CROYDON COMMENTARY: Three years after the London riots, with many small businesses still awaiting compensation, in response to our feature about the forgotten residents and businesses of West Croydon, ROD DAVIES argues that our borough council fails to properly serve local tradespeople
The problem with small businesses is that they lack the resources to be able to leave their businesses to attend meetings with council officers during office hours, unlike the “big players”, who have PR people and managers who can take a few hours out to sit in conferences and consultation sessions.
Small business people often lack the finesse to express themselves well, and for senior council officers to feel comfortable around them. Small business people often arrive angry because they’ve been ignored for years. The big company managers tend to be more middle class and better educated.
Nothing is new about the above. Small businesses create disproportionately higher numbers of jobs accessible to the socially marginal, and generally they plough their profits back into the local economy. Unlike their big company counterparts, they are far more likely to live close to their place of work. These small businesses tend to pay higher levels of tax in relation to their income because they cannot afford fancy accountants to find loopholes, and they certainly pay more overall into council coffers.
So why don’t councils get out there and engage with small businesses in deprived areas, support them and do everything they can to give them a fair voice?
The only answer of which I am aware is that councils are basically too lazy or too prejudiced. Small businesses compound this by not getting organised and not using their collective voice to demand better.
If Croydon wants to change, then this is an area that must change first to get balance in business representation and regeneration. We should also recognise that many if not most small businesses are not corner shops, but hard-working tradespeople.
- For Inside Croydon’s in-depth archive of coverage of the 8/8 riots, from the moment it began right through the enquiries and on-going aftermath, click here
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- £20 million: Croydon’s planned spend on consultants this year
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: The Wind Rises, Aug 14
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- RAF Kenley Battle of Britain fly-past, Aug 17
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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