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New Council Leader aims to tackle unemployment crisis

  • Date: 11 October 2013
  • Author: Sian Williams

Richard Watts has been named the new Leader of Islington Council.

The former Executive member for finance was sworn in as Leader at the council meeting on Thursday 10 October, following Cllr Catherine West’s decision to stand down.

Elected to Islington Council in 2006, Richard Watts has been a member of the Executive since 2010 when Labour won control of the council.

Councillor Watts used his inaugural speech to announce that his priority as Leader will be to focus on what he describes as "an unemployment crisis in a borough with the highest proportion of households with children where no-one works."

To tackle this, Richard Watts has announced a new Employment Commission, based on the successful Fairness Commission pioneered by Islington which has since been adopted by several other councils.

He said: "The Fairness Commission galvanised Islington - prompting businesses, public sector organisations and individuals to pull together to tackle issues of inequality. I want the Employment Commission to do the same thing. We must harness the massive resources available to us from our proximity to the City, Tech City and our investment in Finsbury Park to ensure that Islington residents get every opportunity of earning a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."

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The composition of Islington Council is: 36 Labour, 11 Liberal Democrats, and 1 independent.
Cllr Catherine West served as Leader of the Council from May 2010 until October 2013; she remains a Labour councillor.