Everyone in Croydon will share my horror and despair at the scenes from Ukraine and the sustained and unprovoked attacks we are witnessing on innocent citizens. Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine. Across London, communities have rallied to demonstrate their support, with centres inundated with donations for those affected. Many of our residents will have family or friends in Ukraine and will be worried for their safety, and my thoughts are with them at this time. You can donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine humanitarian appeal, which is collecting to help provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and protection for those fleeing the conflict.
I know many of our residents will be understandably concerned about the rising cost of living and Croydon stands ready to help. In our proposed 2022/23 budget – due to be considered by council next week – we have protected those essential services that residents rely on, while keeping the council tax increase for local services to less than £1 a week for most residents. Through our council tax support scheme, we will continue to protect those in most need of support from having to pay any council tax at all, while making the scheme easier to access. Our strong progress in tackling Croydon’s financial challenges means that we are able to balance our budget this year, while investing in our communities’ future needs. We are also putting money aside to ensure we can be there for our residents when they need us, whatever is around the corner. If you need advice or support about accessing essentials like food or fuel, or help with financial difficulties or debt, you can find information on our webpages.
Next week, we will celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March) and the theme is #BreaktheBias. In Croydon we have led the way with our community pledges on equalities and race, asking organisations across Croydon to commit to action, not just words, to create a fairer Croydon. As a council we will have a focus on promoting gender equality across our workforce and the wider community next week as we launch our Equalities Pledge and encourage organisations across Croydon to sign up to create a more equal future for our borough.
Have a good weekend
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council.