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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 August 2012

Tottenham: a year since the riots

Jane James, Haringey and Enfield Socialist Party

A year after the riots in London, the promised money agreed by London Mayor Boris Johnson and local government minister Eric Pickles to regenerate the riot areas has not materialised.

In Tottenham, the post office which was burned down during the riots is still an unsightly abandoned piece of land covered in rubble. The post office is now housed in what was a council rent office, while other council facilities have become overcrowded.

The local council offices on Tottenham High Road were closed down last year, but at least they covered the building in 'We love Tottenham' posters!

Many small shops have closed for good. Asda survived the riots thanks to its huge metal shutters.

The only charity shop left on High Road now has a poster in its window asking for donations! But at least the numerous betting shops on each side of the shop were doing a roaring trade.

Carnival cancelled

The Tottenham Carnival, which brought the community together each year, has been cancelled this year.

There are still are some independent shops and cafés, but they have to continually campaign to avoid being shut down to make way for more betting shops or overpriced housing developments for big companies.

The campaign to save Downhills School from being made into an academy received huge support from the community. Ironically it is Lord Harris - whose furniture shop was burnt down in the riots - who is sponsoring the unwanted academy.

We should not forget that a year later there is no closure for the family of Mark Duggan. Rioting started four days after Mark was shot and killed by police in Tottenham on 4 August 2011.

Youth services cut

In 2011 young people in the area, alongside Youth Fight for Jobs, campaigned to save their youth services. But youth services have still not been brought back to the level they were before the cuts.

The latest statistics from the End Child Poverty campaign reports that 41% of children in Tottenham are living in poverty. The number of children whose families are on unemployment benefit is double the national average.

No doubt the Labour Party, which controls Haringey council, will dutifully push through the next tranche of cuts in the autumn, saying there is no alternative. But the Socialist Party will continue to call for no cuts and demand that Tottenham and the other areas affected by the riots must be regenerated with the participation of the community.


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