VOTE 2014: The leader of Croydon’s Labour group, TONY NEWMAN, says that the time has come for a new council that no longer takes the borough’s people for granted
Croydon goes to the polls tomorrow. As the leader of the Croydon Labour group, it will come as no shock to hear I am asking for your support for all our candidates across the borough. However, this time, as well as the desire to see my party do well, this election is different, because Croydon stands at a crossroads, that will define our town’s future for generations to come.
I am proud that Labour is the only party that has published a manifesto Ambitious for Croydon and I am proud that Labour has given clear commitments to build much-needed affordable homes, support local jobs, tackle fly-tipping, support more neighbourhood police officers and freeze Council Tax until at least 2016.
Across Croydon during this election campaign, as I have listened to local people at numerous events, one thing has become clear: there is widespread disgust at the arrogant disregard that the current self-proclaimed “ruling” Tory council have for the people of our town.
Where else in the country would a council actively lobby to put an incinerator next to where hundreds of its own residents live, effectively making Croydon the dumping ground for all of south London’s waste for the next 30 years?
Where else would you find a council taking a decision to spend £140 million of our money on a new luxury council office, at exactly the same moment as the global recession impacted on the people of Croydon?
The decision to build those council offices then led to vital council services, such as weekly bin collections, school crossing patrols and libraries, being cut or sold off, as the bill to pay for the new offices, and the £4.5 million-worth of new furniture to kit out the building, came rolling in.
And where else would you find a council prepared to leave vast swathes of a town unswept, covered in fly-tipping and neglected, with more than 1,000 reported incidents of fly-tipping, yet only one prosecution in a whole year?
Labour is the only party actually standing on a detailed manifesto. It is entitled Ambitious for Croydon, and we are.
Our first job will be to clean our streets, end the fly-tipping epidemic that is gripping our town, collect the rubbish and then keep every street clean and safe.
Beyond that, the very future of Croydon for generations is at stake.
That is why Labour – unlike the Tories – is clear there must be affordable housing built, both to buy and rent. There must be investment across all of Croydon and not just the in the town centre, and we must restore some of the arts and youth provision so brutally cut under the Tory council.
In short, we must restore the heart and soul to our town. We must celebrate Croydon’s wonderful cultural diversity, bring back events like the community Mela celebration, and support our local markets and carnivals from New Addington to Purley, from Addiscombe to Upper Norwood.
The Tories’ contemptuous view of Croydon people is clear: they believe they can cut our vital services, such as bin collections or street cleaning, hike our Council Tax to record levels, and then just weeks before an election offer a so-called “rebate” off our already sky-high bills and we will all vote for them.
Tomorrow, let’s come together and show the Tories that Croydon is better than that. Let’s be Ambitious for Croydon. Let’s back Labour’s plans to ensure everyone in Croydon benefits from the future investment coming to our town and reject the Tories’ negative campaign that pedals lies and is based on fear.
- Tony Newman is the leader of the Labour group on Croydon Council and is standing for re-election as a councillor in Woodside ward
Inside Croydon’s recent coverage of the local elections:
- The party line: Greens
- The party line: UKIP
- The party line: LibDems
- The party line: TUSC
- The party line: Conservatives
- Policy analysis 1: The incinerator
- Policy analysis 2: Hammersfield
- Policy analysis 3: Crime
- Policy analysis 4: Housing
- Council CEO parrots Tory party line in official press releases
- Conservatives snub hustings as sham candidates exposed
- Council allowances and local politicians’ secret consensus
- The list of candidates for the May 22 local elections
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- Songs From The Ledge, Spread Eagle Theatre, May 23
- Greek Myths: stories and mask-making, May 27
- The Information Project Crystal Palace debate, May 28
- Howard Marks: Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe, May 29
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Tales from Ancient Greece, Upper Norwood Library, May 29
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, May 31
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Crystal Palace Transition Town annual meeting, June 11
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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