Separated from the mainstream political establishment UKIP brings a bold and innovative brand of thinking as to how we should shape our society.
We in UKIP believe that a London centric metropolitan elite has been chipping away at our country over the last 50 years. It is seen as OK to attack ourselves as a country, talk ourselves down and attack our own values. We have got to stop this degradation of being British and restore a sense of pride.
Encouraging schools to fly the Union Flag would help instil in the next generation a sense of pride in our country, culture, and history that we believe is so important.
Social mobility has declined ever since grammar schools were replaced by comprehensive schools. It is not fair that only those who can financially afford private education can fulfil the academic potential of their children. The brightest children from all backgrounds should have the opportunity to access the best education.
Equally those children with more practical and technical abilities should have the opportunity to develop these skills at specialist schools. A UKIP council would encourage both types of schools to set up throughout the borough to bring out the best in all our children.
Croydon Council has set-up a number of legal graffiti areas. Whilst some consider this street art, it has led parts of Croydon to look like a ghetto. A UKIP council would remove these installations and replace them with plain walls and advertising. Making our town centre look like a run down inner city area does not present the right image of the borough.
Croydon Council has two methods to report Graffiti, both of which require the people reporting it to be fairly computer literate. A UKIP council would extend this service to a simplified web form and the option to phone in your concerns. Further we would publicise this service across the borough via social media and within existing council publications.
Croydon Councils budget shows an average staff cost of £44K. This can only be possible with large numbers of highly paid staff undertaking senior roles with little risk of being fired for failure. The councils chief executive is on £185,000 more than Prime Minister. A UKIP council would have no new appointments on more than the Prime Minister and need the leader of the council to sign-off any appointments above £90K. Council officials with gold plated pensions and little chance of losing their jobs should not be paid the same as risk takers in the private sector.
Central Croydon is doing well. There is a shortage of office space in the town centre and new flats are being built on what seems like every spare spot of land. The same cannot be said for our district centres, many of which suffer from both a lack of short stay parking and local jobs.
Croydon Council has the majority of its non-teaching staff located in and around the Town Hall and Bernard Weatherill House. Bernard Weatherill house alone was built to accommodate 2,650 people, This leads to the council being focused on the town centre with little focus on the districts of the borough.
UKIP believes the Council should move at least 600 jobs to the district centres. This can be paid for by leasing out more of Bernard Weatherill House. These jobs would greatly benefit in the district centres of Coulsdon, New Addington, Thornton Heath, Selsdon, South Norwood and others.
This action would give a much needed boost to the district centres by providing jobs directly to the local economies. UKIP believes that such de-centralisation away from the wholly existing town centre vision would provide major benefits in the perception of improved democratic representation.
Croydon is becoming a dumping ground for litter. UKIP has a few straightforward proposals towards creating a tidier borough.
A complex rubbish collection system, increased costs for waste, and industrial fly-tipping are a problem across the borough. Gimmick bins, solar powered or not and the “Don't Mess with Croydon” campaign https://www.croydon.gov.uk/environment/dontmess/streetlitter are not fixing the problem.
Whilst much needs to be done across a range of areas, most of the problem is down to the lack of shame of littering and a hitherto lack of public assertiveness to tackle this public blight. UKIP would like to see this change in Croydon and has these simple common sense ideas to help.
1) Regular visits to be made to schools by senior Council officers to denounce littering.
2) Croydon Council has a lot of senior leaders. To help them integrate into and work with all communities in the borough and to tackle the critical anti-social problems of littering, we would ensure all Croydon maintained schools are visited twice a year by a senior Council officer, explaining to pupils about the anti-sociability of littering.
3) Posters should be seen in all areas of Croydon declaring the unacceptability of littering.
4) Council notice boards to be used to display large posters explaining the problems of littering. UKIP will focus on this unacceptable anti-social behaviour.
5) Encourage magistrates to impose community service picking up litter.
As part of a wider campaign to keep Croydon tidy a UKIP council would work with local magistrates and law enforcement to encourage prioritising prosecutions and tough sentencing for those caught littering and fly tipping.
Croydon is seeing increasing crime, much of it focused on the town centre. Croydon UKIP has a few straightforward proposals to help tackle this rise.
Knife crime is especially on the rise. Most weeks we hear sadly of another stabbing somewhere in Croydon. For far too many young people carrying a knife has become part of the culture. No one root cause is driving this increase.
Croydon UKIP are asking the Metropolitan Police to make a significant increase their use of stop and search powers. Stop and search is an effective way of targeting people acting in a suspicious manner and checking if they are carrying a knife. The use of these powers has decreased in recent years as it has been perceived to have an impact on community relations. We cannot allow this spate of stabbings to continue. Only by making carrying knives a choice that someone has a realistic chance of being arrested for will we change this culture and reduce stabbings. Community relations will ultimately suffer more if the police cannot reduce the stabbings of what are often young adults and children.
The town centre is often the hub of much crime and anti-social behaviour. Croydon council can support the police service with additional staff. Nationally UKIP is committed to employing 20,000 more police. Locally these proposals would be backed by 12 extra Community Support Officers specifically to patrol the town centre and West Croydon / East Croydon.
The cost for additional police community officers would be offset by reducing 0.5% of council staff and delivered over 18 months so the replacements would come through natural staff turnover. Croydon councils average staff cost is £44K (https://www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/Budget%20Book%202015-16.pdf).
Croydon once had a thriving town centre and many busy district centres for business. Successive councils’ grand plans have slowly eroded these. UKIP believes the council should act as an enabler for business then get out of the way to let them thrive.
Croydon UKIP has a series of common sense policies we would like to see implemented to help businesses in Croydon.
Work for and encourage the interests of all small businesses in Croydon.
Keep business local tax rates low to encourage business growth and maximise revenue.
Croydon Open for Business
Open Surrey Street Sunday market to weekday traders
Hold costs of Pavement licences outside Croydon Town Centre, only reasonable increases in centre.
Keep free parking of either 30 or 60 minutes in every district centre
Croydon Council has alienated a huge number of Croydon residents with ham-fisted development plans whilst still not getting homes for local families built in the borough. Croydon UKIP has a series of plans to ensure we build homes for residents, whilst reigning in Brick by Brick, the council’s out of control Development Company.
Building on Brownfield but not Greenfield sites
The Local Plan for Croydon has reduced protection for much of the green space in the borough, increasing the chance of future development.
Our green space is critical as more and more of the south east is built on to accommodate an ever growing population. Croydon is traditionally a green suburb. Despite the best efforts of the council and government we still have a green Croydon. We need to keep it that way.
UKIP councillors would not agree to building on any Greenfield sites, instead would focus on ensuring existing Brownfield sites in the borough are available for development.
House building to come with infrastructure to support it
All too many of the new developments impose additional strain on the local services and transport infrastructure. UKIP councillors would not approve new homes unless they included sufficient plans to ensure school places, doctors’ surgeries’ capacity, parking and public transport for the new people moving into the area.
Develop ‘Local Plans’ in consultation with local residents, not imposed fait accompli
The Croydon Local Plan developed over the last few years has proved to be very divisive. Local groups have
often felt the council has gone out of its way to vilify campaigners worried about the impact on their areas.
UKIP councillors would look to run a Local Plan development through the following:
Make Brick by Brick accountable
Brick by Brick is a private, independent company, with the council acting as sole shareholder. It is owned and in effect funded by the taxpayer, yet as a private company it is not accountable to the taxpayer.
UKIP would make Brick by Brick accountable by holding public scrutiny meetings with board members, and as its sole shareholder agreeing to respond to Freedom of Information requests.
Local people prioritised for council housing
Development in Croydon is focused on luxury dormitory flats for central London workers. We need houses for
the families of Croydon. UKIP would prioritise in local planning or through Brick by Brick the delivery of small
houses that provide the homes local families need.
Unlike the Labour council any council with UKIP councillors would actually achieve the building of some council
houses, over their term of office.
Croydon Council has many dedicated local government officers. They deliver services in tough circumstances often despite the politicians.
UKIP have a couple of common sense policies we would like to see implemented at the council.
Fill senior positions via internal promotion rather than external recruitment where possible
All too many senior council roles are filled from outside the borough. Given the problems in some of the council’s services it would be hard to say they are recruiting the best people. External recruitment reduces the opportunities for council staff and can lower morale. It leads to all too many senior staff not living in or knowing the borough. Recruiting the right person for the role must always come first. However the council’s policy of recruiting externally has led to expensive recruitment mistakes, lack of opportunity and a situation where the senior positions in a Labour council do not reflect the diversity of the borough.
