‘I am standing as I believe I can truly make a difference to the lives of the people in Croydon North’.
In this election I am by far the most broadly experienced candidate. I am far from your average politician, who has no experience of the real world. I have a unique combination of knowledge at the highest levels of local Government, and at the very grassroots of local activism.
I have dedicated my life to challenging discrimination and injustice wherever I have found it and will use the same tenacity and meet the needs of Croydon North. I have a vision of a Croydon North that fully engages and delivers for its residents. The mainstream parties continuously fail to produce and implement successful policies and repeatedly go back on their promises.
‘As your MP I intend to stand up for the moral centre of politics and to defend the poor from the ravages of austerity’.
As a candidate who is not from one of the three main parties, I do not have to pander to a Parliamentary whip. Therefore the concerns of the people of Croydon North will be my only concern in Parliament.
I have extensive local plans to regenerate Croydon North, as well as tackle issues from unemployment to the lack of housing, from cycling to fuel poverty and from crime to education.
There is so much work to be done for Croydon North to reach its full potential and I hope to get started soon.
Sure Start and Primary Education
The confusion around cuts to the Early Intervention Grant has left an air of uncertainty about the future of Council grants and programme. These cuts will threaten programmes like Sure Start and short breaks for disabled children. Councils fear that there will be 20% cuts in their early years and family intervention programmes. In addition to special education needs provisions of primary school children are also under threat.
Cuts to early years and those for disabled children are likely but we still have time to reverse these issues. The Government have engaged in a number of policy you-turns this year already.
If elected I will campaign to ensure that this is another one. We must protect funding and resources for our young people.
Stop and search
Racial profiling and stop and search fosters complete distrust between BME communities and the police. There is a lot of work to do to repair this damaged relationship, but I believe it is wholly possible. I will campaign against stop and searches driven by racial profiling and performance targets and organise the fight back against judicial racism both locally and nationally.
BME people can be the perpetrators of crime like any others but they are often also the victims. How can they feel protected if those tasked with the job are also seen to be their harassers? I will be calling for the recommendations of the McPherson to be reinstituted and reinforced.
I will also seek to introduce a informal complaint resolution procedure where people who have complaints but who do not want or trust the official complaint procedure, can sit with police officers to discuss their issues. This will allow the police to understand the people of Croydon North whilst also educating the residents on the issues and challenges faced by police officer.
Challenging the cuts and clearing the deficit
The Governments economic policy is morally indefensible and wholly illiterate.
‘The tax breaks for millionaires and welfare cuts for the poorest is but one glaring example of the economic injustice that the people of Britain are suffering under this Tory-led Government’.
My position is simple - the Government cuts are unnecessary and they are damaging our society. We need investment in public services. The deficit can be cleared easily using other means.
If we only collected the estimated £120 billion pound in Corporation Tax owed to the Britain, brought the troops home from illegal wars in the Middle East, cancelled the Trident Nuclear programme, and claimed a return from our bank bailout - then we could redress the deficit and have plenty left over to invest in jobs and services.
Britain currently spends £12 million a day in Afghanistan and even with the economic downturn we are the 7th richest country in the world. Despite this we can’t seem to afford to feed our poorest children. 50% of children in London now live below the poverty line.
Furthermore what many don’t know is that since the tax payer bailed out the banks they have made substantial returns on our investment. The Government are aware of this but have allowed the banks to store up these funds instead of insisting that it be paid back into the public coffers.
‘They nationalised the debt and privatised the profit’.
Britain seems to find endless money for wars and weapons but fall short when asked to provide decent pensions, eradicate fuel poverty, or keep hospitals and libraries open. The decisions of this Government have proved that they have their priorities all wrong, at the expense of the majority of middle and low income families like those in Croydon North.
Local anti-cuts and closure campaigns
As the MP for Croydon North I would enter Parliament with an explicit anti-cuts agenda. I aim to work with local campaigns opposing cuts and closures to libraries, police stations and the continuing privatisation of the NHS.
‘We can send a clear and unmistakable message to the Tories and the Lib Dem’s that ‘we reject their false economics that see the poor made poorer whilst the rich get, get richer’.
In the House of Commons and locally I will provide yet another strong voice to the growing chorus of economists and politicians who understand that the austerity is choking the economy, stifling growth and creating endemic poverty and long term unemployment.
