Labour steals voice of Croydon voluntary sector
26/06/2017 23:20:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
Tonight our Labour administration voted through an amendment to the Council's constitution that took votes away from many voluntary sector representatives on the previously independent Health and Wellbeing Board. This is nothing short of an attack on Croydon's voluntary sector - you can watch mine and Cllr Pollards speeches here or read the transcript below:
"Thank you Madam Mayor.
It’s a real shame that in your first meeting as Mayor you’re being forced to preside over yet another nail in the coffin for democracy in Croydon under this Labour administration.
‘Shame’ is an apt word for this scurrilous attack on Croydon’s hard-working voluntary sector.
Shame that this Labour Council, on the one hand fond of preaching the easy political rhetoric of openness and transparency and with the other slamming the door in the face of the experience, professionalism and the dedication of our local voluntary organisations.
Many on the outside world may never have heard of the Health and Wellbeing Board. But this apolitical organization has been working tirelessly together, councilors and experts guiding the borough through a difficult landscape, helping to commission and provide many of the services our most vulnerable residents rely on.
Buried in tonight’s obtuse constitutional changes we see this balanced, politically neutral board being decimated by this shameless and dictatorial Labour Council.
The Board has 19 voting members all with valuable and wide-ranging experience including the Black and Minority Ethnic Forum; Age UK; Croydon Voluntary Action; mental health charity ‘Off the Record’ and many, many others.
Tonight Labour is removing their right to vote - removing their voice from helping vulnerable residents in Croydon. Removing the voice of the BME community. The elderly. Young people and those with mental ill-health.
Why are they doing this? It’s all about power! Labour want to install five of their own puppet Councillors to pack the committee and control the vote.
One of the current members Labour is sacking has said: “the board is being politicised by excluding voluntary organisations… You cannot say that you want more community involvement and at the same time disenfranchise those very organisations who sit on the board… in many cases the backbone of our communities.”
I’m afraid they can. Crush dissent, squeeze out expertise; whip inexperienced councillors into supporting any whim – no matter how damaging it will be to our most vulnerable residents.
If the Labour Party opposite me vote this through, knowing they are disenfranchising the voluntary sector and politicising a body designed to look after the sick and needy; then I hope they feel ashamed as they go to sleep tonight.
But they won’t. They don’t seem to be capable of feeling shame.
I do, Madam Mayor I therefore oppose this item."
Cllr Tim Pollard, Leader of Croydon Conservative Councillors, also spoke in defence of the voluntary sector. You can watch his contribution here.