Believing in the people of Croydon, UKIP would where possible fill vacancies through internal promotion rather than external recruitment. As a target a minimum of 80% of roles earning over £60,000 a year would be filled by internal staff.
A £300 annual voucher available to all of Croydon’s non-Teaching staff for education services in their own time
A UKIP council would offer £300 for each council worker for night school, which in turn would help boost night school places for all in Croydon.
We want to enable the people of Croydon to become an even more highly trained workforce. Giving staff an incentive and helping hand to undertake training will drive up skills in the council. People undertaking training of their own choice and in their own time will feel more invested in learning.
A breakdown of Croydon’s Budget is at: https://www.croydon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/articles/downloads/Budget%20Book%202015-16.pdf. This shows for that year outside of educational services Croydon Council employs 2806 FTEs, at a total cost of £125,168,000.
If all staff took up the full £300 voucher it would cost £841,000 or 0.67% of the staff Budget. This cost would be offset against existing training budgets and phased in over three years to fit within existing planned budgets.
Croydon Council under both Labour and Conservatives is great at spending your money. Your hard work and saving mean little to a council that is only too ready to increase its largesse at your expense. UKIP will focus on getting value for money from council services and remember it’s our money not theirs.
No increase in council debt over 4 years
As families, individuals and businesses we know that borrowing needs to be repaid and when you live off the credit card, bills soon mount up. Croydon Council as of 31st March 2017 owes £1.73 billion in debt (https://www.croydon.gov.uk/democracy/budgets/financial-accounts). This is a debt that will hold the services of the town back for a generation and be paid for by our children and grandchildren. Spending money to be paid for by future generations is morally wrong as such UKIP would work with other parties not to add a penny to the borough’s debt over the lifetime of the council.
Council tax increases at or below inflation
Times are hard for many of us. House prices stop many young people getting on the housing ladder or finding suitable rented accommodation. Yet our council often feels it can keep taking more of your money to inflate its own largesse. UKIP councillors would vote against any council tax increases that are set above the rate of inflation.
Non-inclusive community events and celebrations supported but not funded by council
Croydon council should be a focus point to highlight and support all public events in the borough. We believe public money should not be spent on any events that are not truly inclusive. St George’s Day, Remembrance events, local fairs and (in a country with an established Church) Christmas are truly inclusive events. Events aimed at one non-Christian religion or one community are not. We want all who attend to enjoy these events, but not make everyone else pay for them. Croydon UKIP wants a council that supports and act as an enabler for all events assisting, advertising and encouraging private funding, but only provide public funding for events that are truly inclusive for all in the borough.
Make greater use of council property throughout the borough allowing private rental of rooms and facilities.
The council owns substantial property across the borough but is often reluctant to let it out to private groups. It can even be difficult for council staff to book facilities for internal events. UKIP would work for the council to undertake an audit and make sure all facilities are made available for suitable fees to any organisation that wants to hire them responsibly.
In December 2016 it was announced Croydon would lose another £1.9 million in central government grants and was one of the worst hit councils in the country http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/croydon-council-one-of-the-worst-hit-areas-in-the-country-as-government-announces-funding/story-29994926-detail/story.html. With Croydon being a Punch and Judy town of Tory and Labour politics we lose out as both parties snipe at each other. UKIP would focus less on the politics and more on the needs of the town and campaign for a fair settlement for the borough. The council should be working with government regardless of any political persuasion to find what is needed to get the best settlement possible.
UKIP at its core is a party that believes in democracy. We believe the best democracy is where the government is closest to the people. We campaigned to free Britain from the undemocratic EU, and now we want to free the people of Croydon from a council that’s shows such contempt for democracy. The Labour party has ridden roughshod over peoples planning concerns on Brick-by-Brick developments. They have also imposed 20MPH speed limits without the democratic votes they promised. The Conservatives introduced the cabinet system in the council we have today which moved power from accountable councillors to an unaccountable political executive.
Our policies to increase the council’s democratic accountability to the people include:
Encouraging the development of Croydon’s local communities
Being London's most populous borough with 380,000 people, more than a dozen significant town centres and 17 railway stations Croydon is a significant city in its own right. As part of a commitment to move power closer to the people and away from the centre, UKIP would work with local communities and where appropriate support referendums to set-up Community Councils (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_council) and Neighbourhood Forums.
