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:
- “There has been collective corporate blindness to both the seriousness of the financial position and the urgency with which actions needed to be taken”
Mike wrote a summary of the problems for the TaxPayers’ Alliance:
- Croydon Council – a tale of mismanagement https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/croydon_council_a_tale_of_mismanagement
All of this spending didn’t improve services for the people of Croydon:
- Failing in payments made for Covid – “Croydon Council has found itself in the bottom 10% of payments made by number and by amount” http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/taken-for-grant-aid/
- Investing in Surrey Street Market for worse results – “In the period 2016-2018, permanent traders fell 21% to 23, and causal traders fell 24% to 19. That’s £91,666 of council taxpayers’ money spent per trader lost” https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20190509001746/https://thecroydoncitizen.com/economics-business/can-surrey-street-survive-help-council/
With the TaxPayers’ Alliance and some cross party support we’ve highlighted the high rates of executive pay at the council:
- April 2020 – “In Croydon the report shows we have 23 people who earned over £100,000 last year and 3 who earned more than the Prime Minister…. The London Borough of Barnet, which is about the same size as Croydon makes do with just 7 staff on over £100K” http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/pitch-for-as-much-as-they-think-they-can-get-away-with-and-then-think-what-to-spend-it-on-highlights-from-croydon-council/
- Our campaign for sensible Town Hall salaries – http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/support-our-campaign-for-sensible-town-hall-salaries-tpa-in-selsdon/ with support from representatives of The Foundation Party, The Christian Parties Alliance, The Libertarian Party UK, and the Brexit Party http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/executive-pay-at-croydon-council/
- TPA Town Hall Rich List Roadshows http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/the-taxpayers-alliance-town-hall-rich-list-roadshow-croydon/
Poor commercial property investments have caught up with the council. Rather as we expected them to:
- Croydon Council – Just do your job right http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/just-do-your-job-right/
We didn’t think Croydon Council got value for money for residents:
- “In 2017, payments over £500 from the Cultural Growth Fund totaled £465,733.46 – almost twice the total spent on providing this basic-but-critical service repairing our roads” https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20190508195443/https://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/taxing-conversations-croydon/
- “They spent £200,000 on fixing potholes but £1.1 million on the Surrey Street Market. For five years we could have doubled the pothole spend” https://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/news/croydon-news/spend-croydons-money-fixing-potholes-1910633
- “The £5,000 spent at the Oval Tavern was an expensive round” http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/croydons-cultural-growth-fund-and-community-ward-budgets/
- “Tony Newman and other leading members of the council often complain about the funding that the council receives, the need to protect services, and austerity – as they have done here, here, here and here. However, the case for a lack of funding is somewhat undermined when you can find £160,000 for Boxpark” https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20190508195548/https:/thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/price-taking-pride/
We have asked them to tax us less and even found ways to save money:
- “we call on Councillor Tony Newman and Croydon Council to spread some joy in 2019 and make a New Year’s resolution to start looking after Taxpayers money” http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/press-release-a-less-taxing-resolution/
- “Our proposals would bring down the increased tax take by 10% to a 2.69% increase in council tax. This would give more money back to stretched family budgets and remove the impression of a council treating taxpayers like fools” http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/press-release-as-much-as-they-think-they-can-get-away-with/
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/
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