Croydon Conservatives are appalled to have uncovered that the Labour-run Council has admitted that there has been no designated Military Covenant Officer since August 2014.
In December 2011 Croydon’s Conservative Council was the first London borough to sign a Community Covenant. It was signed as a pledge of commitment to our local Armed Forces population - those in Service, Reservists, Veterans and their families. The principles of the Armed Forces Covenant state that we must recognise the unique nature of Service, ensure that there is no disadvantage, e.g. in accessing public services as a result of Service, and allow special treatment where justified, such as in the case of the bereaved or injured.
In the following two years, the Conservative administration appointed a designated Borough Military Champion (Tony Pearson), put on a series of events leading up to Armed Forces Day in June 2012, and in April 2013 our housing policy was amended to offer serving and former members of the regular and Reservist Armed Forces. Additional housing priority was given, with applications from that group going to band 1 - the highest band possible. This also applied to bereaved widows and civil partners of deceased Service men and women.
However, it is has now been revealed that there has not been a designated Military Covenant Officer employed by the Council since 13 August 2014 and that, whilst the Labour administration will send someone along to Croydon Army Engagement Meetings, the Council won’t be able to take on all the tasks identified in those meetings or as part of the Covenant.
New Addington South Conservative Candidate Tony Pearson said: "As a former regular Soldier, I'm appalled by the contempt that this Labour Council appears to be showing to former members of the Armed Forces. We have a number of Reserve Forces Units in Croydon, we have adopted two Rifles into the Borough following the deaths of local men in service and this is the contempt the current Administration is showing. We owe these men and women, and their families, a huge debt of gratitude and Cllr Newman (Council Leader – Labour) should be totally ashamed of his administration's conduct."
Conservative Councillor Leader, Cllr Tim Pollard said: “This is absolutely outrageous. Clearly when we left office in May 2014 the incoming Labour administration couldn’t wait to get rid of the Military Covenant Officer. This shows a shocking lack of respect for those men and women who have served our country, protecting our rights and freedoms.”
“We have already committed to build homes especially for former members of the Armed Forces and this is a key manifesto pledge for the Local Elections being held on 3rd May. We will also re-instate the designated Military Covenant Officer for Croydon, to work with the Borough Military Champion, as an absolute priority.