TaxPayers’ Alliance Croydon Street Stall – Saturday 22nd June

Concerned about value for money from your council tax and wonder if Croydon needs 19 staff paid over £100,000?

Wonder if they fully scrutinised the £10,000 paid for someone to defecate on stage?

Wonder if some of the highest paid councillors in London are representing us with their ever rising council tax bills?

If you share these concerns, come and join us with the TaxPayers’ Alliance at our street stall on Saturday 22nd June , 11am – 2pm on the corner of George Street and North End, Croydon. 

TPA Event –

Croydon – For the driveway few not the terrace many

Croydon Council has started a consultation on its new residents parking strategy.   They are proposing to introduce emission-based charges for resident and business parking permits, to all controlled parking permit zones within the borough.

Under the proposals electric car owners would pay only £6.50 for an annual resident’s parking permit.  However any cars made before 2001 would see residents pay £300 a year compared to the current resident’s permit of £80.

These ‘green’ proposals would see the poorest in the borough punished for not being able to afford new cars, and punished for not being able to afford off street parking in the London property market.  This comes on top of another 5% council tax increase, paying for some of London’s most expensive councillors and their weekend entertainment.  It’s not even clear that scraping old cars for new is environmentally friendly.

If these proposals are accepted, hardworking families will face extra financial pressure for residents’ parking permits. Cars are often needed to drop young children off at school, before carrying on the work to pay rent or a mortgage on small properties that can be worth 10 times the average income of the area.  Of course this problem disappears for the owners of larger properties with their own off street parking.

We are asking Croydon residents to object to the proposal on the online survey, and help keep residents’ parking affordable.  Further details are available at with the survey at The survey runs until midnight, Thursday 20 June.

Are Croydon trying to gentrify out the working class from the borough?  Who knows.  We do however know Croydon Council is once again acting for the few not the many.

Croydon Constitutionalists  

Croydon Council Rich List

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has published another update to their excellent Town Hall Rich List of council employees receiving a remuneration in excess of £100,000.

Full details at

Details for Croydon below:

NameJob titleSalaryPensionTotal
Chief Executive185,00027,935£212,935
Executive Director, People168,08825,368£193,456
Executive, Corporate
Resources and
Section 151 Officer.
Executive Director – Place153,00021,178£174,178
 undisclosed 137,500 £137,500
 undisclosed 132,500 £132,500
 undisclosed 127,500 £127,500
 undisclosed 127,500 £127,500
 undisclosed 117,500 £117,500
 undisclosed 117,500 £117,500
Director, Strategy
and Partnerships
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
 undisclosed 107,500 £107,500
Director of Law
Minitoring Officer

Croydon Council – Just do your job right

Croydon is one of London’s 32 boroughs that deliver a range of responsibilities including education, social services, housing, libraries, planning, waste collection, licensing, most of London’s roads, parking enforcement, environmental services, including consumer protection, and many arts and leisure services.

That’s a full list of areas our council is responsible for.  You would think that would keep 70 councillors busy.  You would think they might want to get that right before they branch out into new services.  Croydon Council however is more ‘ambitious’ than that, and are keen to expand despite problems in many of their core services.  If you asked your boss to take on extra responsibility when you’re not getting your core job done right, you would expect them to say no.  Croydon’s majority Labour group got past that problem by never asking their boss, Croydon’s voters.

In recent months Croydon Council has purchased the freehold to the Croydon Park Hotel and Colonnades Retail Park on the Purley way.  Over £80 million was spent on these two purchases.  The deals were financed by the council borrowing from the Public Works Loans Board.  This is a government scheme that provides loans to public bodies like councils.  £80 million represents about half of the £167.4 million of Council Tax raised by Croydon 2018/19.

The board lends money at reduced rates, and the council expects to make £1 million a year from the Croydon Park Hotel and £1.4 million from the Colonnades.  This sounds laudable, but what about the risks and accountability for public funds?

What accountability?

Both purchases were made without the opportunity for discussion by councillors.  Whilst the Labour party has a majority on Croydon Council and no doubt the cabinet knew, how can it be right that £80 million of public funds was spent without any public scrutiny or even awareness from most of our 70 elected representatives?  Surely councillors and frankly the public should have the opportunity to discuss such a large investments policy, even if specific details of investments need to be kept confidential for commercial reasons?


Croydon council has just added £80 million in debt to its balance sheet.  That’s £620 for every one of Croydon’s 129,000 homes, and is part of the £1.2 billion owed by Croydon Council. When was your family asked if they wanted to be an extra £600 in debt?

If the investments provide the income the council wants, there is some justification for them, however with £2.4 million benefits from £80 million of borrowing, only a 3% change in margins would find council tax payers lumbered with costs to service the debt.

