Riots betrayal: Tories break every promise made after riots
Three years after homes and businesses in Croydon’s London Road were ransacked and burnt to the ground, Croydon North MP Steve Reed has hosted a meeting to review progress towards recovery. Local businesses, community leaders and victims assessed how much of the support promised by the council, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London has come through.
The Croydon Riots Panel, set up by the council in 2011 after the riots, made 24 recommendations. Three years later not a single recommendation has been met in full. Business owners, including Trevor Reeves whose burning shop at Reeves Corner became an iconic image of the riots, expressed anger at the previous Tory council’s inaction.
Despite pledges from the Prime Minister and Mayor of London to help make Croydon safer, the borough today has 50 fewer police officers on local streets, every police station in Croydon North has been closed down, and the promised police shop front on the London Road at the epicentre of rioting has never opened. Local residents and business owners complained about open drug dealing on the streets and gangs running Mafia-style protection rackets. The borough’s new police commander, Ch Supt Andy Tarrant, promised to act on what he heard.
Cllr Toni Letts, the council’s new economic development chief, confirmed that the £22.8m riots recovery fund received from the GLA had either not been spent or was syphoned off to other areas by the previous Tory Council. She also stated that the GLA had threatened to take back the money because the previous council had failed to use it. The new council elected in May has started investing the money to improve pavements and shop fronts this week.
Speaking after the meeting Steve Reed MP said: “The Tories have betrayed Croydon by breaking every single promise they made after the riots. Not a single recommendation from their own riots panel has been fully implemented, we have fewer police when they promised us more, and millions of pounds earmarked to help the area recover has been left sitting in the bank or syphoned off into other areas.
The Tories at every level of Government have simply turned their backs on Croydon. They were keen to be seen here in the days after the riots, but three years later we can see their only concern was grabbing the headlines not getting down to work.”