Encourage and enable local referenda
Elected councillors should put taxpayers first, rather than party politics. Councils should exist to serve their communities and not just spend their money. Important local issues would be put to binding referendums of the people.
Implement committee system (end cabinet system)
The cabinet system in councils leaves all the decision making in the hands of a few cabinet members, whereas a committee structure would allow all councillors the chance to vote on decisions. It is a much more democratic process to decide issues for the wellbeing of the whole borough. UKIP will move Croydon back to the system where members from all parties will sit on a number of committees to make decisions for the borough.
Discourage / stop any moves towards powerful executive local mayor
Croydon council does not need and would not benefit from an executive mayor. The executive mayor simply moves power from the people, from the elected representatives, and to one person. This goes against democracy and freedom and against UKIPs core principles.
UKIP has a series of policies for Croydon council to get the basics right. So many basics are wrong under the current administration that we need to issues these policies over two parts.
Council advertising jobs to local residents and schools first
Whilst staying within the legal responsibilities of employment law, UKIP would have Croydon council posts advertised firstly in the local press (both online and hard copy), and advertise general recruitment firstly to local school and college leavers.
Measuring policy changes by quality of life impact
Papers before the council review the impact of a policy against, Law, Human Resources, Equalities, Environment and Crime. No review is made against quality of life. The council’s choices can have a significant impact on people’s daily lives. UKIP believe that, along with the impact on jobs, all council policies should be reviewed against this key priority.
Keep all libraries open, with additional community uses
Croydon has 13 libraries http://www.croydonlibraries.com/find-your-library/. These are important community resources, but can often be under-utilised and not used at all by large parts of the community. UKIP wants to make them available for hiring for meetings and events to extend their reach into the wider community.
Poorest wards in Croydon to be targeted with resources
Croydon’s Conservative and Labour administrations have traditionally targeted public services to swing wards to win votes. Data from the Croydon Observatory http://www.croydonobservatory.org/ show the 5 wards of Broad Green, Fieldway, New Addington, Selhurst and Thornton Heath with significantly more consistent signs of deprivation than others. UKIP believes the councils should target services and encourage private sector investment into these wards.
Target use of 20 MPH speed limit
Laws that are ignored or not enforced are bad laws. The massive rollout of 20mph areas in the borough sees 10,000s of drivers every day ignoring the speed limits. This in turn means the people ignore important speed restrictions around schools and traffic hotspots. Since the latest implementation is being brought in without public consent this should be stopped with further changes targeted only where they provide true safety benefits. UKIP believe over time 20mph speed restrictions should be removed again except where they are truly needed. This would be done only as part of the normal refreshing of signage and road surfaces, except where local referenda demanded more immediate action.
Renew moves to open the footbridge across East Croydon station to Cherry Orchard road
Plans for the footbridge across East Croydon station linking Landsdowne Road and Cherry Orchard road were unveiled in 2010 https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/plans-unveiled-for-east-croydon-footbridge. Following the trend of the current Labour administration this is still not in place. UKIP would make it a priority to get the bridge extended. We should meet with the developers as soon as possible and make clear future active co-operation from the council would be dependent on their meeting their commitments to complete the footbridge.
All new schools and public buildings to be built with pick-up and drop-off points to aid traffic flow
New schools in Croydon are not being developed with drop-off or pick-up points for pupils. Whilst this is designed to encourage walking, the reality is it leads to traffic problems and safety issues near schools where parents need to drive on to work or other schools. UKIP would adopt a more common sense and practical approach. When a new school is built or an existing school has a significant uplift in numbers appropriate traffic management measures like pick-up and drop-off points are added.
UKIP has a series of policies for Croydon council to get the basics right. So many basics are wrong under the current administration that we need to issues these policies over two parts.
Remove 30% of council rules and bylaws over 4 years
Croydon Council has 22 Byelaws on Parks, 21 on the employment of children, a set for dog control, and a 5 stage process for fostering including completing a form you can't actually get on the council website. This is all too complex and values rules and complexity above a usable service. UKIP would like to see a 'one in one out' process for new rules. We would also support a reduction in the number of rules and byelaws by 30% over the lifetime of the council. This is not just a tick box exercise, UKIP would want these changes audited by any think tanks / campaign groups which value removal of laws and move towards greater individual freedom. The council has moved to reduce its rules on town centre licensing because of the problems they have created for Croydon’s nightlife. UKIP would like to see the council cut back its control and interference in the lives of all of Croydon's citizens and businesses.
Encourage, promote and support Croydon sports teams to encourage fitness and town pride.
The Labour party believes to its core all that is good emanates from government. The Labour council's web site shows only sport services that are council-run https://www.croydon.gov.uk/leisure/sports/a-z-of-activities. UKIP would promote all sports teams and services in the borough from Crystal Palace FC to the local rugby teams, from Council swimming pools to local fitness coaches. All teams and clubs help promote a sense of pride in the town and all facilities help promote fitness, the council should be behind them all.
Fewer grand plans - more basic delivery
Both Labour and Conservative administrations feel the need to leave their mark on the borough. The Conservatives built Bernard Weatherill House, Labour have closed the Fairfield Halls for a major redevelopment, paid for cycle races and given (or loaned) our money to untried ventures. Rather than go for the big spend and photo opportunity, UKIP would focus on delivering basic public services. The people of Croydon don't want their town to be a constant building site, instead we need the council to be great at delivery of schools, social services, clean streets and all the basic services the council provides.
Improve transparency in Council
The webcasting of council meetings has been a great success and we are committed to continuing with this. UKIP believes the council, unlike how it acts today, should respond to FOIs as quickly as possible and, where possible, put the disclosed information on the Council's website. Where there is a delay, the details of the original FOI and why there is a delay in providing a response, should also be put on the Council’s website. The council is there to serve the people not the other way round. We want it to be transparent that the public servants work for us. This would be a significant change from how Croydon operates today.
Work for enough capacity in schools to allow real choice for parents across the borough
For years Croydon has been playing catch-up on school places in the Borough. The system for estimating pupil numbers is consistently proven to be inadequate. UKIP would aim to provide more than enough capacity in the borough for all pupils. With growing requirements in neighbouring boroughs we are confident any surplus capacity would be used. We believe the best choices for which schools are placed where are best made by education professionals and parents. UKIP would encourage free schools to be set up in any part of the borough, and existing schools to expand, rather than follow the failed central planning model the council uses today. We also lack spaces at Special Needs schools in Croydon and across South London. A UKIP Council would prioritise additional places and growth of existing schools where they are willing to expand.
Campaign for local health facilities, including increased facilities at Purley Hospital
UKIP believes the best health facilities are those local to the end user. Travelling long distances to the centralised hospitals is not in the interest of most people. A UKIP Croydon council would campaign to keep local services throughout the districts of Croydon.
Remove the Political Correctness around adoption and fostering, aim to have as few children in care as possible, instead have them in families.
The exact criteria for fostering are rightly not readily available. We believe a child is always better off with any responsible family, than in government care. A UKIP council would review the criteria for fostering and adoption, and whilst keeping them safe, UKIP would remove any politically correct, or lifestyle based criteria, to ensure that fostering and adoption services are about the best interests of the child, not the politics of the council.
We simply have too many bins.
The average house in Croydon has collections of main refuse bin, food bin, two recycling bins, clothes bags, and possibly a garden waste bin. This is needlessly complex. Through consultation with Croydon residents' associations UKIP would aim to simplify this system with the same coverage but ideally no more than 3 types of collection.
Either Refuse Collectors should tidy up after themselves or street cleaners should be sent to cover the same area that day or the next.
Refuse collection in Croydon has been under a contract with Veolia since 2003, and is currently under renegotiation. UKIP would aim to enhance the contract to ensure collectors tidy any 'street refuse' when they collect in an area, this may involve timing street cleaners to follow on from bin collections.
Street sweepers / Refuse Collectors encouraged either to collect or report fly tipping where they see it.
Refuse collection is too compartmentalised with no one taking responsibility for the overall cleanliness of our town. UKIP would aim to see collectors take a wider responsibility for the cleanliness of an area and either collect or report fly tipping where they see it.
From protecting essential services to bringing government closer to local people, we have a clear set of priorities that all future elected UKIP councillors will work towards.