On May 22nd, the Conservatives lost control of Croydon Council to Labour after 8 years.
Council ElectionsCouncil ElectionsCouncil ElectionsconThe Conservatives did not deserve to lose the Town Hall, in my view. Croydon Conservatives had achieved a lot during their time in office, including:
- Council tax had been kept well under control with rises limited to inflation or below
- Croydon Town Centre is being regenerated, with the Westfield Centre poised to completely transform the town – as it has already done in Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush
- School standards, under the guidance of Cllr Tim Pollard, had risen significantly and extra Government funding for new school places had been secured
- Crime had fallen significantly across Croydon as a whole and the Borough is getting an extra 117 Police Officers (the 2nd highest of London’s 33 Boroughs) to further reduce crime
- Unemployment is falling significantly across Croydon
So why did Labour win back control? Firstly, the margin was very small. In 3 key wards (Waddon, Addiscombe and Asburton) Labour won by just two or three hundred voters out of an electorate of 250,000 across Croydon as a whole. In each of these Wards, UKIP polled 500-700 votes. Many of the UKIP votes were ordinarily Conservative voters, who wished to register a protest. Sadly, the effect of a relatively small number of people voting UKIP was to hand control of the council to Labour. There is a lesson there for the General Election: a few people who are normally Conservative voting UKIP will hand the key of Downing Street to Ed Milliband and Ed Balls – just as the keys to Croydon Town Hall got handed to Labour on May 22nd.