Croydon’s Conservative-run council has already been described as cynical, callous and calculating, and with some justification. Now, headed by Mike Fisher, the elusive leader of the Tory group on the council, they have added “condemned” and “incompetent” to their growing charge list, after they failed to show up for a jobs fair organised by the local MP.
Steve Reed OBE, the Labour MP for Croydon North, staged the borough’s first jobs fare at Croydon College on Friday.
It was attended by more than 150 young residents, all eager to find work, and was supported by a range of high-profile and respected businesses and organisations, including Transport for London, Premier Inns, Direct Line, AIG, The Prince’s Trust and even the British Army.
But Croydon Council and Fisher went AWOL.
The council leader didn’t even go to the trouble of turning up for a “summit” with local business groups during the day.
“They booked a stand but didn’t come to the jobs fair,” Reed told Inside Croydon. “Fisher confirmed for the policy summit but was also a no-show.”
Reed said that the council’s failure to turn up raised “questions about their commitment to tackling unemployment”.
Reed claimed the event had otherwise been a huge success. “We had more than 20 employers talking to over 150 unemployed young people about job and training opportunities. Many employers told me they had arranged interviews and I will be in touch with the young people to find out how many of them secure jobs as a result of this.
“We simply can’t allow high levels of unemployment to continue blighting lives in Croydon,” Reed said. Researchers from a national think-tank attended the jobs summit and will deliver a report within weeks, outlining what Reed hopes will include some important recommendations for tackling youth unemployment in the area.
There are many at Croydon Town Hall, even including some within his own Tory group, who believe time is overdue for Shirley councillor Fisher to endure a spell of joblessness, at least as far as his position at the council is concerned.
On Fisher’s watch as council leader, major employers including Bank of America and Nestle have moved away from the borough, while long-term businesses, such as Allders, have gone bust for lack of help from the council.
“Our MP Steve Reed deserves credit for his work in making the job fair happen,” said Tony Newman, the leader of the Labour group on the council.
“And Croydon’s Tory council must stand forever condemned for their failure to turn up,” Newman said.
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- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source that is actually based in the heart of the borough – averaging 44,000 page views per month, Jan-Jun 2013
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