- Croydon North: Wednesday 31 May. 7.30pm-9pm, St John’s Church, Sylvan Road, Upper Norwood. Hosted by Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce.
- Croydon Central: Thursday 1 June. 6pm-8pm, TMRW Tech Hub, 75-77 High Street, Croydon. Hosted by Croydon BID and the Croydon Advertiser.(Tickets are free but booking is required.)
- Croydon South: Thursday 1 June. 8pm-9.30pm. Christ Church Purley, 861-863 Brighton Road, Purley. Hosted by South Croydon churches. Doors open at 7.30pm
What will the Brexit effect be in Croydon on the Election results?
Conservative supporter Robert ward discusses the issues at
Did the Tories score an own goal in attacking Corbyn?
How Does Labour’s Manifesto address some of the problems in Croydon?
I have picked out a few elements of Labour’s Manifesto that have a bearing on the issues and concerns in Croydon.
- Give local people more say in planning
‘It is through the planning system that communities can shape the kinds of high streets, homes and amenities that they want.’
Proper resourcing and bolstering of planning authorities ‘with fuller powers to put people and communities at the heart of planning.’
‘We will prioritise brownfield sites and protect the green belt.’
‘We will reintroduce funding for the preparation of judicial review cases.’
Comment: The effect should be to require the Council to make changes to the Local Plan and the decision making process which boost Croydon communities role against developers parachuting in with schemes designed to maximise profit not meet local needs. Hopefully the measures will include a community right of appeal against decisions, especially on local authority own land schemes. In the light of the Beddington incinerator judicial review case costs, and the cost risks of changing the sale of the Riesco collection easier judicial review will make it easier for communities to challenge decisions they oppose.
- Better and affordable new homes
New rules on minimum space standards to prevent ‘rabbit hutch’ properties
New homes which are ‘genuinely affordable rent or sale’
Local plans to address the need for older people’s housing.
Comment. The Council has an Article 4 in the Opportunity Area to prevent the rabbit hutch conversion of former officers to homes. But that leases a threat to that elsewhere in the Borough e.g. Ambassador House in Thornton Heath.
- Protection for leaseholders and private tenants
Protect leaseholders from rises in ‘ground rent’ from developers or management companies.
New three-year tenancies.
Inflation cap on rent rises
Ban on letting agency fees for tenants.
New consumer rights for renters.
New legal minimum standards to ensure properties are fit for human habitation.
Comment. With thousands of new homes sold on leasehold the new residents of Croydon will become victims of unfair ‘ground rent’ charges. Alongside there will need to ne tighter controls over service charges. The greater protection of private tenants will help to reduce their exploitation in houses in multiple-occupation and help reduce the high turnover of population which weakens communities.
- Ending the threat to local NHS Closures and treatment cuts
Halt ‘and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England.’
Ask ‘local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances.’
Reinstate the powers of the Secretary of State for Health to have overall responsibility for the NHS.
Ring-fence ‘mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline.’
Comment Hopefully this will quickly prevent the threat to local hospitals in the South West area, such as Croydon University, and allow us to achieve a proper spread of services rather than them being every sucked into St George’s.
- Tackling air pollution and waste
A new Clean Air Act.
Targets ‘for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.’
Comment. These two measures will certainly help the problems we face with poor air quality in parts of Croydon, and with some of the waste problems.
- Improving biodiversity and tackling climate change
Protect ‘bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids’.
Plant ‘a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management.’
Reclaim ‘Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.’
Comment. This is just part of a package of environmental measures across different topic sections of the Manifesto. The flood action measure will sit alongside improved co-ordination for flood defence. This should help areas like Purley.
- Boosting culture and libraries
End cuts to local authority budgets to support the provision of libraries, museums and galleries.
Introduce a £160m ‘arts pupil premium to every primary school in England’ ‘to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer term.’
Put ‘creativity back at the heart of the curriculum review’
Extend ‘the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues.’
Comment. These promises could ensure that the Council had more money to re-build an improve library service, and avoid any closures. The curriculum promises are just what is needed to ensure that learning in primary schools is enjoyable and cross curricular. It sites alongside and end to baseline assessments and setting up a commission ‘to look into curriculum and assessment, starting by reviewing Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs.’ There are also measures to deal with child health issues.
- Strengthening democracy and accountability
Extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies that run public services.
Comment. Hopefully this will improve accountability of companies like Veolia, and the library contractor, but there will also need to be a reduction in the ‘commercial confidentiality’ secrecy that exists over the ward of contracts and how they are run and monitored.
Minister for England.
Comment. There will be also the re-establishment of Government Regional Offices which help regions in an integrated way the tackle their issues and strengthen re-building their local economies and communities.
Boosting effective defence and border security
There has been a lot of media distortion of what the Labour Leader has been saying in recent days, so this is what the Manifesto says.
‘The primary duty of any government is to protect and defend its citizens. We live in a period of growing international tensions. A strong, viable and sustainable defence and security policy must be strategic and evidence led.’
‘Labour will take all necessary measures to protect the security of our citizens and country. We will put conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy, commit to working through the UN, end support for unilateral aggressive wars of intervention and bac effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis.’
‘Border security is vital in preventing serious crimes including child abduction, people trafficking, smuggling of drugs and guns, terrorism and modern day slavery.’
Comment. ‘Peace not war’ and conflict resolution is the only patriotism worth shouting about.
You can read the full Manifesto here:
Labour Manifesto 2017