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:

The article has also been shared by The Future Cities Project at


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

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:

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:

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 –

“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

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:

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 –

Coverage in South London Press

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:

More on Croydon’s Town Hall Rich List.

Podcast feeds:


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..

“They pitch for as much as they think they can get away with and then think what to spend it on” – Highlights from Croydon Council

The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s annual Town Hall Rich List has been released. You can read it in full here.  This shows council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000. The latest is 226 more people than in 2017-18, and the highest number since 2013-14.

Councils talk of austerity and keep ramping up council tax rises.  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.  This is up from the 19 people who earned over £100K the previous year.  The London Borough of Barnet, which is about the same size as Croydon makes do with just 7 staff on over £100K and only 1 earning more than the Prime Minister.  Neighbouring us, Sutton has just 11, Merton 9, Lambeth 16, Bromley 20, Tandridge 1, and Reigate and Banstead 4, on more than £100K.  All below Croydon.  Details of those employees earning over £100K are below.

NameJob titleSalaryCompensation for loss of officeSub total PensionTotal
Jo NegriniChief Executive £188,700 £188,700 £28,494 £217,194
Guy Van DicheleExecutive Director (Interim) of Health, Wellbeing & Adults £215,444 £215,444 £    –   £215,444
Undisclosed £202,500 £202,500 £202,500
Shifa MustafaExecutive Director, Place £153,000 £153,000 £23,103 £176,103
Richard SimpsonExecutive Director of Resources and Section 151 officer £143,892 £143,892 £21,550 £165,442
Undisclosed £152,500 £152,500 £152,500
Eleni LoannidesExecutive Director (Interim) Children, Families and Education £150,000 £150,000 £    –   £150,000
Undisclosed £142,500 £142,500 £142,500
Jacqueline Harris-BakerDirector of Law and Monitoring Officer/Executive Director of Resources and Monitoring Officer £120,080 £120,080 £18,132 £138,212
Undisclosed £127,500 £127,500 £127,500
Barbara PeacockExecutive Director, People £ 67,837 £   53,808 £121,645 £4,228 £125,873
Undisclosed £122,500 £122,500 £122,500
Undisclosed £122,500 £122,500 £122,500
Undisclosed £117,500 £117,500 £117,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
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
Undisclosed £102,500 £102,500 £102,500
Undisclosed £102,500 £102,500 £102,500

If the council isn’t splashing the cash on high paid executives they are spending it on cultural events and local community groups.  Many of these are good causes some less so.  The council publishes their spending over £500.  We’ve reviewed the spend in 2019 and found some particular lowlights like the £105,666 spent on Consultancy Fees for a cost called ‘Brick by Brick Overheads and Admin’.  It total £333,364 was dished out by local councillors in 2019 in amounts over £500 as part of their Community Ward Budgets.  Much of this goes to local residents’ associations and clubs, many very worthy, but are these the core services we pay our Council Tax for? 

We don’t think you should pay for our weekends, or for that matter we should pay for yours.  We like Croydon’s Pride event, Mike of this parish has attended all of them.  He would like to thank you for subsidising his day out, but would rather you hadn’t been forced to.  In 2019 a total of £59,360 was paid out to Croydon Pride between Community Ward Budgets and the Culture Growth Fund, a huge amount of money for this 1 day event!  The Culture Growth Fund payments over £500 totalled  £754,669 of which, £160,000 went to pay for the expensively priced Boxpark, and Dance Umbrella (no we hadn’t heard of them either) received £29,000 of your taxes.  Croydon with Talent Ltd received £20,000 and once again The Oval Tavern received £5,000 for we assume a very expensive round.  Details below.


