Tonight all Croydon Councillors will be called upon to vote on a budget put forward by the Labour administration that bankrupted our town. It will be a sober moment, one that calls for calm heads and puts the people of Croydon first.
Putting Croydonians first is not what Croydon Labour have been doing to date. We have seen their previous leader and finance head removed. Their new leader opened her tenure with the 21st Century’s most embarrassing radio interview. Senior officers have been suspended. Now the biggest ever bailout of a London Council has been agreed by the government – which our children and grandchildren will be paying off for decades.
The biggest wound inflicted on us all by this Council has been the horror show called Brick by Brick Ltd. This company was created by Labour. Its governance could only be described as a swiss cheese of poor oversight, opaque practices, the blind leading the blind, and a merry go round of inappropriate appointees. Blithely Labour handed over A QUARTER OF A BILLION POUNDS of your money to this outfit upon which subsequent investigations poured the utmost scorn. Well, the Conservatives warned them many times but they didn’t listen.
So what does today’s budget mean for housing in Croydon? For the erstwhile purpose of this dodgy manoeuvre was to provide “much needed” housing “for families” in Croydon. First, the highly inappropriate planning applications will continue unabated. If your neighbour applies to convert their house into multiple small flats (how does this help families?), it will likely be approved. The Labour councillors continue to nod them all through. But let’s say the builders start their work. There are conditions that they must meet. If you suspect they are flouting these conditions, you might contact your local Councillor who would then ask the Planning Enforcement team to look into it. But because of the swingeing cuts we will have to endure courtesy of Labour’s profligacy, that Planning Enforcement team will be thin on the ground. One day they will get round looking at the issue, but the builders will likely have long gone by then. Or let’s say there is something awry once the building is completed. Again, we’d like to help you by asking the Building Control team to take a look. But again, Labour-induced cuts will mean…well, good luck with that.
If a Brick by Brick development is in your neighbourhood, it will probably go ahead. Why? Because the invidious position Labour has put us all in is that this outfit will hold on to the money they have got lest bigger problems materialise from pulling the plug. Yes, we have now much improved the governance of this company, but its malign impact on the landscape will not be halted yet.
Enduringly painful will be the legacy of Labour on Croydon. We cannot underestimate it and, sadly, it is those who need our help most that will shoulder the burden. Expect problems with your bin collections, more unrepaired pot holes in your street, closed libraries and swimming pools, little or no regeneration. And yes, expect Brick by Brick and other developments to carry on scarring our neighbourhoods. Such will be the consequences of today’s budget, because a few Labour councillors brought Croydon to its knees.