Labour, politics and #Croydon #TechCity: a response from Cllr Toni Letts

By - Tuesday 15th April, 2014

Croydon Labour’s shadow cabinet member for jobs, business and regeneration responds to Conservative candidate Mario Creatura’s bold claims about Tech City

Original photo by Intel Free Press. Modified and used under Creative Commons licence.

Tech City is one of a number of truly exciting  movements happening across our wonderful town at this time.

I was therefore dismayed by the comments made by Mario Creatura, the Coulsdon West Conservative candidate, where he politicises the successful Croydon Tech City.

He states that the best thing that government can do for grassroots movement is to stay out of the way. That may be true at the start, but for sustainable growth to take place, working in partnership with others can take movements like Tech City to a wider audience.

Is Mario’s statement an excuse for the fact the Tories in Croydon have no manifesto? They clearly have no interest in the digital economy, while the rest of us all know that the creative industries are the jobs of the future – and the jobs that many of our young people will want. The truth is that the Conservatives in Croydon intend the ‘same old, same old’ for the future of Croydon.

A council must also ensure that gains from this and other technological businesses helps shape a society that we are proud to live in

Mario claims that the Labour Party has been ‘harping on’ about CTC – of course we have! By congratulating a group of young people who have the vision to set up this amazing centre. Labour knows that the new digital technologies have the capacity to improve the quality of life for Croydon’s residents and to create wealth and new jobs. Surely this is something all politicians want?

In January 2014, the Labour Party launched a Creative Industries and Digital Review led by former UK Film Council Director, John Woodward. The review is supported by a group of industry experts from film, TV, music, gaming, publishing and digital industries. It will look at the challenges and opportunities for policymakers and businesses alike, and explore how the UK can better compete and continue to lead the way globally in the sector.

Croydon Labour has never taken credit for the success of CTC, but we do see the success of this grassroots organisation as a beacon for future successes which will be significant both socially and economically.

We see that the challenge for Croydon Council is to position Croydon to take advantage of emerging internet-based innovations, but also to ensure the gains from this and other technological businesses help to shape a society that we are proud to live in.

In conclusion, the role of a Labour council post-May will be to ensure Croydon has the most modern IT infrastructure across our town, to encourage our schools and colleges to work with Tech City, and to ensure we help provide the workspaces for the next generation of startups to flourish in Croydon.

Croydon Tech City – Thursday 17th April 7:30pm – Financial tech startup special

To attend this Thursday’s Croydon Tech City event at Matthews Yard, please sign up as ‘attending’ here or  to confirm your attendance.

Toni Letts

Toni Letts

Toni Letts has been a serving Croydon Labour Councillor since 1986. A retired CEO of a Housing Association, Toni was awarded an OBE for services to housing and the community in 1994. During her 28 years as a Councillor she has served Croydon as Mayor, Chair of Croydon Health Authority, Chair of Croydon NHS PCT and Chair of London NHS Specialised Commission and both chair and committee member of numerous charities. Currently cabinet member for Economic Development.

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