The government yesterday announced a £1 billion jobs boost, claiming that “the Government’s Regional Growth Fund will help create and safeguard more than 200,000 jobs across England”. Everywhere, it seems, except Croydon.
Thus Croydon taxpayers are paying for other parts of England, including other parts of the south-east, to receive help to combat unemployment. Meanwhile in Croydon, 10,950 people are seeking work from the 1,205 job centre vacancies available.
It would seem that the Croydon MPs in the government need to spend more time lobbying their ministerial colleagues on behalf of their constituents, and less time honing their yachting skills.
We still await an announcement on the £10 million that’s supposed to be coming to Croydon to help businesses after the riots. The council says it has applied for the grant, but more than a week after we asked the council – including its £248,000 per year chief executive Jon Rouse – the simple questions of when this application was made and when the people of Croydon might expect an announcement of this largesse, answer there comes none.
Late on Monday, Rouse (“Proud to Serve”) actually replied to Inside Croydon‘s open letter to him about this grant. “We will get a reply to you in the next couple of days,” he said. Which seems a little odd if all he has been asked is to share with the people of Croydon the date when his council got round to formally submit the application for the grant.
The reason for questioning whether Croydon has even applied for this grant is that the owners of the Reeves furniture business, rendered a symbol of the riots’ mindless destruction when their century-old shop went up in flames on the night of 8/8, told the national inquiry that he had been informed by a government minister that the money had not even been applied for yet by Croydon Council. This account was confirmed by the owner of another significant local business.
Croydon Council had already turned down a huge tax break for local businesses by deciding that it was better to keep planning powers for local councillors rather than become a low-tax Enterprise Zone.
Back in May, Gavin Barwell, the Croydon Central MP, wrote about asking the Prime Minister a question in Parliament about bringing government jobs to Croydon.
Barwell said: “Having raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Question Time before Easter today I joined a delegation made up of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his officials (isn’t it great to have a Mayor of London who supports outer London in this way?), the Leader of Croydon Council Mike Fisher and the Council Chief Executive Jon Rouse to meet with Francis Maude, the Cabinet Minister in charge of making savings in government accommodation costs.”
Six months on, there have still been no announcements about jobs coming to Croydon, whether government ones or private ones supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
- Inside Croydon: brought to you free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
- That £10m grant: an open letter to Croydon CEO Jon Rouse (insidecroydon.com)
- Minister complains as council fails to claim £10m riot grant (insidecroydon.com)
- Council says it applied for riot aid, but refuses to say when (insidecroydon.com)
- Litter-picker Barwell now has a big mess to clear up (insidecroydon.com)