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

How to avoid Croydon’s fate – Harry Fone article for Conservative Home

Harry Fone the Grassroots Campaign Manager for the TaxPayers’ Alliance has written in Conservative Home, on how to avoid the fate of Croydon Council.

“Between 1997 and 2010, before the cuts, Croydon Council raised rates 13 out of 14 years, leaving it with the seventh most expensive council tax charges in London”

“Frankly, access to loans from the PWLB was all too easy. One former council leader described the process as “absolutely bonkers” having requested hundreds of millions of pounds only to receive it “three days later.”

“As Council Tax increased, both Negrini and Lacey repeatedly failed local residents, but enjoyed gold plated pay at their expense. Council leaders shouldn’t assume that paying top dollar for chief executives will benefit taxpayers. All too often it ends up costing residents dear.”

Full article: https://www.conservativehome.com/localgovernment/2020/12/harry-fone-how-to-avoid-croydons-fate.html

This follow a litany of failures by the council which resulted in the section 114 notice being issued which we write about here, a damming audit report, and years of excessive salaries and spending.

For more on Croydon Council see our other articles: http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/category/croydon-council/

Croydon Council – Section 114 notice

Croydon Council issued a Section 114 notice on Wednesday (11 Nov) afternoon “due to the severe ongoing financial challenges facing the authority.”

News of this is being widely reported including by the BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-54897296

“The Section 114 notice bans all new expenditure at Croydon Council, with the exception of statutory services for protecting vulnerable people”

“£17.7m of the £27.9m of the “new savings” presented to Croydon’s cabinet on 21 September and the full council meeting on 28 September were “incorrectly identified as new savings”

“Croydon’s financial pressures are not all related to the pandemic”. It is under a government review amid claims of “irresponsible spending”

Whilst we have been by no means alone.  In the 2 and a half years the Croydon Constitutionals have been running we have regularly reported on what we have seen as irresponsible spending by the council. 

These concerns have been validated by the recent audit report:

Mike wrote a summary of the problems for the TaxPayers’ Alliance:

All of this spending didn’t improve services for the people of Croydon:

With the TaxPayers’ Alliance and some cross party support we’ve highlighted the high rates of executive pay at the council:

Poor commercial property investments have caught up with the council. Rather as we expected them to:

We didn’t think Croydon Council got value for money for residents:

We have asked them to tax us less and even found ways to save money:

Don’t just take our word for it we’ve also interviewed Councillor Robert Ward, Councillor Jeet Bains who also spoke with us about planning in Croydon, Councillor Mario Creatura, Chris Philp MP, former Chairman of the Croydon Conservative Federation Alasdair Stewart and council candidate Jayde Edwards.

Things can change in Croydon and Mike spoke about the campaign for a Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon at one of our events.

For more of our articles and podcasts on the council go to http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/category/croydon-council/

Croydon Council – a tale of mismanagement

As Croydon Council’s financial crisis grows Mike Swadling writes for the TaxPayers’ Alliance about Croydon Council, a tale of mismanagement.

“Northamptonshire in 2018 when they faced a £10 million shortfall and debts of around £1 billion. Croydon has just over half the population of Northamptonshire, and yet still managed to exceed this”

“Given all this overspend, Croydon’s contribution to the Town Hall Rich List seems utterly obscene. The latest report showed the council has 23 staff on over £100,000 a year and 3 who earn more than the Prime Minister”

“it’s clear the financial challenges predate the crisis. Too much money has been squandered on schemes that have not paid off. Anyone can see that too little value has been provided for the people of Croydon”

“The Growth Fund, together with the Community Ward budgets awarded by councillors, gave over £35,000 to Croydon Pride in 2018, and over £59,000 the following year. They are great events, but is it really taxpayers’ job to fund my weekend entertainment?”

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

TFL taking taxpayers for a ride!

The decade after the financial crisis has seen many front line public sector and most private sector employees receive below inflation pay rises, with many suffering years of stagnant earnings.

Not so for those at the top of City Hall, delivering value for money from the public purse is of no barrier for their earnings.  The TaxPayers’ Alliance have published their City Hall Rich List 2020 which reveals:

  • 654 people employed by the GLA and its subsidiary bodies in 2018-19 received more than £100,000.  154 received over £150,000.
  • Transport for London alone has 518 employees on over £100,000.  With 114 on more than £150,000.
  • 28 employees received remuneration in excess of a quarter of a million pounds in 2018-19.

Taxpayers have to fund this on top of all the other costly burdens of living in London., with the Mayor having increased the band D council tax precept by just under nine per cent in 2019-20.

London taxpayers are paying Limousine prices for what all too often turns out to be a Reliant Robin service from City Hall.  This is on top of the burden from London’s Borough Councils.  Croydon Council employs more than 23 staff on over £100,000 a year.  Hardworking Taxpayers need a fair deal that protects them as well as rewards staff.

We know the economy has taken a serve hit from Covid 19 and the lockdown.  We ask that City Hall and its subsidiary bodies share the burden with those who pay their wages.  We think it’s reasonable to ask that no new employee in the Metropolitan Police, Greater London Authority, London Fire Brigade or the Mayoral team, be paid more than the Prime Minister.  Those in post were employed in good faith and must retain their salaries, but surely it is not unreasonable in these troubled economic times to say a Deputy commissioner in the London Fire Brigade or a Transformation director in TFL does not need to be paid more than the person running Britain!

We calculate that if this were already the case, just capping the salaries of the top 20 highest paid staff in TFL would save over £3.9 million a year.  A good start to helping council tax payers.

TaxPayers’ Alliance full report – https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/city_hall_rich_list_2020

Coverage in South London Presshttps://pages.pagesuite.com/5/b/5be8a065-97de-4289-ae5e-fa5db3d8aed6/page.pdf

Article main image: Daring Donna

Podcast Episode 25 – Harry Fone: Light at the end of the Lockdown, Town Hall Rich List & “Axe the BBC Tax”

We are joined by Harry Fone, the Grassroots Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, as we discuss ideas for a Post Lockdown economic recovery, the TPA’s Town Hall Rich List and their Axe the Tax campaign to scrap the BBC Licence fee. We then chat with Harry about his role at the TPA, his campaigning experiences and current and future TPA campaigns.

TaxPayers’ Alliance ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign: https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/axe_the_tax

More on Croydon’s Town Hall Rich List.

Podcast feeds:

YouTube:

Podcast
7 minute excerpt of Harry Fone, the Grassroots Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, as we discuss their “Axe the Tax” campaign to scrap the BBC Licence fee.
8 minute except with Harry Fone, the Grassroots Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, as we discuss the TPA’s Town Hall Rich List.
3 minutes except with Harry Fone, the Grassroots Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, discusses ideas for a Post Lockdown economic recovery.
13 minutes except with Harry Fone, the Grassroots Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance. We chat with Harry about his role at the TPA, his campaigning experiences with the Libertarian Party and the TPA and current and future TPA campaigns..