To judge the risk, it’s worth looking at the council’s track record with large scale property developments:

The council simply does not do property well.  Yet somehow we are expected to believe moving into a car based retail site, at a time when shopping is moving online, with fewer people in London owning cars, and purchasing the freehold to an ageing hotel that recently made a £20k loss, is somehow good business.

Conflicting interests

The most worrying part of the government (this time in the form of the council) purchasing commercial property is the conflict of interest.  Croydon council approves planning licencing decisions for hotels and retail sites.  They approve transport changes to and from them.  They wield power, but will they do so fairly?

  • What happens if say a new hotel requests planning permission for Croydon.  Will the council approve it, if it take business away from the Croydon Park Hotel?
  • What if a hotel wants a conference centre in Croydon.  Local residents have legitimate concerns about the environmental impact.  Does the council approve it, just because it means more people will occupy rooms at the nearby Croydon Park Hotel?
  • If an adult entertainment centre wants to open in the Colonnades next to some shops popular with young children.  Does the council approve any licences knowing they income will help the flagging centre they own?
  • A new shopping centre wants to open on the A235 in South Croydon.  Some minor transport changes are needed.  Does Croydon Council approve them if the new centre could take trade from their centre The Colonnades?

Perhaps council officials and Councillors will be perfect at their roles and never allow a conflict of interest to affect them.  We can only hope they will act beyond reproach.  Sometimes however the mere impression of a conflict causes problems.  The impression may drive business away from the borough.  Would we not be better avoiding this and simply have the council stay away from commercial activity? 

Opportunity costs

Any organisation has only a limited pool of highly productive talent.  Croydon Council will have many excellent staff, but few who can cross organisation boundaries, think-up new ideas, and truly add value.  Anyone in management wants to get their brightest talent focused on the organisations biggest challenges.  I want those brightest employees and councillors adding value on the core services the council provides.  With new commercial purchases focus may move to these new ‘exciting’ ventures, and talent will be looking at other new opportunities.

Instead imagine if the best and the brightest were brought into the ‘Inadequate’ (as judges by Ofsted) Children’s Services department.  Continuing to be inadequate for 18 months, hurts those most venerable in our borough.  Shouldn’t the best people be brought in to solve this?  The same department has many services that could help with the epidemic of knife crime in Croydon.  Wouldn’t it be great if the brightest staff in the council were focused on saving young lives rather than propping up hotels?

Away from Children’s Services in 2018 Croydon undertook significant changes to its refuge collection service.  You would be hard pushed to find a Croydon resident without a story about the problems with their bins being collected.  Could someone be moved from the ‘shopping investments desk’ to solving the problem of bins not being collected?

Other options

Croydon Council rightly has concerns about costs that are rising more quickly that income.  The rising costs could be controlled if they avoided paying for on stage defecations, (yes you read that right) and stopped being some of the highest paid councillors in London.

As business rate income moves from central government to local, the council could stop its war on cars, it could stop help rather than hinder the Westfield and Selhurst Park developments.  Instead of spending taxpayers’ money on their photo opportunities at Boxpark they could stop closing Croydon car parks to give other traders a chance to bring in business.

Any business can cut costs, the trick is to balance cost cutting, whilst retaining customers.  More trainees further automation, pooling services, are all ways to retain existing services levels whilst reducing costs.  Imagine the best people, if they want to be entrepreneurial, focused on this rather than new business ideas?  The savings could easily outweigh the £2.4 million in new income.

Next steps

The purchases have been made, the debt is on the books, and we can but hope that council taxpayers won’t be financially punished for these purchases.  The conflict of interests are a real concern and the council should act now to remove / reduce even the impression of these.  A resale of properties may not be possible, but arm’s length ownership is.

The best minds in the council should be focused on getting the delivery of basic right for those most vulnerable who need them in Croydon.  Not pretending they missed their vocation as hotel or retail magnates.

Democratic scrutiny

I would rather see no further purchases of commercial property made by the council, others will differ, but surely we can all agree any future purchases must be subject to democratic scrutiny.  The council may have found it has dug itself into a hole with these purchases now is the time to cease and desist from further purchases and focus on getting is core services right, delivered for the right price, and get out of the way of Croydon’s entrepreneurs so they can deliver new exciting commercial ideas.


Press Release – 17th March 2019

Two weeks ago Croydon Council once again decided to raise the tax burden on the hard working families of Croydon by the maximum of 2.99% for the council without calling a referendum. To give them the benefit of the doubt that they have not done, as to quote Sir Humphrey Appleby “pitch for as much as they think they can get away with and then think what to spend it on”, we would like to ask the council to reconsider the rise and make some savings.

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.

