North London press weekend round-up


This week has seen local stories on strikes, corruption, insults, development and air pollution. Let’s take a look.


In the Barnet Times there’s the shocking story of the Barnet Mayor who’s accused of receiving more than £28,000 from the housing fund without ever declaring an interest while making decisions on how that fund is spent.

Under-fire Barnet Mayor Hugh Rayner has received more than £28,000 in housing benefits from tenants, it was claimed today…

The Hale ward councillor owns 15 properties in the Colindale area with his wife, Susan, and four more through his company, S&H Housing Limited.

He has never declared an interest relating to his role as a landlord, despite chairing meetings discussing major changes to private landlords’ payments and financial incentives for those taking on social tenants.


As you might expect several papers have covered Thursday’s strike action (as did we). Barnet Today quotes one striker;

Social worker Nicky Mahn, who joined protests outside NLBP, said she had grown tired of watching her wages sink while her workload continues to grow.

“We haven’t had a pay rise for four years and we are expected to do a lot more for that” she told The Press. “Posts that are vacated often don’t get filled so the work falls back onto the staff that remain.

“Social work is a really worthwhile job because you are looking after society’s most vulnerable people and it carries a lot of responsibilities. I think wages should reflect that.”


The Camden New Journal is star struck by TUC supremo Francis O’Grady’s appearance on local picket lines;

The TUC said Ms O’Grady has singled out Camden because of its strong unions and the large number of women expected to join the protest by council workers, teachers and civil servants.

She said: “Across the public sector workers are on strike today to say enough is enough. Year after year pay has failed to keep up with the cost of living. Public sector workers are on average more than £2,000 worse off under this government.

“Nearly half a million local government workers earn less than the living wage. But even as the economy starts to grow, ministers have told them that the pay cap will last until at least 2018. That is why the strikers deserve public support.”


The Ham and High claims two thirds of Camden’s schools were closed down;

Camden UNISON secretary George Binette said: “This strike isn’t just about our local government pay claim.

“This day of action is a more generalised protest against austerity, a regime of cuts and still more privatisation of public services.

“In Camden, we appear to be faced with demands for a further £70 million in council-wide cuts over the next four or so years.

“These would inevitably mean hundreds of job losses and the prospect of still more drastic cuts to services.”


In the Haringey Independent, one local resident is up in arms after one council official described her area as a “warzone”.

Sharon Grant… has said that the rumours are “toxic”, and that the council must either offer “clarification or an apology”.

Ms Grant, the chairman of Haringey Citizens’ Advice Bureau, criticised councillors for not speaking publicly about the allegations.

“I don’t think it’s very helpful for people to close ranks. Someone’s made a mistake, and we need clarification on what has happened.”


The Islington Tribune sees all round good egg Jeremy Corbyn MP denounce dangerous rent rises;

Mr Corbyn said he was “horrified” by the “disruption and despair” caused to families forced to move out of the borough when reduced benefits didn’t match increased rents. “I know of families who have lived in Islington for generations who have to move out to Enfield or Croydon where rents are cheaper.

“Imagine what it’s like for the children who understandably want to remain at their Islington school where they have friends and support and now must travel long distances to get there.

“Ask any headteacher in the borough and they will tell you about kids who have horrendous journeys to keep their place at their school just to be part of a community they have grown up with.”


The Enfield Independent reports that some local traders are concerned about efforts to promote cycling in the borough.

Adrian Lauchlan, a Southgate Cycling Club member and borough co-ordinator for the London Cycling Campaign in Enfield, is championing the scheme…. He said: “People panicked when they announced they could remove the parking spaces. But we want to show – we’re here to buy things. We spend money too.

“Cyclists aren’t just lycra-clad people going out on their bikes just for a bike ride – we want to show them that we actually will be cycling to the shops of these plans go ahead.”

Claire Rogers, of Devonshire Road, encourages her ten-year-old daughter Zoe and seven-year-old daughter Ffion to cycle at least once a week to school. But Zoe is often too afraid to use the road so insists on cycling on the pavements instead.

Mrs Rogers, 42, said: “Safety measures would help her get over her fear. She wouldn’t have to worry about speeding cars coming from every direction – it’s a no brainer. We would still spend as much money as people who come by car do. It makes so much sense to me.” …

David Hughes, 77, of Conway Road, said: “Anything that improves the environment is worth it. This would stop people from using their cars and help keep the roads a little bit greener.”


The Evening Standard reports on the ever growing crisis in air pollution across the city. Don’t let these numbers pass you by, think about what they mean for a moment;

Revised Government projections show nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in London are set to stay above EU limits until at least 2030. Thousands are estimated to be dying prematurely each year due to dirty air, especially NO2 and particulates.


And finally, for some lighter relief, there’s a new mural in Walthamstow depicting its industrial heritage;

“I love the mural and I hope it puts a smile on people’s faces.

“So many hard working people live in E17, I hope they realise this is a salute to them and their fore bearers.

“Walthamstow people are the salt of the earth; they deserve recognition as they keep London running.”

One Response to North London press weekend round-up

  1. “Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This scheme is supported by the locally determined development plan for the area and has received strong local support.”

    Haringey blogger, Martin Ball writes:

    “We know David Lammy isn’t an honest broker and impartial in the decisions being made about the developments along the Tottenham High Road. We know he favours the Spurs plan and is on record as saying he wants the stadium built as soon as possible.

    He is a cheerleader for the bulldozers set to create that fans’ walkway, and has tweeted a photograph of the progress with the redevelopment of the area taken from a window in the club’s boardroom.”