CROYDON COMMENTARY: Residents, such as New Addington’s SCOTT AINSWORTH-PAYNE (pictured right), have been shocked at some of the revelations coming out of the council over the last couple of weeks
I am flabbergasted by the state of things.
Croydon contains some of the most deprived areas in London which rely heavily on services the council provides.
It is deeply concerning and personally I feel betrayed by those who we elected to steer the council in the right direction.
I voted for Labour at the local elections as I wanted to support a party that’s main goals are to support the vulnerable, bring about social justice and to fund our much-needed essential services. But the opposite has happened and already I am seeing council services, vital services, cut back to balance the books.
Yes, the effect of austerity cannot be minimised, but the commercial property investments that have been made by the council should never have been allowed to happen. How come seemingly no other council in London, let alone the rest of the country, is in this situation?
One of the biggest casualties of this crisis is trust.
Very few people trust the council now. The council has minimised the importance of this crisis right up until the point where some of the leaders jumped ship.
It is refreshing to see Hamida Ali, the new leader of the council, be candid with the situation and take responsibility for it. However, trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy.
Every criticism given to the previous administration was dismissed and chastised. The tireless reporting from Inside Croydon which was treated as “fake news” by the council’s leadership, yet a great deal of it has come true….
Perhaps instead of dismissing criticism, council leaders should have embraced it and learnt from it. Watching council webcasts of Conservative councillors being shouted at by senior members of the Labour administration was just a disgrace to democracy. We all should be promoting collaboration, not confrontation.
Even outside of the financial mess, we have Brick by Brick, who are one of the most unaccountable organisations in existence. They lie to get what they want (I can prove this) and they have no interest in working with communities to build much-needed housing.
Apart from a select group of councillors and dedicated council workers, I have lost all faith in the council and need to see a real turn around in things before the next elections. And that isn’t just me, as a representative of my area through NARA: residents feel massive distrust of their council, they are disgusted, horrified and scared of the future. They rightfully want a change in management and we will all be looking at other options in the future.
If I could make one suggestion to help the council regain some trust, it would be to get out there and speak to residents, hold Zoom calls like they do in the United States, where members of the public can hold institutions to account.
They should actually speak to us, ask us what we think and what they can do to help us.
No more stonewalling, no more sticking heads in the sand.
Stop treating us like serfs who are stupid and won’t understand what is going on.
Again, thank god for Inside Croydon, who seem to be our only window into the inner runnings of the council.
Hands up councillors: “We” made a mistake, “We” want to make up for it.
- Scott Ainsworth-Payne is the chair of the New Addington Residents’ Association, but has written this in a personal capacity. He certainly was not asked to make the references to this website that are included in his Commentary
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Very very valid. It is interesting how rapidly the new labour administration is seeking to distance itself from the previous administration. Two things will emerge over the coming months (1) The new administration will want to get every skeleton out of the wardrobe and in the public gaze so that there are no new skeletons during the elections. (2) We get to see if there is any real accountability – will anyone be locked up for these behaviours.
Good article! One must remember this started back with the Tories and carried on with Labour so both are accountable over time. If things were that bad the Tories should have pushed back with conviction. That said directors saying sorry is commendable and accepted but you have lost our trust, own it and therefore you should walk. The fact that recent recommendations call for training needs for directors and Cllrs speaks volumes of incompetence and lack of understanding, lets call it the basics when at that level. The fact that the public interest report offered recommendations for the 151 officer were huge, screams of incompetence. Lets stop there shall we. Love you!
I couldn’t agree more. Croydon has some of most deprived areas in London and its needs have always been known and the ability to deliver on these needs should have shaped every decision the council made.
Instead we had harebrained property investments, the setting up of a development company that has never managed to get off its knees and countless other bloody stupid ideas from Newman and Negrini whose frenzy of spending went unabated.
Residents have been let down on so many levels; from honest council tax paying residents being goaded and humiliated by Cllr Paul Scott in planning committees to people being denied front line support across our borough.
All are the result of a political leadership that lost sight of who the council was there to serve.
Scott Ainsworth-Payne writes very eloquently. He’s right when trust is broken it is very difficult to regain it.
Scott ….I read your piece in inside Croydon with interest, because I totally share your sentiments. I know you to be a honest, decent person. From the way you respond to certain post in the NARA forum tells us that you are genuine at heart and decent in dealings. So your doubt about Labour must be alarming to the party and it must take heed.
Like you, I lost absolute faith in the previous administration. They were inept and totally useless, full of racists (I have proof) and anti Trades unionist ( I have proof) I am a victim of all that at the Hands of Tony Newman and Simon Hall. That is why I just Laughed when some people on this forums say or think that I was supporting them.
My concern about your piece, However is your doubt about voting Labour again. People like us came to Labour because of their ideology and policy to look after the disadvantage, under privileged and the working people. I am sure you still believe in that Ideology. My own route has been through Trades Union for the past 25 years in public service.
The Last administration in Croydon was never Labour. The were a rogue and a freak bunch of cowboys. They never believed in Labour Policies. They did what they did for themselves. They never had any consideration for the Labour principles and Ideology, especially for the working people of Croydon.
There are still hugh numbers of people in Croydon and New Addington who believe that the Labour Ideology of Looking after the disadvantaged particularly is their salvation. So for people like you to abandon them will send then all at seas.
My plea to you is that we stay in the party, and work Hard within the Party to secure the change that we want to see. Only we can secure that change from within.
You say…”It is refreshing to see Hamida Ali, the new leader of the council, be candid with the situation and take responsibility for it. However, trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy”.
I believe that we have a duty to stay and help The new Leadership build that trust again in the party. I believe it is our duty to do so.
You note that…”residents feel massive distrust of their council, they are disgusted, horrified and scared of the future. They rightfully want a change in management and we will all be looking at other options in the future.” I agree, but please remember that a lot of our fellow residents are too deep in politics when they empress opinions on the NARA site. People have made it a point of duty to attack any opinion that disagree with. I cannot stop laughing the other day when I got a lot of attack for spellings mistakes… I noted that No one responded to the policy points I made and argued on the site, they did not have any opinion on it… that was so funny.
There are a lot more people in New Addington, so lets work to convince and explain to all of them that democracy lies in their hands. They can achieve those policies through Labour.
Together we can achieve the change we want for the people in Croydon and New Addington.
Tony and co have gone, Lets give the New Leadership a chance. It is only fair to do do.