Minister complains as council fails to claim £10m riot grant

The fire at Reeves Corner, witnessed by television viewers around the world in August. Nearly three months later, and Croydon Council has yet to apply for government recovery grants

Croydon’s recovery from the devastating 8/8 riots has been held back by Croydon Council failing to apply for millions of pounds in government grants.

That is the shocking revelation given by the Reeves family at the national inquiry into the riots when it held a meeting in Croydon. The conflagration at Reeves Corner and the family’s “Blitz spirit” determination to continue their business in buildings opposite the site captured the public’s imagination and sympathy across the nation in the weeks after the riots.

Yet an apparent reluctance by the council to apply for even a modest £10 million fund from the government is hampering the recovery effort throughout the borough.

Another leading Croydon business – which does not wish to be named for fear of retribution from the Conservative-controlled council – claims that Grant Shapps, the Communities and Local Government minister, has even complained about Croydon Council’s slothful approach to claiming this “emergency” funding on behalf of local people affected in the riots.

Croydon's Mike Fisher: not showing much leadership when it comes to claiming millions available to rebuild the borough's burnt out businesses

This latest demonstration of a perverse attitude to claiming what Croydon is entitled comes soon after the Mike Fisher-led council snubbed the opportunity for parts of the borough to be designated an Enterprise Zone, with tax breaks to attract businesses and extra jobs potentially worth another £50 million locally. It is little wonder that government ministers are beginning to express their frustrations with Croydon Council.

A spokesman for Croydon Council told Inside Croydon: “I’m not aware that we’ve not applied for the money.”

Yet there remain Croydon traders in the area worst hit by looters and arsonists who say they have yet to receive a penny in relief from the council or other sources to get their businesses back on their feet. The slow progress being made on getting the money to boost Croydon’s damaged economy is betrayed in an answer to a written question at last week’s council meeting: “The Council have met with the Mayor’s Office and the GLA to discuss the funding which will be made available to the borough to assist with recovery and economic development ambitions.”

A bit less discussion and rather more speedy action is what the people of Croydon need to get its recovery underway.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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