Councillor Tony Newman, Leader of Croydon Council gives his reaction to the Autumn Statement.
Cllr Newman welcomed London’s deal for affordable housing but said that it needs to go much further if it is to provide genuinely affordable homes.
He said: “Any attempts to acknowledgement that we have a serious housing crisis in London has to be welcomed but the government should be entrusting the work of providing the affordable housing to local authorities who are best placed to deliver. We’ve already taken matters into our own hands in Croydon. The council has set up its own development company Brick by Brick which is delivering much-needed affordable housing for local families in our borough.”
Adult Social Care
“The total failure of the government to address the adult social care crisis in the autumn statement will be of concern to every local authority in the country who has called the government to take urgent action. Social care is already at breaking point. If we are to continue to protect vital services for elderly and vulnerable people we need the government to act now and properly fund local councils to meet the increasing demand. Local authorities like Croydon have already seen their budgets slashed by 50%, the funding gap is growing and there is no more room for manoeuvre.”
Minimum wage increase
“The national minimum wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50 in April next year. I welcome the increase but this is still a long way short of the London Living Wage. Here in Croydon we continue to push for businesses to go living wage and yesterday at Croydon’s economic summit we launched the Croydon Good Employer Charter which calls on Croydon businesses to pay living wage, support the local economy, creation of local jobs and be an inclusive employer.”
Devolution for London
“We support the Mayor of London is his bid to for London to get devolved powers including housing and skills devolution, and to protect the capital’s economy.
“I’m disappointed that the chancellor did not respond to London’s call for rail devolution and we will continue to support the Mayor of London in his bid to secure devolved control of suburban railways in the capital.”
Cllr Newman urged the government to publish the local government financial settlement as soon as possible, so local councils have as much time as possible to plan for the difficult decisions that will have to be made in the future.