Vendor Name Amount 
Boxpark £160,000
Think Events (London) Ltd £63,000
Croydon Pride Ltd £54,000
A Fairweather – Fairweather Productions £33,000
Dance Umbrella £29,000
BH Live £26,832
Cellar Door Promotions Ltd £24,550
Redacted £23,075
Croydon with Talent Ltd    £20,000
London & Partners Ventures Ltd £20,000
Scanners Inc £20,000
Gowling WLG (UK) LLP    £19,044
Sam-Culture Ltd £18,750
The Brit School £17,500
Turf Projects_ £16,768
Redacted  £14,235
Beeja £10,000
Sound Diplomacy Limited £10,000
31 Percent Wool/Croydonist    £8,000
Syrus Consultancy CIC    £7,500
Good Wolf People Ltd £7,500
Croydon Voluntary Action £7,500
New Addington Peoples Carnival_ £7,500
Drunken Chorus Arts Collective £7,500
London Mozart Players £7,500
Kinetika Bloco Ltd    £7,200
White Hut Studios £7,000
Slide Dance £6,450
Play for Progress £5,830
WSP UK Ltd    £5,500
Rap Club Productions C.I.C. £5,445
Alasdair Brown£5,018
The Oval Tavern£5,000
Emergency Exit Arts£5,000
Gifted Enterprise C.I.C£5,000
Gye Nyame Development Foundation   £5,000
Crystal Palace Festival Group  £4,684
Open City Architecture£4,400
Artist Studio Company £4,063
Zoo Co Outreach£4,000
South Norwood Community Festival£3,750
Drum the Bass£3,750
Matthews Yard Croydon Ltd£3,580
Advice Support Knowledge Information£3,500
Cellar Door Promotions Ltd   £2,800
Crisis UK£2,582
Subrang Arts   £2,500
Tour Design Limited£1,500
FMM Pop Up£1,450
Made in Croydon£1,293
Reaching Higher£1,243
Fergus Ford Photography£1,100
Croydon Town Centre Bid   £1,000
Well Versed Ink CIC£1,000
FMM Pop Up   £870
Conditions Studio Programme£828
Turf Projects   £780
Amplified Theatre   £750
Red Quadrant   £550
Total £754,669


