Having lived in Islington all of my life, I’ve always been aware that whilst significant wealth and opportunity exists in the borough, too many people are living in poverty. With a high cost of living and many low-paid, unstable jobs, our residents can be locked into a daily struggle to make ends meet. In my first days as leader I was clear that giving our residents a route out of poverty is one of my key priorities.
We should refuse to accept the inequalities that our economy has created, and must actively intervene to make a positive difference. This starts with well-paid jobs. That’s why I am so proud to have been recognised as the first London Living Wage Place in north London by the Living Wage Foundation, with plans to double the number of LLW employers by 2024. We also haven’t let the unprecedented challenges of Covid stop us, supporting 1,350 local residents into jobs during the first 15 months of the pandemic.
We have also been bold in ensuring that Council’s decisions and contracts always benefit our local communities by creating a Progressive Procurement Strategy, which is based on social value delivery. This means that if you want to work with Islington Council, you have to contribute to improving the lives of local people, by creating new apprenticeship and job opportunities or by sourcing goods and services from local suppliers, in turn helping more people into decent well paid jobs.
These are just some of the things that Islington Council, under my Leadership, is doing to support a sustainable recovery from the pandemic and tackle the borough’s long term challenge of economic inequality.
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz is Leader of Islington Council – 20.8.2021