So much for the “political pull” of Croydon’s two Conservative MPs, Gavin “As Seen on TV” Barwell and Cap’n Richard Ottaway, and their colleagues on the council and at City Hall.
Because for the second time in six months, Croydon has been snubbed when it comes to being granted Enterprise Zone status.
Local politicians of all party hues are in agreement that Croydon desperately needs the business stimulus which EZ status would offer, more so than ever after last week’s horrendous destruction in the riots.
But after London Mayor Boris Johnson dropped some teasing hints before the Budget in the spring, and the encouraging noises made by BoJo and his Old Etonian chum, Dave “Hug a Hoodie” Cameron when they visited the borough last week, Croydon is again left to its own devices.
The ConDem government named the first 11 zones in the spring, in cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle and this morning announced a further 11 dotted around England.
The plan is to create 30,000 jobs by 2015 in hi-tech industries in the Zones, which benefit from £150 million in tax breaks, high-speed internet links, lower levels of planning control and the potential to use enhanced capital allowances.
It is as yet unclear what the reasoning might be behind the choices – perhaps Croydon, and south London, is regarded as electorally safe by the government for local Conservatives ahead of future elections, including next May’s Mayoral vote? Being overlooked for a second time may also be an indicator of what chances the council’s ill-conceived, grandiose plans for “city” status really have.
What we do know is that Croydon is left to re-build its business sector on its own, trying to convince major businesses to move to the borough or, in the case of Nestle, not to leave it.
And everyone agrees that after last week’s riots, that is going to be more difficult than ever.
- Crisis? What Crisis? Ottaway’s getaway on his yacht (insidecroydon.com)
- Who decided Croydon should be an Olympics-free zone? (insidecroydon.com)
- Croydon was vulnerable after being short-changed for decades (insidecroydon.com)