Croydon risked handing back £20m unspent riot recovery cash

Funds first announced to help the victims of riots on London Road have been delayed and diverted

Funds first announced to help the victims of riots on London Road have been delayed and diverted

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.

Bushra Ahmed: her FOI enquiry showed Croydon had only spent £4m of its £23m riot recovery money

Bushra Ahmed: her FOI enquiry showed Croydon had only spent £4m of its £23m riot recovery money

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.

The Conservatives in Croydon have since selected Mohan as their parliamentary candidate for riot-hit Croydon North in next May’s General Election.

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.”



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Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2015 General Election, 8/8: London Road stories, Broad Green, Business, Crime, Croydon 8/8, Fairfield, London Road Traders Association, Vidhi Mohan and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Croydon risked handing back £20m unspent riot recovery cash

  1. Utter nonsense. There were legal issues to be resolved and (Bushra knows this) and the Tory administration who approved and started the spending. It is perfect timing for Labour to claim credit.

    I hope the Tory councillors will come out and defend their actions, otherwise they will be seen as being economical with the truth. I hope some one could put the record straight.

    If I lose my job, the council is not going to pay mortgage. Why should tax-payers foot the bill for greedy business people?

    Whatever it is I don’t want tax-payers money to be wasted.

    Like

    • Oh Patrick… There is a law – passed by parliament – which provides for those affected by arson, looting and rioting, at times when the police fails to do its fundamental duty to unphold the rule of law and protect them and their property, to be compensated. They are entirely right to claim that compensation, and that compensation ought to have been settled before the end of 2011, not still outstanding as it is in many cases in 2014.

      Like

  2. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    Some areas have still not been touched – wots going on.

    Like

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