugs and general election campaigns

Cllr Janet Burgess. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL

Cllr Janet Burgess. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

In the UK, there are currently 6.5 million people who provide unpaid care for older, disabled and seriously ill relatives and friends, writes Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s health and social care boss (Labour).

In Islington that amounts to thousands. This means our care service is heavily dependent on unpaid care that ordinary people, like you and me, provide every day to our family and friends.

Currently, the government supports unpaid carers through a carer’s allowance, which is £62 a week for those on low incomes. Imagine how tough it is if your salary is low and you have full time caring responsibilities – the emotional and physical strain is immense. Labour recently announced it will raise carers’ allowance to £73 a week by reversing the government’s planned inheritance tax cut.

I welcome Labour’s plan.

Where does the idea come from that Islington is full of the well to do metropolitan elite (“Corbyn: Stop saying people in Islington live the life of Riley”, Gazette), writes Chris Hignett, Mayton Street, Islington.

I have just read a very detailed study of Islington, published last week by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, that shows among other things Islington has the fourth highest level of child poverty in the country and there are about 10,000 households in fuel poverty. These figures hardly suggest affluence.

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The study is part of the Community Plan for Holloway project.

The Community Plan wants to know what people living in the borough think should happen to the Holloway Prison site. I would urge Gazette readers to visit the “plan4holloway” website and fill in the short survey to let the Community Plan know what they think.

Drugs should be an election issue

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It would be most interesting for the political parties to outline their views on the drugs war, which has been lost since the day it commenced, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

Do parties realise the possible vote winner this could be? Legalising cannabis or decriminalising other drugs would save the police wasting their time and taxpayers’ money on a never-ending losing battle.

Imagine the cannabis tax being spent on children who starve between school times due to poverty, or pensioners that go cold in winter. When weapons are the biggest export, there can be no moral argument against the idea. I wonder how many millions would agree.

Why you should vote Labour...

Speak to any Islington councillor or either of our brilliant MPs and they’ll all tell you the number-one issue people come to see them about is housing writes, Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Labour member for Holloway and housing chief.

Too many people live in over-crowded homes; people struggling to afford private rents and the dream of owning your own home is out of the reach of most people. That’s why this general election is, for me and many people in Islington, all about housing.

Islington Labour was able to stand alongside local residents to defeat the Tory tenant tax, which would have forced working people to pay more tax just because they are council tenants.

But other disastrous Tory housing plans that we strongly oppose remain in place, such as plans to force the council to sell off homes and to ban lifetime tenancies.

On June 8, people in Islington have a choice between Labour – who will build a million new homes, including 500,000 council homes, introduce caps on rents and ban letting fees – and the Tories, who have plans that will only make the housing crisis worse.

Neither Labour nor the Tories can claim to represent Islington since the results of the 2016 EU referendum, when 75 per cent voted to remain in the EU, writes Emmy Gibbs, Green Party.

For Islington, Caroline Russell and Benali Hamdache, the Green Party’s candidates for Islington North and South respectively, provide an exciting alternative, standing for investment in a fairer and more sustainable economy, for clean energy, clean air, and for a meaningful public vote on any final Brexit deal.

These priorities must surely win support in a borough plagued by air pollution (one in four nurseries in Islington are within 150 metres of a road where the level of NO2 exceeds legal limits) and in which 11pc of our neighbours are EU nationals.

Benali is a disability and Remain campaigner. Caroline is a strong local champion, already working with Islington as the only opposition member of the council.

A vote for the Greens on June 8 is a vote to oppose Brexit and push for a radically different future that puts fairness for people and care for the planet at the heart of decisions.

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