Constituency Update from Sarah Jones

Address: Summer 2023

Constituency update – Summer 2023

Dear Friend,

As the holidays start and schools close, I hope you all have a lovely summer. I was happy to welcome some of Croydon’s wonderful campaigners, voluntary groups, and activists to Ruskin House as a thank you for their hard work.

I want to thank you all, too, for all you do to make our borough the very best in London, and a place that is marked out by its friendliness. I’m so proud to represent Croydon. Whilst Parliament is now in recess, it’s been an incredibly busy time in in politics. Read on to get a sense of how I’ve been representing you this summer.

The Conservative mortgage penalty hits hard

Lots of my constituents are getting in touch with me, worried about increasing mortgage payments, and families across Britain will be desperately worried about what the interest rate rise of 0.5%, to 5%, might mean for them. The Chancellor and Prime Minister are burying their heads in the sand.

It comes on top of news that due to the Tory mortgage penalty, payments are due to rise really considerably, by up to £2900 per year. It’s a crippling increase.

Labour’s five-point plan to help ease the Tory mortgage penalty and our Renters’ Charter would provide practical help right now. Longer-term, Labour will build a stronger, more secure economy and get it growing again. But the Tories must take responsibility, and they must act now.

Judgement handed down after the shocking murder of Matt Ratana

The murder of Sergeant Matt Ratana in the line of duty was a horrific act which shook policing and shook Croydon. Matt was a much loved and well respected officer, always putting others before himself.

The news of a whole life sentence for his murderer is justice served. But for Matt’s family, friends, colleagues, and the wider policing community, his loss casts a long shadow.

My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time. We must always remember the dangers that the police face as they go about their work.

Transport for London and Tram Operations Limited held to account for the Sandilands crash

Transport for London and Tram Operations Limited have been fined a total of £14 million for failings in their health and safety duties following the tragic deaths of 7 people in the Sandilands tram crash on 9th November 2016.

The judge noted that the ‘complacency’ around the lack of lighting and visual cues in the tunnel approaching the Sandilands stop was ‘disturbing’ and said that this ‘was undoubtedly an accident waiting to happen’.

Yesterday’s ruling means that TfL and TOL have been publicly and legally held to account for their failings. But we should be under no illusions: even with this ruling and an admission of guilt from the two companies, the crash will forever be a source of great pain for the families.

For the community in Croydon, who felt their grief so keenly, the 9th November will remain a day of remembrance.

I am 100% sure that the changes that have been made to the Croydon Tram system will mean that a crash like this can never happen again in our borough. But I cannot be 100% sure that every tram network across the country can say the same. I am disappointed that the Government still hasn’t completed its review into tram legislation that it promised me over 18 months ago. I will be asking the Minister again. We must finish this job for the sake of those who lost their lives.

My thoughts lie with the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

Campaigning for funding for Croydon’s trains

Croydon relies on its train connections, but we’re disadvantaged as a borough. Our network is in serious need of investment. It’s vital that funding for the Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme is included in the update to the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Croydon’s stations are in Zone 5, whilst stations farther from central London (in Chigwell and Hounslow) are in Zone 4. My constituents are disadvantaged to the tune of hundreds of pounds. I’ve written to the Minister asking him to ensure funding for CARS and rezone Croydon.

Please see my full letter here:

Croydon Women’s FC finish an amazing season

Celebrations were in full swing at Croydon Women’s FC, who were able to raise a glass to an amazing season. The first team came second and development team won the league and the cup. It’s a jewel in our Croydon crown: a real grassroots team. I’m so proud to be the honorary president of this great club.

Croydon Arena: big things ahead

My campaign to refurbish the Croydon Arena is continuing at pace. I’ve met again with representatives and stakeholders from Croydon FC, Croydon Harriers, Croydon Council, and the Palace for Life Foundation to press ahead. It’s a great site, but Croydon’s talented sportspeople deserve a really great space to hone their skills and practice. I hope and believe that we can deliver that.

Celebrating and recognising the Windrush generation

Many thanks to The Bishop of Croydon, Rosemarie Mallet, for a wonderful Windrush event. It was great to join other figures from Croydon to celebrate and recognise the extraordinary contribution of the Windrush generation. I have to mention, too, the amazing Caribbean food cooked by Brian Danclair, the owner of Fish, Wings, and Tings in Brixton Village!

From the NHS to business, the contribution of the Windrush generation runs deep. The Government has completely failed to treat them and their families with dignity and respect, even going so far as to disbanding the unit tasked with reforming the Home Office after the Windrush scandal and dropping crucial recommendations from the Windrush inquiry. Labour will fix the Windrush compensation scheme to get the Windrush generation the compensation they are owed.

I am still working on Windrush Compensation Cases that are outstanding, as a result of Government dragging its heels. One resident wrote to me stating that the Home Office had refused his Windrush Compensation application because he was unable to prove that he was in the UK between 1967-68. He told me of the challenges he faced in trying to provide year-by-year documentary evidence of his life in the UK when he was unable to claim benefits or put his name on a housing tenancy. The Home Office requires more evidence than just national insurance and tax records. It is a scandal that these types of cases remain outstanding.

