Opposition councillors call for “people’s fund”

THE opposition at Islington Council has called for the creation of a “people’s fund” to protect the borough’s most vulnerable.

The Liberal Democrat group, which ran the council until power shifted to Labour at the last election in May 2010, wants a �3.5million pot of money to be set aside to help those who are most in need – and handed out according to feedback from a public consultation.

As the council gears up to implement a huge package of cuts worth �52million over the next financial year, the Liberal Democrats outlined �3.5million of further reductions that would pay for its proposal, including cutting universal free school meals - which they claim would save a massive �2million.

Councillor John Gilbert, the party’s finance spokesman, said: “Despite Labour saying they are on residents’ side, they are implementing savage cuts which will tear away the very fabric of Islington’s communities, snatch vital services from our young people and the elderly and leave our roads and pavements to crumble.

“Liberal Democrats have identified areas where substantial savings can be made and the money used in a better way to protect those who really need our help in Islington – the young, the elderly and the most vulnerable.”

The Liberal Democrat’s cuts suggestions also included scrapping the post of chief executive, shelving the magazine Islington Life, slashing communications spending, and abolishing Homes for Islington and bringing the council’s housing back under direct control.