Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, has condemned the London Mayor’s plan to divert millions of pounds of riot compensation cash from Croydon’s victims of rioting in order to cover-up his planned cuts in policing.
On a visit to Croydon North ahead of tomorrow’s by-election, Cooper told Inside Croydon of the “heartbreaking story” she had heard of a couple that have waited in vain for government compensation after their London Road business was burnt down by rioters in August 2011.
Cooper was with Labour’s Croydon North candidate, Steve Reed, and spent nearly an hour at Croydon Voluntary Action in London Road, listening to the distressing stories of victims of the riots who have been neglected by their Conservative-controlled Town Hall and City Hall.
To date, the Hassans have yet to receive a penny in Riot Act compensation, which they were promised by representatives of Croydon Council, London Mayor Boris Johnson and senior government visitors.
Cooper said that the Hassans’ case showed that they were “not getting them the help they need to start again. It is deeply unfair on them, and it is bad for Croydon.”
Reed, who has inherited a 16,000 Labour majority from the late Malcolm Wicks, promised at the CVA meeting that, if elected, he would go armed with a dossier on businesses awaiting proper compensation and use his maiden speech in the House of Commons to talk of the lack of care for London Road. This would cause a stir in the House where maiden speeches are conventionally expected to be non-controversial.
Feelings of abandonment and betrayal are running high on London Road. One participant in the CVA briefing broke down in tears as she told Cooper the disbelief she felt on the evening of the riots that the police were unable to protect them against attempted arson by the mob.
Cooper felt that the assertion of Andy Stranack, the Conservative candidate, that 98 per cent of Riot Act claims had already been paid out was “a baffling figure”, entirely unsupported by what she had learned from business people around West Croydon.
The shadow Home Secretary condemned the proposed transfer of monies from the riot funds by Mayor Boris Johnson to fill what she called “the black hole” of cuts to policing as “a shocking thing” and showed how the Conservatives, in her mind, were “out of touch with what families and businesses have been through”.
Cooper said that she admired the “brilliant” way the West Croydon community had reacted in endeavouring to recover from the riots.
Click on any of the links below to read responses to questionnaires sent to candidates in the by-election:
- Ben Stevenson, Communist party
- Marisha Ray, Liberal Democrats
- John Loony, OMRLP
- Andy Stranack, Conservative
- Steve Reed, Labour
- Shasha Khan, Green
- Lee Jasper, Respect
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
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