Podcast Episode 75 – Climate – rational action, and affordability

We bring you the speeches from our recent event in Purley with speakers Benjamin Elks from the Taxpayers’ Alliance and Harry Wilkinson from Net Zero Watch.

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Climate – rational action, and affordability

Image: By GodeNehler – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74650075

Join us on Wednesday 28th September for an evening talking about the climate, rational action, and affordability.

Our guests, Harry Wilkinson, Head of Policy at Net Zero Watch and Benjamin Elks of the Taxpayers’ Alliance will each present and hold a joint Q&A.

As energy prices rocket and everything from driving your car to changing your boiler becomes more restricted, Ben and Harry will be giving their thoughts on the government’s Net Zero measures.

Come along 7pm, upstairs at Elliott’s Bar, 5 High St, Purley CR8 2AF.

Benjamin Elks worked in pension prior to moving to the TPA last year working in Fundraising, Operations and Events.  Ben supported our recent action day with the TPA in Purley questioning executive pay at Croydon Council.  Ben has a degree in Politics and War Studies from the University of Wolverhampton and plays for a local rugby team in his spare time.  Ben can be found on Twitter at @elksy91.   

Harry Wilkinson is the Head of Policy at Net Zero Watch. Net Zero Watch aims to is highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. Harry has regularly written for the Conservative Woman and has appeared with us on our Podcast. Harry can be found on Twitter at @HarryWilkinsonn.   

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1119759738961387

The TaxPayers’ Alliance in Purley.

On Saturday 30th July we had a great morning out in Purley with the TaxPayers’ Alliance asking residents if they think Croydon’s former Chief Executive Jo Negrini was worth her £613,895, 2020-21 remuneration package.

The publics response was overwhelming and clear, with only one person saying they felt the former Chief Executive deserved the remuneration.

Photo’s and a short video from the day below.

Press Release: THE TAXPAYERS’ ALLIANCE, TOWN HALL RICH LIST ROADSHOW COMES TO PURLEY

The TPA are coming to Purley on the 30th July for the latest leg of the Town Hall Rich List Roadshow.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, was launched in 2004 to speak for ordinary taxpayers fed up with government waste, increasing taxation, and a lack of transparency in all levels of government.

Following years of waste at Croydon Council and the de facto bankrupting of the borough, they are coming to Purley on the 30th July for the latest leg of the Town Hall Rich List Roadshow.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have held several street stalls in Croydon prior to the issuing of a Section 114 notice and Croydon declaring de facto bankruptcy, these have focused on executive pay. Their review of Councillors’ allowances highlighted the premium rates councillors received compared to nearby colleagues, and the town has too often featured on their Blog.. The taxpayers and service recipients of Croydon would all be better off if the council had listened when the TPA all too frequently highlighted our town.

Now, with assistance from the Croydon Constitutionalists, they will be asking local residents whether they thought Croydon’s former Chief Executive Jo Negrini was worth her £613,895, 2020-21 remuneration package.

Locals will have the opportunity to have their say, by using ping pong balls to cast their votes. Croydon Council’s political make-up has changed, but with many tough years ahead this is an opportunity for people to say if they want to retain the council’s remuneration habits of the past.

The street stall will be open Saturday 30 July, 10:30 am – 1pm, outside 911 Brighton Rd, Purley CR8 2BP.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Michael Swadling at CroydonConstitutionalists@gmail.com.

Full Release PDF:

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, Town Hall Rich List Roadshow comes to Purley.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, was launched in 2004 to speak for ordinary taxpayers fed up with government waste, increasing taxation, and a lack of transparency in all levels of government.

Following years of waste at Croydon Council and the de facto bankrupting of the borough, they are coming to Purley on the 30th July for the latest leg of the Town Hall Rich List Roadshow.

With assistance from the Croydon Constitutionalists, they will be asking local residents whether they thought Croydon’s former Chief Executive Jo Negrini was worth her £613,895, 2020-21 remuneration package.

Locals will have the opportunity to have their say, by using ping pong balls to cast their votes.  Croydon Council has changed, but with many tough years ahead this is an opportunity for people to say if they want to retain the council’s remuneration habits of the past.

Come and join us, to help the people of Purley send a message to the council.

We hope to see you Saturday 30 July, 10:30 am – 1pm.  In Purley, outside Andrews Estate Agents 909-911 Brighton Rd, Purley CR8 2BP.

Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1RgXJZniH

Taxpayers’ Alliance – Town Hall Rich List 2022 – Croydon Council

Croydon adding insult to taxpayer injury with the highest paid executive, and once again leading the list of local boroughs with executives paid over £100K, according to report.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have issued their 2022 Town Hall Rich List of council employees in the UK in receipt of over £100,000 in total remuneration.  The list covers the financial year 2020-21, covering the period since residents have seen services cut following the issuing of a Section 114 notice, when the council declared de facto bankruptcy.  It’s not hard to see why the council ended up in this position when despite years of complaining about a lack of funding, and years of maximum council tax increases, Croydon Council had 29 staff earning over £100,000 a year (up from 19 the previous year), and with the former chief executive, Jo Negrini, receiving the highest remuneration of any council employee in the country at £613,895, which included a loss of office payment of £144,356 and a pension strain payment of £292,851.

To put the overall Croydon figures into context, neighbouring Sutton had just 14 staff whose remuneration exceeded £100,000.  Merton 12, Tandridge 1, and Reigate & Banstead 1.  Whilst our inner London neighbours Lambeth 27 staff and Lewisham 19 (both fewer than Croydon), Barnet a similar sized borough made do with just 8 staff on over £100K.  Some of the numbers for Croydon indicate the high turnover of staff, but surely during a period of front-line staff losing their roles, and lost services for the public, something and certainly more should have been done to control executive pay.

When we reviewed the TaxPayers’ Alliance Town Hall Rich List for 2021, we asked how when private sector organisations often benchmark salaries against other similar organisations the council clearly did not. Within the council, schools are required to benchmark themselves on a range of financial measures against other similar schools.  When the council requires emergency government funding, and undertakes a fire sale of assets like the Croydon Park Hotel sold at a £5 million loss, how is it possible for the council to be so blind to the pay of its own executives?

With a crumbling town centre, Purley Swimming Pool closed, libraries’ opening days reduced, rent increases, Council Tax increases, damning audit reports, and some council tenants living in squalor, how can it be acceptable that at £613,895 Croydon Council’s former chief executive Jo Negrini, received the highest remuneration of any council employee in the country?

With local elections in May, we ask Croydon residents to ask those seeking re-election, how they can justify their council tax payments being spent this way, and how with this track record of oversight they can justify being returned to office?

Croydon Council Pay over £100,000, 2020-21:

NameJob title Salary Loss of office Pension strain payments Sub total Pension Total
Jo NegriniChief executive £151,474 £144,356 £292,851 £588,681 £25,214 £613,895
 Undisclosed £207,500   £207,500  £207,500
Lisa TaylorFinance, investment and risk and interim s151 officer £162,134   £162,134 £39,968 £202,102
Shifa MustafaExecutive director, place £156,060   £156,060 £40,888 £196,948
Jacquline Harris-BakerExecutive director of resources and monitoring officer £156,060   £156,060 £40,888 £196,948
 Undisclosed £192,500   £192,500  £192,500
Guy van DicheleExecutive director (interim) of health, wellbeing & adults £150,411   £150,411 £36,505 £186,916
Hazel SimmondsExecutive director of gateway, strategy & engagement £137,700   £137,700 £36,077 £173,777
 Undisclosed £147,500   £147,500  £147,500
 Undisclosed £137,500   £137,500  £137,500
 Undisclosed £137,500   £137,500  £137,500
 Undisclosed £137,500   £137,500  £137,500
 Undisclosed £137,500   £137,500  £137,500
Katherine KerswellChief executive £105,326   £105,326 £27,595 £132,921
 Undisclosed £132,500   £132,500  £132,500
 Undisclosed £127,500   £127,500  £127,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £117,500   £117,500  £117,500
 Undisclosed £112,500   £112,500  £112,500
 Undisclosed £107,500   £107,500  £107,500
 Undisclosed £107,500   £107,500  £107,500
 Undisclosed £102,500   £102,500  £102,500
 Undisclosed £102,500   £102,500  £102,500

Full Report: https://assets.nationbuilder.com/taxpayersalliance/pages/17477/attachments/original/1648806766/Town_Hall_Rich_List_2022.pdf?1648806766

Council-by-council breakdown of data: https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.nationbuilder.com%2Ftaxpayersalliance%2Fpages%2F17477%2Fattachments%2Foriginal%2F1648806321%2FTown_Hall_Rich_List_2022.xlsx%3F1648806321&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK

Press Release:

TPA’s Quids Inn campaign

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has called for tax cuts to support Britain’s pubs. They have also issued new beer mats, which will be distributed in pubs across the country urging punters to sign their petition. Speaking to the invited audience at the Barley Mow pub, chairman and founder of JD Wetherspoon Tim Martin was adamant that if Britain’s boozers are to survive, the government must help this struggling sector.