Vendor Name Amount 
The Chartwell Cancer Trust Ltd   £30,192
LOVE NORBURY   £12,297
Purley Youth Project   £7,000
Stanley People’s Initiative   £6,736
Sanderstead Residents Association   £5,308
SECHC   £5,119
We Love SE25 – The South Norwood Town Team   £5,000
White Hut Studios (CWB)£5,000
Howard Primary School   £4,941
Pinewood Scout Centre   £4,894
Solid Rock Academy   £4,500
CACFO UK (CWB)£4,000
White Hut Studios   £4,000
Reaching Higher   £4,000
Thornton Heath Business Partnership   £4,000
Croydon Commitment   £4,000
St John the Divine PCC   £3,973
Addiscombe and Shirley Park Residents Association (ASPRA)   £3,500
London Mozart Players   £3,500
St. Dominic’s Church (CWB)£3,333
Westcotec Ltd   £3,280
Westcotec Ltd£3,280
Croydon Bme Forum   £3,050
The Upper Norwood Library Trust   £3,000
All Saints Kenley   £3,000
Greenvale Primary School   £2,802
CBNWA (CWB)£2,750
People for Portland Road   £2,600
Willow Learning for Life Ltd Community Interest Company   £2,500
Thornton Heath Community Action Team£2,500
CLOCFG   £2,500
DCC of St Edmunds Sanderstead   £2,500
South Croydon Business Association   £2,500
Elite Development FC   £2,500
YuleFest (CWB)£2,467
Bangladeshi British Society Croydon   £2,400
Good Wolf People (CWB)£2,400
Croydon Pride (CWB)£2,320
The Shrublands Trust (CWB)£2,300
LLMRA   £2,149
Riddlesdown Tennis Club   £2,000
Brighton Road Baptist Church   £2,000
Croydon Community Against Trafficking   £2,000
Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid   £2,000
Ciro Donadio (CWB)£2,000
Thornton Heath Business Partnership (CWB)£2,000
Rotary Club of Purley_£2,000
Croydon District Scout Council   £2,000
Selsdon Residents Association (CWB)£2,000
Redacted £1,875
St George’s Shirley PCC (CWB)£1,867
The Shrublands Trust   £1,760
285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqdn ATC   £1,757
Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (Afruca)   £1,750
Woodcote High School   £1,683
West Croydon Methodist Church   £1,555
Community Family Worker   £1,500
Forestdale Primary School   £1,500
GAGE CIC (CWB)£1,500
Park Run   £1,500
St George’s Shirley PCC   £1,500
Croydon Indians Group Ltd   £1,500
Gye Nyame Development Foundation   £1,482
East Croydon Community Organisation   £1,480
Friends of South Norwood Country Park (CWB)£1,333
Stanley People?s Initiative (CWB)£1,333
Crystal Palace F C Foundation (CWB)£1,267
Friends of Norbury Park   £1,216
Community Garden Thornton Heath£1,200
J J Martin (Catering Appliance Superstore) Ltd   £1,180
Rising Stars Support CIC£ 1,083
Crystal Palace & Norwood Chamber Commerce   £1,000
Nightwatch   £1,000
Friends of Lloyd Park Croydon   £1,000
Fairchildes Academy Community Trust t/a Fairchildes Primary School£1,000
Surrey Beekeepers Association£1,000
Friends of Stambourne Woods   £1,000
Citizen Welfare Organisation Ltd   £1,000
All Heads Recognized Ltd   £1,000
White Hut Studios  (CWB)£1,000
Another Night of Sisterhood CIC   £1,000
St Gertrude’s Church   £1,000
Whyteleafe F C   £1,000
Croydon Food Bank   £1,000
Croydon Pet Hospital   £1,000
Friends of Littleheath Woods   £1,000
Kenley Memorial Hall   £1,000
7th Purley Scout Group   £1,000
Rotary Club of Purley   £1,000
Evolve Housing & Support   £1,000
Palace for Life Foundation (CWB)£1,000
Festivelighting   £950
Black Stock Target Communications (CWB)£900
Norbury Green Residents’ Association (CWB)£900
St Aidan’s Catholic Primary School   £800
Grangewood Bowling Club   £750
Foundation 47 (CWB)£750
New Addington Pathfinders (CWB)£750
New Addington Christmas Lights Appeal   £700
Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind (CWB)£650
African Youth Development Association (CWB)£605
Croydon Hearing Resource   £600
Well Being You Ltd   £595
Friends of Littleheath Woods (CWB)£575
Mind In Croydon   £575
2nd Selsdon & Addington Scout Group   £531
Thornton Heath Community Action Team   £500
The Children and young People’s Gardening Project (CWB)£500
Imagine Independence (CWB)£500
Winterbourne Nursery & Infant School (CWB)£500
Circle of parents 2 friends (CWB)£500
Another Night of Sisterhood CIC (CWB)£500
Thornton Heath Community Action Team (CWB)£500
Pollards Hill Residents Association (CWB)£500
The Friends of Park Hill Park (CWB)£500
Croydon Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association (CWB)£500
44th Croydon Air Scout Group   £500
Croydon Cricket Club of India   £500
Waddington Way Residents Association   £500
Friends of Grangewood Park   £500
St Peters Parochid Church Council   £500
WE-STAP   £500
Active Living Support CIC   £500
Pinspired Ltd (CWB)£500
Friends of Bradmore Green   £500
Public Spaces£347

If you want to know more about the national picture, listen to Harry Fone the Grassroots Campaign Manager of TPA on with Mike Graham on Talk Radio.

Executive Pay at Croydon Council

With budgets tight, and a constant demand for new and improved services, council spending is always under pressure. 

Following successful events held with the TaxPayers’ Alliance we have written to the leaders with responsibility for Croydon of the Labour, Conservative, The Brexit, Polish Pride, Christian Alliance, Unity, Democrats and Veterans, Libertarian, Foundation, UKIP, and Liberal Democratic Parties.  Asking them you to support our campaign to support local taxpayers, and keep control of executive pay at Croydon Council. 

In our campaign supported by local residents we have asked that they agree to our proposal that in future no newly appointed council employee will earn more than the Prime Minister.  Out letter to the parties is available here:

The responses in support of our proposal are below, for the others we await their responses and hope they choose to support the taxpayers of Croydon.

Thank-you all for your support for the hardworking families of Croydon.

Podcast Episode 11 – Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say

In this episode we bring you the speeches from our recent event held at The Green Dragon in Croydon, Our speakers on the night were:

  • Harry Fone – Taxpayers Alliance
  • Sean Finch – Libertarian Party
  • Izzy Montague – Croydon Mother
  • David Kurten – GLA Member

More on the participants available here and photos from the night.

Podcast available on: