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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 12 June 2008
Have your say on the rise in costs for vital services

• OVER recent weeks residents in my ward refurbishing their homes have complained to me about the unfair hike in council charges for hiring parking spaces for builders from £10 to £33 a day.
I am currently asking the council just how they can justify this massive increase.
The current line from Camden’s press office is that parking charges in Camden are “fair”. This is patently not so.
The issue of how much Camden charges people with its extra fees and charges for its services is becoming a real issue.
Here and there, Camden has raised “stealth” charges over the past two years for a range of services, hitting many low and middle-income people.
Like other services, unexpected hikes will mean that fewer people use services, giving the Town Hall justification to close them down or merge them under the banner of “efficiency” – a false economy in my book.
Fees for play and after-school clubs – vital for so many parents – have gone up by more than inflation, and meals-on-wheels for seniors famously went up by almost £250 a year for a couple regularly using the service.
In a more macabre fee rise, the cost of burying your child has gone up by more than 20 per cent.
Today councils raise money through both council tax and fees/charges – it will be interesting to see just how much the latter has gone up in recent years.
One of my first priorities as the incoming opposition chair of the council’s resources committee is to have a root-and-branch review of the council’s fees and charges since 2006.
If any of your readers have concerns about how much extra they are paying for the council services they need please contact me at the Town Hall.
Cllr Theo Blackwell
Opposition chair, Finance and Corporate Performance Committee
Labour, Regent’s Park ward

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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