Saturday, March 21, 2009

Letter on Sustainable Communities Act

The text of the letter is below. Please support our petition regarding Sustainable Communities Act

12th March 2009

Dear Editor,

A few of your readers may have noticed the Conservative PPC for Croydon North’s ‘Save Our Shops’ posters in shop windows north of the borough. Any campaign to support local independent retailers is worthy. As many shopkeepers in the Thornton Heath and Norbury area know, the Greens have been leading the way with a “Support Your Local Shops” poster campaign over the last three years. The idea is to remind shoppers to support their local independent stores. Indeed the Federation of Small Businesses indicated that the Green party manifesto in 2008 was the most sympathetic to small enterprise. So, I am pleased the Tories appear to have come round to our way of thinking.

Greens recognise that a local economy built on thriving independent shops improves the vitality of the community and crucially keeps profits in the area, rather than benefiting some remote corporate headquarters.

However, I am concerned that the Conservative party’s campaign is not principled and merely posturing. If the Croydon Conservatives are really keen to support local shops then this Conservative council can do something right now by ‘opting in’ to the Sustainable Communities Act.

Thanks to this piece of legislation, which was championed by groups such as the National Federation of Postmasters and Help the Aged, councils can put forward proposals to government which assist the economic wellbeing of a community.

For example, councils can pressurise central government to abolish uniform business rates – coincidentally introduced by the Conservatives in 1990 – which has a negative impact on small businesses. Lambeth and Lewisham councils have signed up to this Act, so why not Croydon?

I can only conclude that the Croydon Conservatives must be ‘signed up’ to the big business agenda resulting in the unrestricted growth of supermarkets and cloned retail parks which shopkeepers regularly identify to me as the main reason why they are closing down.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party
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