Camden Lib Dems Submit Budget Amendment

4 Mar 2024
lib dem council group camden

Camden Liberal Democrats’ Amendments to the 2024/25 Council budget focused on the two biggest challenges facing the borough – tackling climate change and ensuring everyone in the borough has a safe and warm home.

Tackling Climate Change

Speaking in the Town Hall Budget Debate, Cllr Tom Simon, the leader of the Lib Dems on Camden Council, said “We’re urging the council to take radical action to reduce the carbon footprint of its own buildings, and use the funds it would save to make over 600 council homes  free of damp and mould, less expensive to heat, and more carbon efficient.

Deputy Leader of the Group Nancy Jirira added, “Camden Council is letting its tenants down. In 2021 the Housing Ombudsman found Camden to be the third worst social landlord in the country for tackling damp and mould, and three years on, I still see too many people living in really bad conditions.”

Supporting people off the streets

Tom also said “Our other major investment is to fund additional council staff to keep people from becoming homeless, and to support them off the streets if they are sleeping rough. The latest figures show that Camden had the largest increase in the number of people sleeping rough of any borough in the country. And no-one can forget the shameful debacle of Council officers joining police in forcibly removing rough sleepers from Huntley Street last year.”

“Every child a musician”

Belsize councillor Matthew Kirk focused on the proposal to fund music in schools by introducing the “Every child a musician” programme, as pioneered by Newham Council. He said “The creative industries are one of Camden’s strengths – giving both joy and good jobs in our area. We want to introduce this programme so that, eventually, every Camden child can learn to play a musical instrument, no matter what their family’s income.”

The Lib Dem Budget Amendment also had two specific changes that reflect residents’ concerns about traffic and the environment:

  • Restoring Visitor Scratch Card permits. Cllr Judy Dixey, who is the Council’s Champion for those with visual impairments, said “Labour Camden’s recent decision to scrap visitor parking scratch cards is a mean and inequitable measure. The expense of keeping them barely scratches the surface of Council expenditure. People who are challenged by the rush to digital – the vulnerable, who are reliant on visitors such as carers, tradespeople, friends, family; are being condemned to further isolation. The Lib Dems would restore visitor parking scratch cards for all who still use them.
  • Keeping Camden’s Streets clean. Cllr Linda Chung spoke about the importance of communicating with residents about waste and recycling. She said “The Council needs to do more to help residents and businesses do the right thing – that’s why the Lib Dems have found funding for four more Education and Enforcement officers to work with us to keep our streets clean”.

Budget Savings

These investments will be funded by

1) Selling the Crowndale Centre, which costs the council net £1.1m/year to run, and which is under-used. This would generate £20m in capital. The library in the building would be re-provided, and £5m of the sale proceeds and £480,000 of the revenue would be set aside to cover its running costs. The remaining £15m would be used to fund the retrofit of 600 council homes.

2) Renting out two floors of the main floors of the Council’s offices at 5 Pancras Square from October, raising £1.240m in 2024/25.  This space is currently under-used, as a result of staff increasingly working from home since the pandemic.  

The full text of the Liberal Democrats 2024/25 Budget Amendment can be downloaded HERE.