A community activist, Bushra Ahmed, herself one of the victims of the 2011 Croydon riots, has discovered that after three years, Croydon’s Conservative-run council had managed to spend less than £4 million of the £23 million Riot Recovery Fund promised by the Mayor of London.
“The money has been sitting in the bank instead of being used to help businesses and residents who were hardest hit by the riots on London Road,” Ahmed told Inside Croydon.
“Worse still, the unused cash – nearly £20 million of it – was almost on the verge of being taken back by the Greater London Authority.”
This discovery of Croydon Tories’ apparently deliberate neglect of those parts of the borough worst-hit by the rioting here on August 8, 2011, is backed up by an official London Assembly report, published this morning, which shows that less than one-fifth of the Mayor’s overall £70 million fund has been put to good use across the capital.
And just as Inside Croydon has reported in the past, the report found that some of the riot-recovery fund has been deliberately misused – to revamp transport links and public spaces – rather than help people directly affected by riots.
The London Assembly claims just £11.4 million of the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund (MRF) has been awarded to projects around London. Gareth Bacon, the chairman of the London Assembly’s regeneration committee, said: “The 2011 riots left many already deprived areas of London facing even bigger economic hurdles and challenges after such wanton destruction.
“These projects must be delivered in a timely and effective manner, so Londoners who have experienced long-term decay in their communities can live in a safe environment, with access to jobs and economic growth.”
The office of London Mayor Boris Johnson told the BBC that of the fund, more than £45million had been committed, with the vast majority of the outstanding funding set to be issued by end of this financial year.
Before the change in political administration in Croydon at the local elections in May, nearly £20 million of unallocated funds was about to be returned to City Hall, unused.
What money that had been spent had been used in areas of the borough less affected by rioting or arson, such as Tory wards Croham and Fairfield. Fairfield is the ward of Vidhi Mohan, the Conservative cabinet member responsible for regeneration.
Since Labour took over at Croydon Town Hall, they have acted promptly to earmark the unspent aid fund, much of it now directed to projects to assist small businesses which were genuinely affected by the riots.
“We have seen no change since the riots in the worst affected area of Croydon, London Road,” Ahmed said.
“I am hopeful that the money is now being allocated and promised public realm and shop front work should start this month. The Labour administration has achieved in two months what the incompetent Croydon Conservatives failed to do in two years.”
- Councils too lazy and prejudiced to help small businesses
- The festering scandal of how London Road has been forgotten
- Local Tories celebrate crime stats – in a week of five stabbings
- MP Reed condemns “disgraceful” failures over riot pay-outs
- Riot money splurged to celebrate the Bridge to Nowhere
- The riots, an assertion of power and our self-serving council
Coming to Croydon
- Mind-Loosing Workshop, Aug 16
- David Lean Cinema: The Love Punch, Aug 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Aug 16
- RAF Kenley Battle of Britain fly-past, Aug 17
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Two Faces of January, Sep 4
- David Lean Cinema: Fading Giglolo, Sep 6
- David Lean Cinema: Camille Claudel, Sep 11
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- David Lean Cinema: Chef, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- David Lean Cinema: A Night At The Cinema in 1914, Sep 22
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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