CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Press scrutiny is so important

31 August, 2017

• NEVER has it been so important that we have a local press (Town Halls urged to stop trying to compete with the local press, August 24).

In the past few weeks we have learned from them, especially the New Journal, about the £2.5million compensation paid to a contractor for “irregularities” (Town Hall’s secret £2.5 million contract bungle, July 27). We are yet to learn what all this is about.

Next up is about Councillor Abdul Hai’s new job with Camden Lock which does not, we are assured, “break any rules” (Town Hall chief takes top job with company behind Camden market overhaul, August 17).

We also heard about the Globe Tennis Club in Belsize which will seemingly lose most of its funding if Camden will not grant it a three-year lease (Out! Fears that Globe tennis club will lose home, July 27). This is despite the fact that the club has an extensive outreach programme.

Most importantly of all is the Chalcots. Nearly two months ago the leader of the council promised a full, independent inquiry and “transparency” (latest news: Former staff fear cost of speaking out to Chalcots investigation, August 31).

So far we have seen no draft terms of reference, no indication of who will be leading it, and no assurance that it will be held in public. The self-congratulatory article in the latest edition of the Camden magazine made scant reference to any inquiry and failed to mention the chaos of the evacuation itself.

As with the £2.5million, is this also to be swept under the carpet? It would seem that we cannot rely on scrutiny committees or backbench Labour councillors who do not seem to ask the relevant questions even when asked to do so by residents. Residents increasingly make use of social media sites such as reclaimqueenscres to provide information.

Perhaps things will change now that the two most powerful members of the cabinet have resigned. Camden New Journal we need you more than ever.

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