High levels of unemployment are plaguing our society. The longer people stay out of work the harder it will be to get them into the job market. The Governments approach is disingenuous and it is their own actions that have worsened this crisis.
It has already been proven that disadvantaged groups have disproportionally faced greater job cuts. If elected I will push for an inquiry into this issue. I wholly agreed with the Fawcett campaigns legal challenge against the Government when the cuts were announced. I agree that as a public body the Government should comply with its own equalities legislation and carry out equality impact assessments on the effects of Government policy - namely spending cuts.
The new employment figures appear to show a glowing report of the Government. But these are slightly deceptive. Yes, technically unemployment has gone down, however it is actually the case that many have been forced into temporary and part-time work. This has had devastating effects on the incomes of many families who are struggling to live on such low incomes. Employers have been allowed to reduce pay and reduce hours, with no reprimand from the Government. This is something that I intend to fiercely challenge in Parliament.
I am completely against the Governments work experience scheme which sees Job Centres’ force individuals to work for private companies in order to receive their jobseekers allowance. This is ridiculous and indefensible. If private companies require the labour then they should be encouraged to hire and pay these individuals a full wage. Additionally the Government have the power to enforce a living wage and I will be campaigning for such a wage to implemented locally and nationally.
‘Youth unemployment is a particular concern of mine. We have over 20% of our young people unemployed. Amongst the BME community this is as much as 50%’.
We cannot continue to fail our young people in education and then fail them in the jobs market.
As well as lobbying the Government for effective solutions I want to establish a local work scheme so that every public sector contract secured by business in the borough must be required to take on Apprentice’s or offer small business mentoring, shadowing opportunities. The council has every right to impose such measures, it simply requires the will. Every pound spent must be used to lever additional employment or business start up opportunities for local people. Businesses in our community must benefit our community.
Education is the gateway to opportunity. Many of the cuts made by the Government and subsequently Croydon council are severely damaging the future of our young people. Excessive childcare cost at nursery level right up to the unfair university fees have blighted the young and I will robustly challenge this in parliament when I become MP for Croydon North.
Sure Start and Primary Education
The confusion around cuts to the Early Intervention Grant has left an air of uncertainty about the future of Council grants and programmes.
‘These cuts will threaten programmes like Sure Start and short breaks for disabled children’.
Councils fear that there will be 20% cuts in their early years and family intervention programmes.
Cuts to early years and those for disabled children are likely but we still have time to reverse these issues. The Government have engaged in a number of policy you-turns this year already. If elected I will campaign to ensure that this is another one.
‘We must protect funding and resources for our young people’.
Further and Higher Education
The decision of Croydon Council to cut funding to voluntary groups providing essential support for children’s learning was potentially unlawful and discriminatory.
If elected I will use the Equalities Act to legally challenge Croydon Councils decision to cut the £100,000 Education Community Grants Programme to 16 BME supplementary education youth support projects.
‘EMA was a lifeline to many young people including those in Croydon North’.
The Government’s decision to abolish it was cruel and incomprehensible, placing even more financial hardship on students and their families. If elected I will fight to have this reversed.
The past few years have seen an unprecedented attack on higher education. The previous New Labour Government opened the floodgates by first introducing tuition fees with the argument for would ensure that more people would be given the chance to go to university. In 2004 the argument for top-up fees was to support an increasing demand. Then despite a pledge by the Lib Dems to scrap fees all together they sealed the Tories onslaught by tripling tuition fees, claiming it to be the only way to maintain the higher education system. There is always another way.
If students and their families are asked to pay even more for education, why are the cuts to education so harsh? Also what legitimate reason does this government have of turning students away in their thousands as it not only cut funding but also University places?
I will continue to stand for a free and fair further and higher education, complete with the living grants that are essential to study. Other high income nations are investing in their higher education because they realize that they need an educated workforce if they are to compete on a global scale. Britain must do the same.
To support the students of Croydon North to fulfil their full potential I will lead a local campaign to encourage large and medium sized business to contribute to a bursary education scheme through local charities to support young people into higher education.
At a time where community facilities are being cut and closed down its important that we provide space for supplementary and adult learning, as well as sporting and community events. Croydon Council recently cut £100 from 16 BME supplementary schools this decision I believe is potentially discriminatory under the Equalities Act 2010 and if elected I will use my office to legacy challenge the councils potential discriminatory decision.
‘I envisage a Croydon North in which schools are community hubs providing breakfast clubs and after school hour youth work and learning opportunities’.
I will campaign and lobby for resources to make such local initiatives a reality.
In addition it is important to ensure that parents are as involved in the education of local children as possible. Therefore I would ensure that parents receive training to become school governors and will audit existing school representation.
Croydon North Learning Zone
If elected, I would like to help build a Croydon North that values lifelong learning, youth development and community engagement. Therefore I will lead a local effort to a develop a strategic plan establishing a high profile multi agency and integrated cultural, sporting and learning environment in Croydon North. I will seek support from the voluntary, private and statutory public sectors in coming together to provide a dynamic, creative and powerful agenda for personal development and civic engagement.
This will provide much needed vision and local leadership providing clear pathways for local people to local supplementary education, civic, cultural and economic development activities. Providing increased access to new premises and facilities for a broad range of local community learning, cultural and sporting activities.
‘I will call on parents to support a local campaign to persuade local schools, colleges and private sector business to join Croydon Learning Zone and open up their premises and expertise to the local community’.
Croydon North Learning Zone will include adult learning, youth empowerment workshops, public awareness campaigns on public health, cultural and sports and a range of other activities that will help all residents and young people addresses those issues that act as barriers to personal development or wider civic engagement.
Consultation and accountability
I am the former Policing Director for London.
‘I am the candidate with the most in depth experience in reducing crime and improving police community relations’.
Boris Johnson plans to abolish Croydon Police Consultative Groups removing a vital forum for local police accountability established by Lord Scarman. This is in effect removing local accountability of the policing of Croydon North and handing these local arrangements over to the Mayor.
If elected I will oppose these dangerous proposals and if abolished I will seek to establish through consultation a new local Police accountability forum.
‘I will oppose Boris Johnson plans to further cut police numbers and police stations’.
Croydon North cannot be simply abandoned in the fight against crime and the cuts to police numbers and closure of police stations will leave whole communities vulnerable to criminal exploitation.
I will lead a campaign of local people taking the fight to save our police service straight to City Hall and convene local Community Crime Action Groups to discuss how best communities can respond to the ‘criminal’ withdrawal of much need policing services.
Supporting young people at risk of crime in Croydon North
My grass roots experience of establishing Operation Trident, a community led police partnership that was designed to tackle gun violence in black communities established in 1998 means that I have in depth experience in tackling this issue.
‘I have over 15 yrs of pioneering anti gang and youth violence campaigns under my belt combined with my 8 years as Policing Director for London’.
I have both the professional expertise and the authentic credibility needed to lead and develop work with young people at risk.
I will work hard to facilitate a constituency wide comprehensive multi agency youth empowerment programme designed to prevent, divert or rehabilitate those young people who are at risk of becoming involved in crime or those who wish to turn their lives around.
I will work hard to improve the capacity building for Voluntary and community youth diversion projects and help pull together a consortium of experts providers lead by and delivered by young people themselves.
I will also work with the Police to investigate what is causing individuals to turn to crime and working on treating the root causes of crime.
Using confiscated criminal assets to give back to the community
Currently the Metropolitan Police Service and Croydon Police Service confiscate millions of pound annually from criminals as part of their Confiscated Assets programme including cash and property. These millions are then taken away from Croydon and given to the Home Office with little or no record of what’s done with them.
‘I want to close down serious criminal networks’.
Moreover by seizing illegal assets such as cars, houses, cash and property we create funding for hard pressed high crime communities to help them in their effort to reduce crime in their area. I want to close crack houses and drug dens and open community resources at no additional cost to the tax payer. We can use this money to invest and improve the areas where crime has an impact on resident’s lives.
In seeking to tackle of all aspect violence in Croydon North what is needed is a high profile public campaign educating the public about the scale cost and terrible consequences of violence. Such a campaign would begin in schools and colleges raising awareness and warning about the problems of violence suffered by the entire community focusing on the most vulnerable, women, children, families and communities.
These initiatives work. Whilst at the Greater London Authority I supported programmes and witnessed the results of how effective campaigns could bring down incidences of violence against women in London.
Women’s support organisations have been brutally affected by the cuts and I will work with local groups to find sources of funding and sustainable ways to continue providing their much needed services.
‘I will also work with existing organizations to establish a priority of the prosecution of domestic violence and sexual crimes committed against women and children’.
A public health approach to tackling violence
Decades of international research prove that all young people respond best to direct public appeals from communities and victims when dealing with youth violence.
