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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Labour's Statement on #Croydon Libraries

We reproduce Labour's press release which was posted by a member on our Facebook page, along with further clarification and an audio extract for those not present at the meeting.

Croydon Labour Press Release:


Despite warnings from Labour councillors in previous meeting and widespread public opposition, Cllr Fisher’s Tory administration dream of selling off our much loved libraries lay in tatters last night as Laing’s integrated services spectacularly pulled the plug on Croydon – despite being handed hundreds of millions of pounds of our money as taxpayers from Croydon Conservatives.

Wasting council tax payers money was clearly not a concern as the humiliating u-turn was tucked away at the end of the full council meeting. In a calculated abuse of local democracy, the increasingly controversial Mayor of Croydon refused to allow Labour’s spokesperson for libraries to question the Tory frontbench over the debacle.

The decision to go back to tender to sell off our libraries is one of the biggest issues in Croydon, so one could be forgiven for expecting such an announcement to be given more prominence and urgency. This on the night that Croydon residents are asked to fork out more money than they can afford to pay for the Croydon Tory Council Tax hike.

Labour’s spokesperson for Libraries Councillor Timothy Godfrey said:

“The Tory failure to run this borough properly is now costing tax payers dearly. We need to implement real savings in the library service now and in a responsible way that is not based on the dogma of privatisation. Labour’s plan can be implemented now and can deliver the savings that had been promised by Laings; savings that can be used to benefit local people rather than go into the pockets of Laing’s shareholders.

Labour Leader Councillor Tony Newman said:

“We are calling an emergency meeting of the council to hold to account the Tory front bench and seek a full explanation in light of this latest act of total incompetence and waste of money. Surely 5-years later the full details of the secret deal to build a multi-million pound luxury Tory HQ in so called partnership with Laing’s must be published for all to see.”

For those not at the meeting some points may not be clear from listening to the announcement made, which Cllr Pollard clearly refers to as "a small announcement" You can listen here. 

Bear the following in mind as you listen:

The order of the agenda items were altered, knowing that this announcement would therefore come at the end of the meeting, giving no time for councillors to raise any questions. This appears to be a deliberate ploy to silence any discussion and if you listen the Mayor is quick to state "no questions". This is followed by the most bullish behaviour from the Mayor, Cllr Eddy Arram, likened by some on twitter to someone barking orders at a dog, as he repeatedly shouted at Cllr Godfrey, "Sit down!" and then "Out!".  The audio even picks up someone spitting under their breath, in exasperation, " Get him out of here, now!"

What followed was that Cllr Timothy Godfrey was evicted from the Chambers, his Labour colleagues followed, and the Conservative Councillors are then heard to laugh heartily at agreeing to receive the reports, without challenge, with no one present to object.

There is not only no real democracy in Croydon there is clearly no shame as to how low those who claim to serve us will sink in order to push through their plans and cover up the complete collapse of their procurement process.

You can listen to the full meeting on Croydon Radio.

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