Dan was there to report:

“It was fantastic to be able to join the TPA for the launch of their “Quids Inn” campaign.  After the last 16 months of lockdowns everybody certainly deserved a drink!  The current VAT reduction really should be extended beyond September to enable the hospitality industry to recover from the pandemic.

It was also great to catch up with so many stalwarts of the cause of freedom.  It is clear we are going to have to work together to ensure a classically liberal approach to the nation’s post-Covid future.”  

Don’t forget to sign the petition.
More photos and details of the campaign: https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/cheers_quids_inn_campaign_launches_new_beer_mats_calling_for_cheaper_pints

TaxPayers’ Alliance, Town Hall Rich List 2021 – Croydon Press Release

Croydon leading the list of local boroughs with executives paid over £100K, according to report.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have issued their 2021 Town Hall Rich List of council employees in the UK in receipt of over £100,000 in total remuneration.  The list covers the financial year 2019-20, and since then we have seen Croydon Council issue a Section 114 notice, declaring de facto bankruptcy.  It’s not hard to see why the council ended up in this position when despite years of complaining about a lack of funding, and years of maximum council tax increases, Croydon Council still had 19 people earning over £100,000 a year, with six people whose remuneration exceeded the salary of the Prime Minister.

To put this in context, neighbouring Bromley had just 9 staff whose remuneration exceeded £100,000.  Sutton had 10 staff, Merton 9, Tandridge 2, and Reigate & Banstead 6.  Whilst our inner London neighbours Lambeth had 18 and Lewisham 15 (both fewer than Croydon), Barnet a similar sized borough made do with just 9 staff on over £100K.

Private sector organisations often benchmark salaries against other similar organisations.  Indeed, within the council, schools are required to benchmark themselves on a range of financial measures against others similar schools.  We wonder if it has ever benchmarked their own executive salaries, and if it has, what conclusions they drew?  We can see why Croydon Council’s external auditors Grant Thornton described the situation at the council as follows:  “There has been collective corporate blindness to both the seriousness of the financial position and the urgency with which actions needed to be taken”.

The current council leader, and others in the cabinet were in the cabinet at the time these bumper salaries were being paid out.  What were they doing to control council expenses?  Of course we now know those councillors were in receipt of the highest average allowance in London.

Many things have changed at Croydon Council but the latest figures still show 16 people being paid over £100,000 and two on more than the nation’s Prime Minister.  Deep cuts are being made to front line jobs and services, can we say that is being reflected in the salaries of those at the top?

As council tax bills are landing in people homes, the people of Croydon who will pay for the mismanagement of the council budget have the right to ask, why we are being expected to once again pay more, when the those at the top of the council seem to be so well rewarded.

Croydon Council Pay over £100,000, 2019-20:

CouncilNameJob titleSalarySub totalPensionTotal
CroydonJo NegriniChief executive £189,165 £189,165 £29,193 £218,358
CroydonGuy Van DicheleExecutive director (interim) of health, wellbeing & adults £197,171 £197,171 £11,983 £209,154
CroydonShifa MustafaExecutive director, place £156,060 £156,060 £24,085 £180,145
CroydonJacqueline Harris-BakerExecutive director of resources and monitoring officer £153,936 £153,936 £23,795 £177,731
CroydonRobert HendersonExecutive director of children, families & education £148,886 £148,886 £22,986 £171,872
CroydonHazel SimmondsExecutive director of gateway, strategy & engagement £137,700 £137,700 £21,252 £158,952
Croydon Undisclosed  £157,500  £157,500
CroydonLisa TaylorDirector of finance, investment and risk and interim S151 officer £124,393 £124,393 £19,216 £143,609
Croydon Undisclosed  £137,500  £137,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £137,500  £137,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £137,500  £137,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £132,500  £132,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £117,500  £117,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £117,500  £117,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £117,500  £117,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £117,500  £117,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £117,500  £117,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £102,500  £102,500
Croydon Undisclosed  £102,500  £102,500

