‘Lost Londoners’ census can’t be counted on

Town Hall campaigns for recount, amid fears borough may lose out on funding

Friday, 5th August — By George Hayes

Kaya Comer- Schwartz

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz: ‘Islington can ill afford to lose millions of pounds badly needed for public services for local people’

VITAL Islington services, such as GPs, may lose millions in funding after the 2021 population census omitted 30,000 people in the borough, the Town Hall has warned.

Islington Council joined Camden and Westminster Councils in campaigning for a recount and said government figures did not account for an estimated 100,000 Londoners who had left the city during the UK’s third lockdown.

They are calling for a “Lost Londoners Count” to reflect real local population sizes upon which each area’s level of funding is determined. The lower the estimated population, the less funding essential services such as transport links and community projects will receive.

This comes amid a cost-of-living crisis with soaring food, rent and gas costs already putting the strain on public services.

Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, leader of Islington Council, said: “Islington can ill afford to lose millions of pounds badly needed for public services for local people, especially after the effects of many years of Government cuts.”

The 2021 census recorded 216,000 people living in Islington, approximately 30,000 fewer than expected by Islington Council.

Students who would have been in London but were at home or abroad, people who temporarily left London to live elsewhere and second home owners were among those omitted.

Cllr Comer-Schwartz said Islington Council is concerned census data does not show the full picture because the count took place when people’s lives and living patterns were atypical, with scores outside the city.

The census count for Islington is 13 per cent lower than Office for National Statistics mid-year estimates for 2020 and 11 per cent lower than Greater London Authority estimates for 2021.

Cllr Comer-Schwartz said: “As we work to create a more equal Islington, it’s vital we have the funding local people deserve for strong public services.”

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