Cllr Tim Pollard, Leader of Croydon's Conservative Councillors, comments on today's news that Croydon has been announced as the UK's fastest growing local economy:
One of the frustrations about politics - and particularly the cycle of opposition-administration-opposition-administration which the major parties go through - is seeing your successors take the credit for the work you did in administration. That’s true of national politics and local alike.
So it is really gratifying to see that Croydon has just been named as the UK’s fastest-growing economy and to see that it is independently recognised that Croydon has reinvented itself positively in the last ten years.
Credit where credit is due - the Labour administration which took over in 2014 has more-or-less continued the economic policies of its Conservative predecessor (2006-14) and has worked to deliver the many schemes started under Conservative administration, such as the pivotal Westfield Hammerson town centre redevelopment. It has also continued its predecessor’s work to regenerate other district centres and the transport infrastructure. The recent deal brokered with central government to use business rate growth to fund the much-needed infrastructure improvements is another legacy of cross-party co-operation, brokered as it was by the town’s two Conservative MPs, Gavin Barwell and Chris Philp.
So whilst the current administration will doubtless crow incessantly about how it has ‘turned the town around’, or some other spin-led claim, it is worth remembering that economies are like oil tankers. You can’t do a three-point-turn in them! If the town is on the up now, it is because of decisions taken five and ten years ago (and in some cases even further back) that the town is now in the strong position it is.
I’m sure the council’s press release will reflect the fact that the previous Conservative administration was instrumental in the current success and give it generous praise. Well, perhaps that’s asking too much, but the residents of our town are not fools and know what the score is.
You can read the full article on Croydon’s growth prospects here - the data used for this assessment is from 2014.