Friday, November 03, 2006

Tory scrooges attack Croydon's elderly and disabled

When the Conservatives took the Council in Croydon last May, many of us thought that the changes would be cosmetic. A well-performing council, commended by all the relevant authorities for financial and service management, with a strong team of officers. What would they really change? It was inevitable that they would make certain changes here and there to reprioritise and satsify their key constituencies. But what has actually happened is breathtaking.

First there were the terrible, short-sighted cuts to Croydon's culture. The Warehouse Theatre slapped in the face after 30 years service in the town. The new swimming pool for South Norwood, eagerly anticipated by local residents, downgraded to a simple refurb even though it may cost the Council more to cancel the contract.

Then they cut an amazing £16 million on services to children, the disabled and the elderly, the most vulnerable in the community, and least able to complain, to march, to picket, to petition.

And now it is reported that the remaining voluntary sector faces a 10% cut. Groups working with the most needy will face a run-up to Christmas uncertain of their future. The capacity of those groups doing so much to assist the Council and the state reduced, so that it will cost more in the long run. The users of those services left wondering where they can get the support they depend on. Fear and uncertainty the most heartless gifts this winter.

Croydon needs a better Council. Croydon needs a Labour Council.

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