Croydon Labour Councillors Tony Newman and Simon Hall have this evening announced that they will be standing down from their wards with immediate effect, triggering by-elections in the respective areas of Woodside and New Addington North. The by-elections will most likely take place in May 2021.
This comes only a few months after Labour-run Croydon Council had to effectively declare bankruptcy, having run up debts of over 1.5 billion - the highest of any Council anywhere in the country.
A series of damning reports have been published in recent months, including one slamming Labour for 'corporate blindness'. On the condition of anonymity, Labour councillors have told local press of a 'culture of bullying' in the Council. These resignations are clearly timed to avoid potential sanction by formal processes investigating their conduct.
This is not what Croydon residents need from our Council. And whilst Cllrs Newman and Hall are among the key instigators of the culture of bullying and the policies that bankrupted Croydon - they did not do it alone.
Every single Labour councillor backed their decisions, including the current Leader of the Council Cllr Hamida Ali. Cllr Ali was the Deputy Cabinet member for Finance, served loyally in Cllr Newman's Cabinet for six years and is his Woodside ward colleague. She is just more of the same: the same failed policies and the same failed approach that bankrupted Croydon in the first place - as Vanessa Feltz made very clear in this must-watch interview from last November.
No Labour councillor has rebelled against this demonstrably flawed leadership, despite Croydon's Conservatives warning Labour about this very situation over many years.
Hard-working residents are now having to pay the price for Labour’s poor policies and their totally inadequate financial management. Council Tax has gone up by a shocking 28% since Labour took office in 2014. And this year they have announced a series of swingeing service cuts to plug the debts that they have created – including the sacking of street cleaners and social workers. Support packages for the disabled and the vulnerable are being slashed and the future of our libraries and swimming pools are hanging by a thread.
It is clear that the culture of incompetence is rife within every Labour councillor. They don't have the knowledge, the grasp of detail or the conviction to challenge poor decisions. For years they have spent money they didn’t have, overseen Council departments significantly overspending budgets and gambled public money on risky commercial ventures.
The only way to remedy this dire situation and restore some financial common sense in Croydon is for the Conservatives to be voted in to clear up Labour's mess.