Election questions: Steve Reed, Labour

The Croydon North by-election is on November 29, and Inside Croydon has put to candidates a set of questions. We will be putting the responses on the record, published without the artifice, interruptions and grandstanding of the usual hustings.

We hope that you will give all of these posts a read and compare the candidates’ answers on the issues that matter to you.

Steve Reed campaigning in Croydon North yesterday with Rachel Reeves MP, Ed Balls and a slightly overwhelmed little girl

Here are the answers from the Labour party’s candidate, Steve Reed.

What is your vision for Croydon?
As MP I would pursue “One Nation” policies so everybody has a stake in society and prosperity is fairly shared.

I’ll tackle the crisis of jobless young people by calling a jobs summit. It will bring together everyone who can make a positive contribution including businesses, skills providers like colleges and schools as well as faith and community groups.

I’ll fight to speed up compensation for small businesses hit by the riots. I’ll expose Conservative councillors accused of siphoning cash for richer parts of the borough. I’ll shame Croydon Council Conservatives to adopt the Living Wage of £8.25 an hour. They’ve no excuse for delay. I’ve done it as leader of Lambeth Council – and Lambeth’s Council Tax is lower than Croydon’s.

I will work to make Croydon a safer place by being tough on crime and the causes of crime. This is not the time for taking police off the streets or closing stations. I will campaign for schemes that keep young people off the streets and out of trouble.

Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you grew up and went to school and university, your work and family.
When I was growing up a Conservative government was making it tough for ordinary families – just like today. In the 1980s my dad lost his job when the printing plant where he worked closed down. Eventually we had to move away as he looked for work.

My parents believed in education and I was the first member of my family to go to university. My degree helped me get a job publishing educational books for children. I did that 20 years before becoming Leader of Lambeth Council. It’s those experiences that make me so passionate about jobs, housing and education today.

How did you become involved in politics? See previous question

What are your interests outside politics? Cycling, hiking, cooking.

Who would you describe as the biggest influences on your life and your political outlook? Unanswered.

What is your favourite part of Croydon? Unanswered.

What are you proudest achievements? A regeneration scheme that created 25,000 jobs, introducing the living wage with a Council Tax lower than Croydon, upgrading 15,000 substandard homes, opening six new schools and getting three leisure centres built.

Why is your party relevant to the people of Croydon North? Unanswered.

Do you support the incinerator? No, we don’t need it here.

What would you do to secure the extension of the tram to Crystal Palace? Unanswered.

Steve Reed has not been impressed by the state of Croydon’s streets

What do you think of the performance of the local council? Services are poor given the high Council Tax.

I’m appalled by the state of the streets with piles of rubbish wherever you go – I use Twitter to send off pictures whenever I see one and people send to me ones that they spot.

What could you do to deal with the huge shortage of school places in north Croydon? Demand that the Government end the neglect of North Croydon in education and other services

Is it a criticism of the Conservatives that London Road traders lack their Riot Act compensation? The buck stops there. I’ve spoken to more than 100 traders and they are angry that the cash they are entitled to isn’t getting through. It’s a scandal.

What would you do to save the Croydon Supplementary Education Project? I will campaign to get a Labour majority on Croydon Council so they can reverse these unfair Tory cuts.

Do ethnic minorities and faith groups face discrimination in Croydon? Unanswered.

Working the crowds: Steve Reed visited the BRIT School with David Miliband. Labour had opposed the establishment of the school when it was proposed more than 20 years ago

Do you agree with the Croydon Central MP that one hospital A&E should be removed from South London, namely St Helier’s A&E unit? No

What would you do to protect public services?

I will campaign for the kind of cooperative community based council approach that I have pioneered in Lambeth with considerable success.

Ed Miliband has spoken out for decent NHS care for mental health. Do you back such an aim? Very much so.

What is the solution to Croydon’s housing crisis? Invest in social enterprises to train and employ young people to bring empty and substandard homes back into use.

Should the term for abortion be shorter than 24 weeks? No.

Should we have a referendum on our membership of the EU? Unanswered.

Tony or Gordon? Both would be better than Cameron and Osborne.

Dougie Freedman or Ian Holloway? Unanswered.

Would you scrap Trident? Unanswered.

Who do you think will come second on Nov 29? Tories.

Do you feel that you are an outsider as a Lambeth politician? I live in Streatham which has many similarities to North Croydon. My home is nearer the constituency than either the Tory or LibDem candidates.

How would you categorise the differences between Croydon North and Lambeth? They are very similar. The policies I have pursued in Lambeth would have a big impact for the better.

What do you think about the UKIP candidate making gay marriage a by-election issue? Unanswered.

7pm UPDATE: Click here for more on this questionnaire

  • We’ll be posting questionnaires from other candidates over the coming days.
  • Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
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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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2 Responses to Election questions: Steve Reed, Labour

  1. If Mr Reed wants to invest in social enterprises to bring empty and substandard homes back into use, then he should be urging Lambeth Council to engage with the Super Co-op – rather than having his “co-operative council” chase housing co-ops through the courts and threaten to evict some of the borough’s longest term residents (of up to 40 years). That’s what has happened under his tenure as leader.

    With reference to his culinary past time and scenes from his kitchen (above), well, we love our kitchens too – some of us built them for homes that would not be standing if it were not for our efforts. Being threatened with eviction doesn’t do much for the appetite, nor for the bank balance. If Reed can only fund services through punishing long-established communities and purging them out of existence, what kind of precedent does that set?


  2. It’s a shame Mr Reed chose not to answer so many questions.
    It leaves the impression that he hasn’t done his constituency homework – or maybe that he’s over confident about being elected and thinks he doesn’t need to bother.
    I hope that’s not the case. If he is elected he will be following one of the good guys and he will need to come up to the high standards set by Malcolm.

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