As is the case at all the political party conferences, the real work is done away from the TV screens and main conference hall. Monday, for me as Croydon’s council leader, was such a day.
8.30am – It’s a conference breakfast discussion on the key role of retail in helping to drive regeneration. A lively roundtable discussion hosted by Tony Travers followed, and there was much discussion about training and employment opportunities, as well as changing shopping patterns. Thanks to the excellent John Lewis Partnership for hosting the event.
10.30am – I have now been joined by Croydon cabinet colleagues Alison Butler and Mark Watson for an excellent meeting with the housing charity Shelter. We discussed the housing supply crisis affecting affordable housing as a result of government cuts, Croydon’s scheme to license private landlords to ensure affordable and decent accommodation for all, and much more. It was great to hear Shelter’s support for our Labour administration’s early decision to increase the supply of affordable housing in Croydon to 30%.
11.30am – We have now moved on to a really positive meeting with one of the country’s leading housing associations, to hear about its ideas on how to increase the supply of affordable housing in Croydon, so that those on average incomes might get a foot on the housing ladder. The need to increase the supply of housing of all types is one of Croydon’s biggest challenges, and one the council has a key role in helping to deliver.
1pm – Lunch with some Croydon colleagues sitting outside in the square next to the magnificent Manchester Town Hall. These types of pedestrian-friendly spaces are something we definitely need more of in Croydon.
2pm – It was great to get some time to pop into the main conference hall to hear the speeches from jubilant Scottish colleagues, rightly celebrating the victory last week to keep the UK together. In my view, the setting up of a false border between us and our Scottish friends, if the referendum had gone the other way, would have been an appalling outcome.
4pm – A cup of tea
4.30pm – A meeting with Labour’s brilliant parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones.
5.00pm – Back to Manchester Town Hall for discussions with leaders of other London councils.
7.30pm – I am speaking at a housing debate, along with some other council leaders, and Labour’s shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds MP. The commitment from everyone involved to really ensure that a Labour government makes tackling the housing crisis one of its main priorities is great to see.
10.00pm – Call a taxi, back to the hotel and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.
Leader, Croydon Council