The council has committed to doing all it can to keep people safe through the pandemic, and support those who need it. The vital We Are Islington helpline, which assisted almost 14,000 people last year, will stay operational for as long as it is needed, helping co-ordinate mutual aid efforts in the borough and deliver food parcels to hundreds of struggling households.
Despite the immense disruption caused by the virus, the council will also continue to press ahead with tackling the climate crisis by working towards a net zero-carbon borough by the end of the decade, and investing in more green projects across the board to create a cleaner, healthier borough.
The authority is also continuing its ambitious Council Housing New Build Programme to provide decent and genuinely affordable new homes for local people.
The budget for 2021/22 includes:
- Investing £80million in our ongoing Council Housing New Build Programme. We are on course to deliver 207 new council homes this year, supporting our commitment to build 550 new council homes by 2022 – the largest new-build programme for council homes in 30 years. In all, the borough will benefit from 1,900 new genuinely affordable homes in the borough between 2018 and 2022;
- Doing our bit to tackle the climate crisis, we will invest more than £17million in projects to support our Vision 2030 strategy. This includes more than £6million to develop more People Friendly Streets as part of our work to deliver 20 low traffic neighbourhoods by 2023, creating better streets for all and reducing carbon emissions;
- Investing £8million on further electrifying the council’s vehicle fleet and the supporting infrastructure, installing more than 150 on-street bike hangars, planting more than 400 trees and investing in recycling facilities on up to 30 of our estates;
- Continuing to operate the vital We Are Islington response line, assistance programme and food distribution efforts for those affected by the pandemic and most in need. The council stepped in to provide free school meal vouchers for eligible school children over the October half-term following the Government’s failure to back footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to fund them. Since its launch, We Are Islington has assisted almost 14,000 people and demand remains strong.
- Boosting our Resident Support Scheme. Already one of the most generous in the country, we will double its award values to help those affected by Covid-19 and Universal Credit, and are protecting other financial support for the most vulnerable, including our Council Tax Support Scheme which currently helps more than 26,000 households;
- Continued investment in prevention and early intervention programmes to support struggling families and divert vulnerable children and young people away from exploitation, crime and violence – bringing many long-term benefits. This includes protecting the extra £500,000 investment in targeted support to tackle serious youth violence, which we have committed to every year since 2016/17;
- Action to create jobs through innovative programmes that support local entrepreneurs, open up training and routes into employment in the borough, to create a truly inclusive economy. The council’s Islington Working partnership will continue to help at least 1,000 local people into work each year;
- Several community investment projects, including £1million earmarked for renewing Barnard Park, a £500,000 facelift for the King Square Shopping Area, and improvements to learning and play spaces at Ambler and Hugh Myddelton primary schools.