To achieve this we needed to save £518,000 from Croydon council’s 2019/20 budget. We have done this with room to spare, here’s how:

  • Croydon’s Councillors are amongst the highest paid in London. If we reverse last year’s pay increase to bring them closer to the norm we can save £30,429.69 a year.
  • Does anyone seriously believe that being the senior leader in Croydon Council is harder than being Home Secretary? Harder than being Chancellor? Are most jobs harder than being a Minister of State, like say the Minister of Housing? Granted this might not be possible overnight, but by reducing the Chief Executive’s salary to that of a Cabinet Member (£134K) and all other Directors to that of a Minister of State (£98K) we can save a whopping £213,129 a year.
  • We would like to leave more money in people’s pockets to make their own entertainment choices. Your weekend is not best planned by the council. The Culture Growth Fund in the past year has funded a Boxpark priced above disposable income of most Croydon families, a Croydon Pride photo opportunity for local politicians that could have been funded by commercial sponsors, the Drunken Chorus Arts Collective, and somehow found £10,000 for someone to take a poo on stage. Halving this budget, and funding the truly unique and exceptional arts in the borough, not just those for the upper middle class or that take a poo, we can save £114,500 annually.
  • Councillors receive £8000 a year to fund local ward projects on fairly lose criteria. This sounds great but in reality most councillors (and we have 3 per ward in half the borough) struggle for ideas to spend the money on. If the community wants a local service, it’s a great opportunity to fundraise and pay for it. If they don’t, don’t force others to pay for it in tax. This money also risks looking like a series of local bribes, but does support some important services. We suggest councillors struggle by on £4000 a year for their local tax payer funded largess, saving a massive £288,000 a year

The total saving here is £646,058.69. £127K more that we proposed, the council could even pay down some debt. All of these savings have been achieved without impacting a single front line service.

If these savings weren’t enough maybe the council could have saved £11 million by delivering the Fairfield Halls on budget or £8 million but keeping to the budget for New Addington Leisure Centre Of Course had Croydon’s highly paid Councillors or Directors brought either project in on budget, Council Tax could have gone down this year.

Both Labour and Tory councillors voted for the increase. The people of Croydon desperately need councillors that will represent them and their families’ budget as much as they represent councillors’ allowances


The Croydon Constitutionalists call on Croydon Council to make 2019 a less spendthrift year for the council and less taxing for the people of Croydon.

2018 saw another 5% council tax rise, hurting the poorest families in Croydon the hardest. Meanwhile councillors voted themselves a 2% allowance increase for backbenchers and a 4.4% increase for frontbenchers.

The council has spent much of the year complaining about a lack of funds. Yet in the 9 months of 2018 we have data for, they have found £36,100 for Croydon Pride, and £5,000 for their favourite pub the Oval Tavern (on top of the £5,000 paid last year), from the Cultural Growth fund that has paid out £373,455.65 on payments over £500.

Further payments from the Cultural Growth Fund include; £51,000 made it to the ‘Remarkable Productions Company Ltd’, £29,996 to ‘We Made That’, £9,500 to the ‘Festival of Peace Croydon’, £9,625 to the ‘Drunken Chorus Arts Collective’ and a very round £10,000 to each of ‘Croydonites Festival of New Theatre’, ‘Dance Umbrella’, ‘Drum the Bass’, and ‘Zoo Co Theatre Ltd’.

Of course on top of this, £143,326 went to Boxpark. Many of us enjoy Boxpark, but with prices that can only be afforded by people with high disposable incomes it can hardly be considered a critical public service. The Ends Festival is due to be staged in Lloyd Park next year in partnership with Croydon Council. It’s not clear what public money will be spent on this but with tickets starting at £50 and full price tickets at £148.50 this is clearly not For the Many.

Away from cultural spend £11,905,888 was spent on ‘Brick by Brick Overheads and Admin’ an organisation that is yet to deliver an occupied home. In the last 36 months’ severance payments totalling £166,994.88 were made to ‘Chief Officers’ of the council, above normal contractual limits.

At this festive time of year 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.

Value for money in Croydon?

Following our recent campaign with the TaxPayers’ Alliance Croydon’s newspapers are asking – Are we getting value for money for our Council Tax?

REVEALED: This is how much Croydon Council has spent on vehicles for mayors since 2015

Revealed: Croydon Council is hiring private detectives and it is costing them thousands

TaxPayers’ Alliance Street Stall Croydon 18th August

Great street stall in Croydon with the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Campaigning for lower taxes and less waste in government spending. Photos and a short video from the day below.

Visit the TPA at to find out more.

Croydon Leaflet

‘Spend Croydon’s money on fixing potholes not sculptures’ – Croydon Advertiser and Croydon Guardian

“Members of a group which campaigns for lower taxes and an end to wasteful government spending will be in Croydon town centre on Saturday.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance are due to pitch up in the High Street campaigning for lower taxes and against government waste.”

Full Croydon Advertiser article

Croydon Advertiser Facebook Page wuth great comments

Croydon Guardian