Full Report: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/taxpayersalliance/pages/17258/attachments/original/1617382775/Town_Hall_Rich_List_2021_Doc.pdf?1617382775

Council-by-council breakdown of data: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/taxpayersalliance/pages/17258/attachments/original/1617382651/Town_Hall_Rich_List_2021_Dataset.xlsx?1617382651

Croydon council: Testing our better angels – TaxPayers’ Alliance article

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have published an update on Croydon Council written by Mike Swadling of this parish.

“Ambitious for Croydon” was the Labour Party’s motto when they were duly elected to run Croydon again in 2018. Certainly, the plans have been ambitious; as has the spending that went with them. Whilst the budgets that underpinned these goals have largely received cross-party support, things quickly spiralled out of control, as many had predicted”

“makes it all the more galling that the council was forking out vast sums of local residents’ money on things such as solar panelled bins – and now they need to close rubbish tips, which will no doubt lead to more fly-tipping!”

“Croydon’s councillors voted to reduce £300,000 from councillor pay from April 2021. Better late than never, but this will still likely leave Croydon’s councillors in the top 20 per cent best remunerated in the country and top six in London. Is this really fitting for cabinet members who oversaw only the second council bankruptcy this century?”

“Against this backdrop, Croydon’s hard-pressed taxpayers are bound to ask what has changed. Highly paid executives and well-remunerated councillors oversaw a fiasco that has left local households to pick up the tab for many years to come.”

Full article: https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/croydon_council_testing_our_better_angels

The article has also been shared by The Future Cities Project at http://futurecities.org.uk/2021/03/18/croydon-in-crisis/

Video:

Press Release – Croydon Councillor Allowances

As Croydon goes bankrupt you don’t need to worry about its councillors going short.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have published a review of local authority councillor allowances – Councillors’ allowances 2020 – TaxPayers’ Alliance.  The report shows people who live just miles apart from each other may be represented by councillors who have similar workloads but are entitled to vastly different allowances.  This is true for the residents of Croydon.

In 2018-19 Croydon’s Councillors received a relatively modest basic allowance £11,407 for these ‘unpaid’ roles, although it should be noted this is the second highest rate in London.  What’s more alarming is when you average the total cost it comes to £21,784 per councillor.  Croydon councillors were the 11th most expensive of 398 councils across the country and the highest costing in London.

In the same time period neighbouring Sutton (£12,135) and Bromley (£12,111) were both much cheaper coming in 168th and 169th in average cost per councillor.  Croydon’s comparatively lavish allowances were being paid whilst the council’s external auditors Grant Thornton were, as recently reported, warning about low reserves and poor financial controls.  You have to wonder how they could justify these allowances whilst asking taxpayers for ever increasing amounts of money.

Since then the council has issued a Section 114 notice and gone into de facto bankruptcy.  After cutting services and making over 400 job cuts Croydon’s councillors have finally shared some of the burden.  On the 16th December Croydon’s councillors voted to reduce £300,000 from councillor pay from April 2021.  Whilst this is a welcome reduction it will still likely leave Croydon’s councillors in the top 20% best rewarded in the country and top 6 highest rewarded in London.  We ask, does this really reflect the damage Croydon Council’s poor administration has wrought on services in the borough?  Do the people of Croydon think their councillors who oversaw only the second council bankruptcy this century, deserve to be the in the top fifth for reward?

Drastic financial restructuring is needed at Croydon Council.  Services will be cut, regressive council taxes will increase, and likely more employees will lose their roles.  We commend Croydon’s Councillors for cutting £300,000 from their allowances, but this must only be a start.  Along with dramatic cuts for the citizens and staff, councillors should step up to the plate and aim to come in no higher than the average cost per councillor in London, still high for a bankrupt council but a reasonable sacrifice.

We ask Councillors Hamida Ali, and Jason Perry to work on further reducing allowances in Croydon.  Until then whatever else you worry about, as Croydon goes bankrupt, you don’t need to worry about its councillors going short.

“The staggering amount Croydon councillors were paid in allowances last year” – Story in MyLondon https://www.mylondon.news/news/staggering-amount-croydon-councillors-were-19497661