This week we began an important conversation with our staff, residents and partners and one that will continue throughout our journey to rebuild Croydon as a financially sustainable council.
We have set out in our renewal plans how we will tackle our financial challenges and ensure we provide the high-quality essential services and the value for money residents expect. Essential services we all rely on – like keeping our streets clean and safe, and tackling ingrained inequality and poverty by supporting and protecting our most vulnerable residents.
As I have said before, to achieve this and live within our means, we have to make significant savings over the next three years and this will involve some difficult decisions. However, these are decisions that we must make if we are to get Croydon back on track and become the council our communities need and want us to be.
I want to keep you informed and involved throughout as we do this and that is why this week, we have opened a public consultation on our initial savings proposals for 2021-24. We have to make changes, but before we make any decisions it’s important to us that we hear from you to understand how you think they might affect you and hear any other ideas you have.
You can read an overview of the savings proposals and give your views at www.croydon.gov.uk/savingsproposals. I hope as many people as possible will get involved, so if you need help accessing the internet, or filling in the survey, you can call 020 8604 7114 between 10am – 4pm, Monday– Friday.
This is just the start of a conversation about our future which will continue throughout our journey, so that together we can shape the services our communities need in line with the funding that we have.
It was amazing to see Croydon residents among the first in the world to receive the Covid-19 vaccine this week, giving them the best possible protection against the virus.
We are incredibly proud of our local NHS partners at Croydon University Hospital for all they have done for our communities throughout the pandemic and now, as one of the first hospital hubs to begin administering the Covid-19 vaccine.
To make sure that the most vulnerable people get it first, the vaccination programme will be phased, with residents over 80 in the first group, well as care home workers and NHS staff at higher risk.
The NHS will be advising people in priority groups when it’s the right time for them to come forward for the vaccine, so it’s important not to contact them for a vaccination before then.
And while this is very positive news, we must all remember that the vaccine is only part of our defence. Very worryingly cases have continued to rise in London and government will be reviewing the tiers in each region next week. We must continue to follow the restrictions which apply to London in Tier 2. These include not mixing with people from other households indoors and of course continuing to wash our hands regularly, wearing face coverings and keeping our distance – really sticking faithfully to these important rules will still save lives.
To find out more about the Covid-19 vaccine, please visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine.
I also want to thank all our residents who celebrated Hanukkah differently this week and due to the Tier 2 restrictions, didn’t see friends and family as they would have wanted.
These personal sacrifices are incredibly hard but as we can see from the data from our public health team and our hospitals, until the vaccine is widely available, reducing our social contact is the only way we stop the virus spreading. By not mixing with others indoors, we are keeping them and ourselves safe.
I would ask us all to keep this in mind as we prepare for the Christmas holiday season and the relaxations of the rules. I really encourage all of us to think very carefully about how we approach the period of the relaxations of the rules during 23-27 December – just because we can mix with more of our friends and family – does that mean we should? While we all might be looking forward to being with our friends and family after a tough year, the risks are still very real, particularly for our older and more vulnerable relatives. In all this the most important thing is to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe this season.
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council