I would launch a campaign for the adoption of a public health style preventive multi agency approach to tackling violence. Working in schools, colleges, hospitals, social landlords and other agencies this successful strategy has been used internationally with proven results in reducing violence.
The police and the community – working together
‘Cooperation, mutual understanding and respect are the only effective ways for a police force and the community to work together’.
I will campaign for local Police to be properly trained in understanding and respecting the needs of the people of Croydon North. I will also establish an independent annual citizens crime concern survey that can be the basis of determining a policing strategy for Croydon North on an annual basis.
I will establish a no blame Police/Community mediation scheme that allows for citizens to request a meeting with individual police officers to discuss complaints where the individual does feel comfortable in making a formal complaint.
‘Croydon North is the most neglected area of Croydon’.
Many other constituencies have benefitted so much from regeneration projects, bringing more trade and improving the general quality of life and services for those living in the area. This is what I want for Croydon North.
If elected I will work to put Croydon North on the map by promoting a joint effort in maximizing employment and business start up opportunities and encouraging funding for regeneration.
Can’t Park Can’t Shop
In times such as these we need radical action to kick-start the local economy and the biggest barrier to encouraging local shopping is parking restrictions.
‘I will lead a public campaign with local businesses on in the area to lift draconian restrictive parking restrictions that deter many potential customers’.
Attracting and sustaining business opportunities
Croydon North needs a plan to attract much needed business opportunities. I will lead a campaign to establish with business, charitable and the public sector a Croydon North Business Task Force that works in consultation with local people and in partnership with experts and others such as successful local businesswomen Mary Portas and Hilary Devey. I want to secure investment and redesign London Rd into a major tourist attraction.
‘I will support the idea of the establishment of Croydon Tech City a local initiative designed to create a new tech business zone in North Croydon’.
This is exciting growth sector where young people can thrive creating new start up business in a supportive environment.
Croydon North has many local assets and spaces which it can use to the benefit of all. For example I will explore a partnership with Crystal Palace Football Club for the use of their stadium to hold national and international conferences that will enhance the commercial visibility of Croydon North and bring much needed business to the area.
Financial support and solutions
In difficult financial times such as this people need real solutions to their financial issues, particularly when the Government is offering little or no assistance.
Credit unions – People are worth more than money
If elected I will actively encourage and support local people to create and join credit unions. These organisations are member-owned and provide all types of financial advice including savings, credit and debt management. By helping the community take control of their finances credit unions will help start small business and provide lower rate loans.
They are not for profit so it is all about local people coming together collectively to manage their money.
No to Wonga week and cash-chequing shops
Trade Unions have dubbed the week before pay day as ‘Wonga Week’ – when for many the financial situation for many has become so hard that they are constantly taking out payday loans with extortionate interest rates. This is added to by the proliferation of cash chequing shops and readily available loan sharks.
‘These are driving the poorest in our community into further debt’.
I will actively campaign against more cash chequing shops, loan sharks and pay day loan dependency. Instead this must be replaced with beneficial financial advice and less costly solutions to get out of debt, such as credit unions.
Energy bills have gone up by as much as 20%, causing immense financial hardship and meaning that many are struggling to heat their homes.
Health can be seriously affected by cold and badly insulated homes impacting on the most vulnerable in our society and costing the NHS almost a billion pounds a year. Regardless of this the Government cut the Winter Fuel allowance for pensioners as well as the budget for the Warm Front programme. This is an absolute disgrace and if elected I will campaign to have these reinstated.
We need to develop longer term solutions to these issues. Therefore I will lobby the Government to use money raised from carbon taxes to make our homes energy efficient. Such an initiative has the potential to create thousands of jobs, is good for the environment and creates a viable solution for using less energy for lower bills.
I will also sing up and many constituents as I can to encourage collective switching negotiating a lower fuel tariff for as many people as possible. Our elderly should not be forced to decide between heat or food.
Environment Recycle and Re-energise
Climate change and environmental degradation are two of the greatest threats humanity face. Locally and internationally poor environmental conditions have the worst effect on the most deprived in society.
‘Environmental change can bring so many benefits to a community. This is why I support investment in a green economy, green jobs and a sustainable future’.
As a nation it is important to take swift and decisive action against climate change. This is why I believe there should be an extensive reduction in carbon emissions.
