Union calls on underpaid public service workers to #BinBarwell

After seven years of Tory-led government, real-terms wage cuts to public sector workers – nurses, teaching assistants and council employees among them – should translate into a ballot box backlash on June 8, with Croydon Central’s Conservative MP Gavin Barwell among the most vulnerable to losing their seats, according to research conducted by one of the country’s largest trades unions.

‘How much are we paying him?’ Theresa Mayhem on one of her customary ‘public’ engagements

The GMB union reckons that there could be as many as 12,800 public service workers living in Barwell’s constituency, and if they were all to turn out to vote, they could help to overturn the career politicians slender 165-vote majority from the last General Election.

“Enough is enough,” Tim Roache, the GMB’s general secretary, said this week. “Public sector workers keep the country going and they urgently need real pay rises.

“We’re putting Conservative MPs on notice – if they don’t deliver for their public sector constituents, then they could be out of the door.”

Barwell is fifth on the GMB union hit list of Tory MPs who it says could be unseated on June 8 if public sector workers all turn ut and vote in a concerted manner. Continue reading

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Wandle Rain Garden, South Mitcham community centre, May 15

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Scully and Sutton Tories sent scrambling over St Helier plans

JAMES KILLDARE, our health correspondent (recently successfully put out to tender), reports on a growing row in Sutton over the Conservatives’ opaque plans for one of the area’s largest NHS hospitals

St Helier Hospital: under threat, but still hitting its A&E targets

It started so casually, with Sutton’s two MPs together in a television studio. The Tories in Sutton had been having such a good time in the previous three weeks at the expense of the FibDems who run the local council, and who – together with waste contractors Veolia – had made such a mess of the borough’s streets through what has become known by the hashtag #SuttonBinShame. And all just in time for an election campaign, too!

But then Paul Scully, the Conservative who has been MP for Sutton and Cheam since 2015, made a throwaway comment on the BBC’s Sunday Politics regional slot about how he wanted to spend £75million on a “new hospital facility” in the borough.

It took a few days, but the penny dropped with local politicians and campaign groups this week: wouldn’t having a “new hospital facility” as Scully suggests also require the closure of St Helier Hospital, with its A&E department and maternity wards?

After all, under Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the government has worked up what they like to call a “consultant-led” report (as if any medical professional working within the NHS is seriously in favour of providing less rather than more health services), which recommends the closure of at least one, if not two, hospitals within the St Helier and Epsom grouping.

And what, campaigners began to ask, would £75million actually manage to pay for in terms of health provision, when some modern NHS hospitals with a full range of acute services have been built for five or six times as much? In Croydon, the Mayday’s new A&E department alone is costing close to £20million. Continue reading

Posted in 2017 General Election, 2018 council elections, Cameron Penny, Health, Paul Scully MP, Ruth Dombey, St Helier Hospital, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spread Eagle launches the first Croydon Cabaret Festival

One of the acts at the Croydon Cabaret Festival: Eva Von Schnippisch

The Spread Eagle Theatre, the intimate space above one of the town centre’s most popular pubs, is staging the first Croydon Cabaret Festival over the next four weeks.

Starting next Friday with Cat Loud, there will be more than a dozen performances, sometimes two a night, from among the best cabaret acts in the country in the Grade II-listed pub on Katharine Street.

The theatre provides the perfect atmosphere for cabaret, comedy and music alike.

Offering a blend of music, comedy, circus, drag and burlesque, the Croydon Cabaret Festival at the Spread Eagle hopes to provide a chance to discover some of the newest and most daring theatre that is out there, as some of the performers try out their latest routines before this summer’s tours. Continue reading

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There’ll be Pirates coming to Wandle Park this summer

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Tories agree: Labour’s Fairfield deal looking good for Croydon

WALTER CRONXITE on an outbreak of consensus and agreement for the future of the borough

Tory councillors’ “opposition for opposition’s sake” approach to the £30million refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls crumbled amid commonsense, the best interests of the borough and what’s beginning to appear to be a viable solution for the future of Croydon’s world-renowned arts venue.

How the redeveloped Fairfield Halls and College Green are supposed to look

A two-and-a-half hour council scrutiny meeting this week to look into the appointment of BHLive as the new operators of the Fairfield Halls concluded with Councillor Mario Creatura, the orchestrator of so much of the Croydon Conservatives’ campaigns, proposing that no further action was necessary.

The decision to appoint BHLive for a concessions agreement which could be worth up to £180million over a 15-year term agreement had been called in to the scrutiny committee by Croydon Conservatives, potentially risking delays in the process.

“As Mario was the one to propose no further action was necessary, this implies their acceptance that the decision was correct,” Sean Fitzsimons, the Labour councillor who chairs the scrutiny committee, told Inside Croydon.

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Posted in Art, Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon Council, Fairfield Halls, Helen Pollard, Mario Creatura, Sara Bashford, Sean Fitzsimons, Theatre | Leave a comment

Negrini’s ‘absurd’ response over planning conflicts of interest

BARRATT HOLMES reports on how the council CEO is trying to pretend that £250m-worth of planning applications from the council’s own housing company have anything to do with the council’s cabinet member for housing, whose husband also just happens to be the chair of the planning committee

There’s growing doubt that the favourite book of Jo Negrini is Nineteen Eighty-Four, after the council’s chief executive exhibited a most worrying ability to inhabit the world of Alice in Wonderland.

Block by Block: Croydon Council CEO Jo Negrini

After indulging in some random word-banning at a council meeting this week, it has now emerged that Negrini is also prone to flights of entire fantasy, where her reality is different from everyone else’s.

Last week, in response to a complaint about the problems within the council’s planning processes as it deals – perhaps too favourably – with applications from its own house-building firm, Brick by Brick, Negrini wrote that, “I am not satisfied that the mere fact that Councillor Butler is the lead cabinet member [for housing] would constitute a conflict of interest.”

This was in reply to Chris Philp, until yesterday the Conservative MP for Croydon South, who had questioned the inappropriateness of the council’s arrangements around Brick by Brick, where Alison Butler is the cabinet member responsible for delivering housing, and Paul Scott, Butler’s husband, is the chair of the council planning committee which is ruling on those housing applications.

Philp has described Negrini’s response as “absurd”. Continue reading

Posted in Alison Butler, Brick by Brick, Chris Philp MP, Colm Lacey, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Housing, Jo Negrini, Paul Scott, Planning, Purley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments