More co-operation with voluntary groups and residents, cleaner streets, more openness and transparency at the Town Hall. Councillor TONY NEWMAN outlines some of his Labour group’s proposals for 2014
In May, Croydon goes to the polls to elect a council administration to serve our town through to 2018. As the leader of the Labour opposition group at the Town Hall, I am acutely aware that winning that election is not enough. If we are to play our part in returning credibility to politics, both locally and nationally, then Croydon needs to become a beacon for a new politics.
Decisions regarding where to spend budgets that affect local communities need to be taken where possible by those local communities and local councillors working together, and those decisions that are taken in the Town Hall need to be open, transparent and accountable, unlike in recent years.
If Labour is elected, all Town Hall Council meetings will be webcast, the number of questions from members of the public to politicians will be increased and all papers will be online at least a week in advance of any planned meeting, discussion and decision.
It is simply not acceptable that £140million can be spent on a luxury new council office, with the financial details hidden – as we have seen under the current Conservative council – while our town is in the grip of a fly tipping epidemic, has too many dirty streets, a shortage of school places and an anti-social behaviour crisis caused in part by cuts to council services.
Croydon stands at a crossroads: the Conservatives, to be fair, have made their position in Croydon crystal clear. Youth services, the arts, neighbourhood enforcement officers, school crossing patrols and much more, have all been cut, with the Tories claiming they have no money.
All this as their council administration continues to spend our council taxes on itself, oblivious to the cost of living crisis in the real world: £140 million on those luxury council offices, plus £4.5million on furniture to kit it out, £20 million on highly paid consultants who have replaced the hundreds of staff sacked in recent years, and much more.
In tough financial times families are having to watch the bills and tighten their belts, and a Labour council, if elected next May, will ensure the Town Hall does so too.
Labour in Croydon has a different vision. That’s why our manifesto for this May’s election’s is entitled “Ambitious for Croydon”. We believe the council and the Town Hall should work closely with local businesses to bring much-needed jobs to Croydon, work with the voluntary sector and groups to deliver services more efficiently, and work with housing providers to ensure affordable homes for local people are built quickly and are available to buy or rent.
We also are clear that we will, if elected, serve all of Croydon.
It is simply not acceptable that much of north and central Croydon, under the Tories, have some of the dirtiest streets in London, with incidents of fly tipping at record levels and the Council not prosecuting anyone for this crime that is blighting so many communities. A Labour council will ensure all our streets are properly cleaned. Everyone in Croydon pays their Council Tax and everyone is right to expect a decent service.
Labour is ambitious for all of Croydon. That is why investing in our many district centres is as important for us as the welcome Westfield and Hammerson retail development we have worked so hard for in the Town Centre. We have many vibrant local communities and investing in them, ensuring clean and safe streets and ensuring more local decision-making is all part of Labour’s plans for a community-led regeneration of our borough, in partnership with the Town Hall.
There is much to be proud of in Croydon, with many, many people, communities, voluntary groups and others doing excellent work across our borough. And so many people want a council that backs Croydon, helps restore pride to local communities, listens to local people and, yes, cleans their streets properly. In short, they want a council on their side and ambitious for Croydon.
We can’t change the world at the local elections in May. But I believe passionately that we can make a start changing Croydon for the better, and that can happen if the Town Hall once again plays its part working with local communities, listening to local people and acting upon what they say.
Coming to Croydon
- STDLCC Screening: Wolf Children, Jan 6
- STDLCC Screening: Museum Hours, Jan 13
- “Croydon Communities Consortium” meeting, Jan 14
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Jan 16
- STDLCC Screening: The East, Jan 20
- STDLCC Screening: Winter Nomads, Jan 27
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Purley Swimathon: Feb 8 and 13
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 516,649 page views (Jan-Dec 2013)
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