I would like to lead Croydon North in doing their part to make a difference to our local environment. Education and resources to recycle need to be made more readily available. Therefore if elected I would run a campaign alongside the council to raise awareness of recycling as well as increasing the resources such as recycling points to encourage the practice.
I would also seek funding to regenerate Croydon North’s green spaces alongside local community groups, developing and maintaining them for the enjoyment and practical use of all residents.
I will fiercely oppose plans and support the campaign to oppose any plans by local Council to build in incineration plant that will turn Croydon into the waste capital of London.
‘As a keen cyclist I know how dangerous our roads can be’.
With the financial crisis impoverished communities are turning to bikes for transport.
The increased cost of public transport means more and more people will be cycling. We have to plan for the future and build a cycling culture in Croydon North for the sake of the environment, to help save lives and reduce serious injury.
I completely support a reduction in the speed limit on local roads it is proven method of to save peoples the lies of both pedestrians and cyclists.
I will campaign for cycle safety training to be offered at schools as well as wider promotion of Croydon Councils previous cycling proficiency schemes.
Businesses’ need to become ‘bike-friendly’ by providing shower facilities, safe cycle storage and supporting low cost cycle purchase schemes. I would argue for more cycle parking schemes and ensure that it is compulsory for new building developments to include the issue of cycling as part of any new development or urban planning.
My plan if elected is to undertake a public consultation to help develop and launch an integrated Cycling Plan for Croydon North including issues such as traffic light sequencing and tackling the poor state of our roads.
I would want to explore supporting or creating a cycling accessible velodrome to benefit from increased interest post Olympics. I would also seek planning permission and obtain funding for the creation of a BMX track for youngsters.
I believe that existing cycle routes are connected and vastly expanded and would like to work with other campaigning organisations that work to promote safe cycling to produce a concrete plan for Croydon North.
Boris’ failure to extend his cycling scheme to boroughs such as Croydon is another snub to outer London boroughs. Croydon North could benefit from such a scheme and I will lobby City Hall to find out why this has not be done and to ensure that it is implemented.
The lack of decent housing presents a serious issue in London. The failure of successive Labour and Conservative Governments to build adequate social housing has left us in this predicament.
‘I will continue to argue that the Government should build more social and affordable housing’.
At the same time I will also argue for vacant properties to be made available to the council, as well as promoting schemes to help young professionals get onto the property ladder.
If elected I will speak up in Parliament against the Governments damaging decisions on housing and housing benefits that have discriminated against under 25’s, single people and has left many from disadvantaged backgrounds with few options.
Challenging discrimination, celebrating diversity and anti-racism
Attempts to scapegoat minority communities and immigrants for the austerity drive of this government must be challenged. David Cameron has done little to discourage the well known racism that follows economic downturns. In fact his actions such as his infamous speech suggesting that “multiculturalism has failed” are a reactionary disgrace.
‘Croydon North is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith and diverse community a fact that should be celebrated’.
I stand in support of all BME and religious communities to live and worship freely. If elected I would want to create a forum of all such groups to hold me to task on delivering their needs. These groups are the cornerstones of our community and need an effective and accountable voice.
As a seasoned equality campaigner, the chair of the National Assembly Against Racism and the former lead on race issues in the GLA I have the most experience in this election on tackling race from the streets to the institutions. Whilst I served my term incidences of racism went up everywhere in the country except for in London.
‘I am dedicated to creating a tolerant anti-racist Croydon North that respects all its residents’.
International Peace and Justice
People often criticise the mention of international peace and justice in British elections as irrelevant to local issues. However they are crucial in our increasingly globalised world. I also understand the concerns of the people in Croydon North realising that they have links in many countries across the world and even where they do not they are concerned about the development and welfare of others in our global community.
We as citizens have a right to challenge the unjust impact Britain has on other countries, as it is effectively done in our name. I don’t believe we as a country should be involved in immoral, illegal and unjustifiable wars in the Middle East, fuel by Islamophobia. These wars have cost lives, including British lives and have left this country billions of pounds in debt. Both the US and the UK failed the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
‘If elected I will campaign for peace justice and equality. I will support the demand to bring British troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq and oppose the Trident Nuclear submarine programme’.
I am proud to say that I also support progressive movements in Latin America, the self-determination of the Palestinian people, stand against unnecessary international military interventions and support the cancellation of debt for countries in Africa and other low income countries across the world that are trapped by unreasonable Western debt.
This campaign is all about Respect.
Elect Lee Jasper. Respect