To debate any motions submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.
The following two Motions, one from the Administration and one from the Leader of the Opposition, will be debated:
Conservative Group Motion
‘This Council opposes the Mayor of London’s extension of the ULEZ to the boundary of Greater London.
Sadiq Khan’s plan will not only force hundreds of Croydon residents to pay £12.50 a day just to drive their car, but his own studies show it will have very little environmental impact.
For many Croydonians, their car is the only reliable option to get around given the reduced public transport options compared with inner London. Punishing those who cannot afford to buy a more modern vehicle is deeply unfair and out of touch, particularly at a time when the cost of living is increasing.
This Council calls on the Mayor of London to listen to Londoners, rethink this flawed policy and instead invest in improving the public transport network in outer London to make it easier for local people to make more sustainable transport choices.’
Labour Group Motion
This council notes the Mayor’s failed bid to secure much needed Levelling Up funding from the Government.
This council further notes that since 2010, Croydon has seen its grant funding from Government cut by over 80%.
This council, therefore, is disappointed by and disagrees with the Government decision to ignore Croydon’s strong case for levelling up funding which would have supported local regeneration and helped Croydon to become cleaner, greener and more accessible.
This council believes that the allocation of funding through the Levelling Up Fund – which saw [well-funded] areas like Richmond and Sutton receive money in contrast to Croydon - is evidence that the Government is being unfair to Croydon, and we continue to lose out as a result.
This council calls on the Mayor to write immediately to the Government asking for an urgent review of the decision and invite the Secretary of State to come to Croydon to meet councillors of all parties to discuss the council’s case for Levelling Up funding.
The Chair read out the Conservative Group Debate Motion, and Mayor Jason Perry spoke first, outlining that the Executive had objected to the proposals on the grounds that they were a hammer-blow to businesses and residents in Croydon. The Mayor argued that it would be unfair to carers and the elderly, and that there would be no health or environmental benefits to extending the ULEZ into Croydon.
Councillor Mario Creatura seconded the motion and reserved his right to reply.
Speaking in opposition to the motion Councillor Amy Foster argued that the benefits of extending the ULEZ would tackle health inequalities across the borough. Councillor Foster demonstrated that the most deprived of children living with asthma were 2.5 times more likely to be admitted to hospital due to the condition, and that chronic health problems kept children off school and that this had long-term economic effects on poor families.
Also speaking in opposition Councillor Stuart King argued that the Conservative members were only in opposition to the ULEZ because the Mayor of London was a Labour member. Councillor King argued that 4,000 Londoners died prematurely each year due to pollution, and that the ULEZ scheme had reduced pollution levels be almost half in Central London. Councillor King also explained that 85% of road vehicles were already ULEZ-compliant, and so there should not be a huge financial burden put on most residents.
Speaking on behalf of the motion Councillor Creatura explained that an independent report associated with ULEZ expansion showed that emissions would be very small and that the scheme was not backed up by data that it would reduce pollution in outer London. Councillor Creatura argued that it was not fair to push the costs of the ULEZ onto residents who were already struggling with the cost of living.
The Chair put the motion to the vote, and Council RESOLVED, with 34 votes for and 35 votes against, the Chair having used their casting vote, to reject the Conservative Group Motion.
The Chair then read out the motion submitted by the Labour Group, which was MOVED by Councillor Chris Clark and SECONDED by Councillor Rowenna Davis who reserved her right to speak.
Councillor Clark argued that Central Government should hear members’ shared intention to put regeneration of the borough back on track, and that the Mayor should invite the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to speak to Croydon Council about its failed bid for funding.
Councillor Jeet Bains, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, pointed out that the Labour group had missed the first round of funding that could be applied for, and also that only a handful of London councils had received any funding. Councillor Bains also pointed out that the Mayor was already in talks with the Secretary of State.
Councillor Alasdair Stewart added to the observation, stating that of the 529 bids made only 111 were successful, but also that the Mayor was already taking action to help improve the town centre and that there were other funding avenues that could be explored to help with this.
Exercising her right of reply, Councillor Rowenna Davis explained that the Labour Group at the time of the first round of funding was advised not to bid by council officers, and also that the bid that was put together was solid. Councillor Davis argued that the Government held a bias against Croydon, since neighbouring borough, Sutton, did succeed in its bid. Councillor Davis also argued that it was this same bias that had prevented the Government so far from stepping in to help Croydon out of its unsustainable economic position.
The Chair put the motion to the vote and Council RESOLVED, with 35 votes for and 34 votes against, the Chair having used their casting vote, to carry the motion put forward by the Labour Group.
The Chair then MOVED that Council scheduled an extra meeting to be held. This was SECONDED by Councillor Creatura and RESOLVED, unanimously, to hold a Council meeting on Wednesday 8 March 2023.