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Conservatives Gavin Barwell, Chris Philp and Vidhi Mohan publish joint general election manifesto for Croydon


THE Conservatives have released a manifesto ahead of next May's general election.

The 20,000-word document has been jointly published today by Gavin Barwell, Croydon Central MP, alongside Chris Philp and Vidhi Mohan, prospective Parliamentary candidates for Croydon South and Croydon North.

In it they state Croydon "could be one of the best places in the country to live".

But it says the trio are not "blind" to the problems facing the borough, including an "unattractive" town centre, district centres in "desperate need of investment" and a "bad-natured political culture".

Among the 33 goals listed in the manifesto are tax incentives to encourage small and medium size businesses to relocate to Croydon and creating a wider choice of education including a grammar school.

They also pledge to lobby the government for "fairer" funding for schools, health services and the council, and call for changes to council housing criteria so people will have to have lived for longer in the UK before receiving help.

Labour criticised the Conservatives after the party decide against releasing a manifesto ahead of the local elections in May.

Mr Barwell said the general election document was a recognition they had got it wrong.

"I think it was a mistake for the Conservative Party not to publish a manifesto," he said.

"Any political campaign is going to have a mixture of positive and negative messages because most voters are not ardent supporters of any of the parties and, for them, an election is a choice between the least bad option.

"So you're bound sometimes to tell people what they won't like about the other parties.

"But if you don't have something - like a manifesto - which has a strong, positive theme to it, and tells people what you are going to do, then I think that's a mistake."

The Advertiser will have full analysis of the Conservative's joint manifesto later this week.

Until then, here is the 33-strong list of things the three prospective candidates say they want to achieve for Croydon. Let us know what you think below.

- Full employment – a job for everyone who wants one.

- Above-inflation increases in the minimum wage to ensure everyone gets a fair reward for their hard work.

- Deliver the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre by Westfield and Hammerson as soon as possible.

- Transform the environment in the town centre to make it a much more attractive place to visit.

- Offer small and medium sized businesses tax incentives to relocate here.

- Regenerate our district centres.

- Raise standards in our schools so that every child - apart from those a significant learning difficulty - gets at least a C grade in English and Maths.

- Give parents a wider choice of schools – hopefully including one or more grammar schools.

- Work to open a campus of Roehampton University in Croydon.

- Reform the EU's freedom of movement rules so that we can reduce immigration.

- Give more priority to tackling violent crime including sexual violence.

- Reform stop and search to increase community confidence in the police.

- Raise standards at Croydon University Hospital.

- Ensure mental health is given the priority it deserves.

- Build more homes, but in the right places – no development of our precious green spaces.

- Oppose Labour's plan to make private landlords pay a £200 a year tax on every property they rent out – which they will simply pass on to already hard-pressed tenants.

- Increase the amount of time you have to have lived in the country before you get on the waiting list for council housing.

- Improve the A23, Croydon's key link to the motorway network, at Fiveways and Purley Cross.

- Increase capacity and improve reliability on rail services to London Bridge and Victoria and improve key stations like East Croydon.

- Increase capacity on and extend our tram system.

- Secure funding from the Government to help Croydon Council provide sufficient school places.

- A new larger A&E Department at Croydon University Hospital and an Urgent Care Centre at Purley Hospital.

- Fairer funding from the Government for our schools, the NHS in Croydon and Croydon Council.

- Make sure every household has access to a bin and recycling facilities, start to penalise those who won't recycling and prosecute those who flytip rather than just cleaning up after them.

- Encourage more people to cycle by making our roads more cyclist friendly.

- Renovate the Fairfield Halls so that it can put on a wider range of shows.

- Refurbish leisure centres in New Addington and Purley and build a new leisure centre in the town centre.

- Improve facilities at one of our major parks so that it compares with somewhere like Battersea Park or the new Queen Elizabeth II park.

- Set up a mentoring scheme to help bright children from families where no-one has gone to university before achieve their potential.

- Support a cap on the amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive so that they don't get more than the average working family.

- Negotiate a 'City Deal' with the Government giving the Council control over some welfare spending so we can use it to transform people's lives, not just help them make ends meet.

- Protect pensioner benefits like the Freedom Pass.

- Work with those from other parties where we agree, be civil where we disagree and think about the needs of the borough as a whole rather than pitting one part of it against another.

Conservatives Gavin Barwell, Chris Philp and Vidhi Mohan publish joint general election manifesto for Croydon

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