Agenda item

Council Debate Motions

To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.


The Mayor asked the Monitoring Officer, John Jones, to read out the first Debate Motion on behalf of the Administration.

This council welcomes the fact that the people of Croydon stand in unity and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, whose great cities and centres of population are under attack from the armed aggression of the Russian State.

This council welcomes the effort of Croydon residents who are raising funds to provide aid to Ukraine and applauds those of our citizens who are opening their homes to refugees fleeing the war.

This council is proud of the support provided to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people, acknowledging that high quality social care services have enabled children to thrive and reach their potential.

We believe the positive actions taken by the council, our voluntary and community sector and, most of all, our residents, over many years to make refugees and asylum seekers welcome in this town, is evidence of the warmth and generosity of Croydon and its citizens.

This Council welcomes and endorses the application that is being prepared for Croydon to apply for Borough of Sanctuary status”.

The Mayor asked Councillor Wood to propose the motion.

Councillor Wood expressed his views on the situation in Ukraine and how the people across the borough and nation were coming together to welcome refugees. Councillor Wood stated that this needed to be properly funded and that proper borough recognition would be entirely fitting.


Councillor Carserides seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.


Councillor Gatland expressed her horror at the scenes of destruction from Ukraine and the queues of women and children queuing at the Polish border seeking sanctuary and was proud of the support being given both nationally and locally.


Councillor Gatland supported the motion.


Councillor Streeter echoed the shock and the tragedy that everyone had seen over the past weeks and was encouraged by the international community coming together and acknowledged the great efforts being undertaken but stated that more needed to be done.


Councillor Streeter continued to say that whilst the focus was currently on Ukraine it should be remembered that there were people throughout the world living in fear and terror.


Councillor Streeter supported the motion.


Councillor Carserides stated that the invasion of Ukraine was not just an attack on that country but an attack on sovereignty, democracy and freedom; values that all in the chamber stood for.


Councillor Carserides continued by relating the situation for one woman and her children trying to link up with their sponsor in Croydon. Croydon had taken more refugees than any other local authority but that had come at a financial cost to the authority.


The motion was put to the vote and was unanimously carried.


The Mayor asked the Monitoring Officer, John Jones to read out the second Debate Motion on behalf of the Opposition.

“The last eight years have been a humiliation for Croydon and its people, as this failing Council has lurched from one disaster to another.

Two Reports in the Public Interest, two S114 notices, unheard of in local government history, the financial meltdowns of the borough, the botched and unlawful refurbishment of Fairfield Halls, Council tenants living in squalor because of systemic failures in maintenance, inappropriate development across the borough inflicted through a deeply unpopular Local Plan, the Council-owned developer Brick by Brick building on much needed green spaces, streets flowing with rubbish and fly tips and an explosion in graffiti, residents feel unsafe on our streets and we have a town centre that has been allowed to wither and decay.

This, sadly, is the reality of life in Croydon for tens of thousands of our residents, from the very north to the very south of our borough.

It does not need to be this way. Croydon is a fantastic place with wonderful communities and organisations that make such a difference every day. They give hope for a brighter tomorrow and in partnership with the Council, we can restore pride in our borough.

The Council must fix our finances. The Council must introduce a Tenants’ Charter that respects our tenants. The Council must drop the planning design guide that destroys family homes and the character of communities. The Council must clean our streets and restore the graffiti removal team. The Council can better support the Police and mentor our young people. The Council must re-imagine our Town Centre which will bring inward investment to revitalise our whole borough. There is hope for Croydon.

In the meantime, this Council apologises to the people of Croydon for the abject failings inflicted on them by the current arrogant Administration that has failed to take responsibility or listen to Croydon over the past eight years.”

The Mayor asked Councillor Pollard to propose the motion.


Councillor Pollard stated that this motion asked for the Administration to apologise for the catastrophic failures. Councillor Pollard continued by stating that he knew that some councillors on the Labour benches were equally as angry about the state of affairs as he was and he apologised for his small part in this. Councillor Polland then listed a number of issues which were particularly hated by the people of Croydon.


Councillor Perry seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.


The Leader stated that the motion did not reflect the full story of the situation as over the past seventeen months a great deal of work had happened to balance the council’s finances. The Leader continued by listing all of the services that were being kept open and running and asked the Opposition how they were intending to fund their elections pledges when the Tory Government had spent the last twelve years cutting funding to all local authorities.


The Leader opposed the motion.


Councillor Ben-Hassel stated that when she first became a councillor she was shocked at the lax financial controls but could now see how the situation had improved over the last eighteen months. However, more needed to be done to embed those new processes.


Councillor Ben-Hassel continued by reminding Members that the Administration had taken collective responsibility over budgetary decisions that had to be made as a result of Government underfunding and that the Government had suggested greater commercialisation by councils to make up for the reduction in grant funding. Councillor Ben-Hassel listed some of the areas of the public services that had been worst affected.


Councillor Ben-Hassel opposed the motion.


Councillor Perry stated that over the last eight years the Labour council had lurched from one disaster to another including bankrupting the council and listed a number of those projects.


Councillor Perry continued by listing the services that had been reduced and accused the Administration of failing to listen to residents and listed the priorities that the incoming Mayor must do.


The motion was put to the vote and was lost.


The Monitoring Officer confirmed that the time for the meeting was approaching and asked if the Leader was happy to extend the meeting by twenty minutes.


The Leader proposed the motion.


Councillor Perry seconded the motion.


All Members were in favour of the motion to extend the meeting by up to twenty minutes.