If you have any Windrush related casework, don’t hesitate to contact my office and I will be happy to help you where I can.

Disgraced former Prime Minister Boris Johnson lied to Parliament

The evidence in the report from the Privileges Committee is damning. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson not only misled Parliament, but was found to be in contempt of Parliament. As you would expect, I was very happy to vote in support of those findings.

I spoke with Nicky Campbell on 5 live. The Prime Minister was too weak to deal with Boris Johnson, and whilst his Party obsessed over infighting, the state of public services has continued to fall. The NHS waiting lists are higher than ever, mortgage rates are spiralling, and he has no backbone. We’ve had 13 years of Tory failure. It’s time for a general election.

Listen to some thoughts here:

Fighting against antisemitism in Brussels

I was proud to represent the All Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism in Brussels at the Interparliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism. It was an interesting and necessary meeting, and the British delegation was joined by parliamentarians from all around the world. There is a lot of work left to do to tackle antisemitism online and off.

Listening to constituents at Croydon Residents Association meetings

It’s been a busy period for residents association Annual General Meetings. I have attended Park Hill, Addington, Spring Park Associations, the East Croydon Community Organisation AGM, and the Park Hill & Whitgift Safer Neighbourhood Team Annual General Meeting. It’s really useful to talk to people about their local concerns – certainly helps me do my job better.

Productive meeting with Westfield chief

I was pleased to host the UK Chief of Westfield in Parliament recently. As many of you will know, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield recently completed on a deal to buy Hammerson’s share of Croydon Partnership – making them the sole company with the rights to develop the centre of Croydon. I am committed to working with Westfield and other stakeholders to make sure that the centre sees the regeneration it needs. I am hoping we will see a master plan agreed before the end of the year, and begin to see movement on site in 2024.

Tackling antisocial behaviour and off-road bikes in Parliament

After a long night of 18 votes in Parliament voting on the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill, I was pleased to be in Westminster Hall with my brilliant Labour colleagues Kim Leadbeater and Ashley Dalton, where I raised the blight of antisocial behaviour associated with off-road bikes. Labour has a really strong raft of policies: we’ll recognise these crimes, make sure data is properly collected, and tackle them with new powers for the police and local authorities. Under this Government people no longer feel safe in their communities. Labour will change that.

Listening to Care to Listen in Addiscombe

It was great to meet with Sharon Thomas and Clare Wilcox from Care to Listen. It’s a brilliant service which sees 200 people a week for counselling and mental health support. And it’s great to have in the heart of Addiscombe!

Pledging my support for the Tamil community in Britain and abroad

Thanks to Tamils for Labour for organising an insightful event in Parliament. As we commemorate Black July, it’s vital to listen and understand the serious situation on the ground in Sri Lanka. The Labour Party stands with Tamils there and in diaspora, calling for justice, human rights, and accountability.

An eye-opening afternoon out with the Croydon Met Police.

I learned a lot whilst out with the Croydon Met Emergency Response Teams for a ride-along. We spent a busy Friday afternoon protecting the public across the borough. There were a huge variety of calls, and unsurprisingly lots of mental health calls too.

Response teams do a vital job, responding to the 999 emergency calls. I’m very grateful to those who hosted me and answered all my questions. I know I’ve taken a lot away to think about as part of my job as Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister.

A big win for SeeAbility campaign on eye tests in special schools

The roll-out of eye tests to all special schools is great news and a real testament to the work of SeeAbility and their campaigning. I’ve worked with them a lot in Croydon, and know just how important their work is at Redgates School. A really important issue: this new plan will be so impactful. I’m proud to have supported the campaign on this vital issue. A real step forward.

Togetherness and community at the Manju Shahul-Hameed Foundation

The Manju Shahul-Hameed Foundation Love Not Hate event was a show of real community togetherness.

It was great they were joined by Kim Leadbeater MP to remember her wonderful sister Jo Cox. Her words that, ‘we have more in common than that which divides us’ ring as true today as they did then.

Proud to stand with our Armed Forces with Sir Keir Starmer

Labour stands up for our Armed Forces, and we always will. We’re proud of our personnel, veterans, and their families for the contribution they make to our country.

I was very pleased to join Keir Starmer, Labour Friends of the Forces, and the Shadow Defence Team to celebrate our brave defence people ahead of Armed Forces Day.


Chaffinch Brook

I had a wonderful visit to Chaffinch Brook school earlier this month. Croydon desperately needs more special needs provision to ensure we can give our children the education they deserve. There is also a really serious shortage of speech and language therapists: another great concern.

John Ruskin College

Great to meet with Lindsay Pamphilon last month at John Ruskin College. It was great to see the new Construction Facilities, and fantastic to hear that the number of students is growing.

Croydon celebrates Pride!

I had the best day at Croydon Pride. Such an incredibly event: loads of incredible people and stalls and acts, all coming together to celebrate our queer communities. A massive well done to all the organisers. Croydon Pride is London’s second largest pride: it’s no mean feat running such a massive event.



Copyright © 2023 Sarah Jones, All rights reserved.

Apologies for the lack of pictures – they wouldn’t copy across this time