RONAN BENNETT is wrong to say that Islington's residents faced betrayal by the council at the budget meeting two weeks ago ("Chic by jowl", Review, 7 March). True, Islington implemented an early-Eighties agenda in the early Nineties and it led to a decline in service quality and Labour alienating its own supporters. Our financial management was poor and the most vulnerable suffered. It really would have been a betrayal had Labour not resolved to change. Today's Labour has taken ownership of the issues that concern the electorate. We have reduced the council tax burden. We are getting on with housing repairs. And, where appropriate, we open up services to competition to get better value for taxpayers' money.
The council spent five months consulting with the people on its budget, which is why we are investing more in services that benefit the poorest in our community. This year's budget has increased spending on schools by 4 per cent; Labour is investing pounds 30m more in housing, pounds 250,000 extra for cleaner streets, and millions of pounds are going into urban regeneration.
Leader of Islington Council