Leader's blog

News and thoughts from Croydon Town Hall

Safeguarding your priorities

18 Comments

It is the time of year when, as a council, we get to set Croydon’s budget for the next 12 months. Our aim, even in tough economic times for the country, is to ensure that we continue to deliver the services you have told us matter most to you, and ensure we deliver them to the highest standard possible.

The money we spend as a council comes, in part, from the collection of council tax, while the rest is essentially government grant directly from Westminster. As you might have read in the local media, Croydon Council has been hit hard by the cuts to the government-funded part of our budget.

To make things worse, when ministers began receiving complaints from across the country about the damage their cuts were doing, they introduced something called a ‘transitional fund’, but that has not gone to the councils most in need. How can anybody justify Croydon receiving £800k while neighbouring Surrey received £24.1m? Utterly indefensible.

However, as leader of Croydon Council, I am determined that we will not allow Croydon to become a victim of the government’s cuts, and that we will protect those frontline services – such as libraries, leisure centres and improved street cleaning – that you have told us you value so much.

To achieve this, and honour our commitment to keep council tax affordable, has, to be honest, involved some tough choices. As a council, we are doing more with less as we continue to have to lose staff and some services. One such casualty is the green garden waste-collection service; it has been necessary to introduce a small charge to those wishing to continue to have the service, amounting to £1.12 per week.

Despite these tough conditions, we intend to deliver value for money where we can. To achieve this, part of the council’s new headquarters building is to be let out to the private sector, more of our services will be accessible online, and we will continue to cut waste and red tape wherever we find it.

With regard to our council budget, we are proposing a council tax increase of 53p per week (band D property) following last year’s freeze in council tax bills. This is equivalent to 1.89% on your bill but, I hope you agree, it’s a relatively small price to pay to protect those vital frontline services from the cuts. Having said that, I am acutely aware that the council tax bill is still a major part of many household budgets and I give you my word we will do everything we can to keep delivering value for money, and keep your council tax bill as low as possible.

Croydon is on the up – we are now officially London’s Growth Borough. Companies like Body Shop are relocating hundreds of their staff and corporate HQs here; Westfield’s new retail centre will soon be on site; and Fairfield Halls is set for a major £30m refit with a new college for Croydon being built alongside it.

As you can see, there is much to be excited about, but we also have to ensure that, as our town is transformed, we protect those vital frontline services. That is the job of myself and my colleagues, and we will not let you down.

Tony
Leader, Croydon Council

18 thoughts on “Safeguarding your priorities

  1. Nice to have that luxury. Isn’t inflation 0.1% ? Please explain why Croydon needs 2% more, when everything costs the same or less than last year?

    My last pay rise was 2007, where do the council expect residents to find the money for the 2% rise? Coming on top of the abolition of services such as green waste collection and the sky high parking charges, I’m stepping up my plans to get out of this rotten borough.

  2. Croydon resident not happy with the rise in Council tax can only just paid each month now let alone with a £2,756 increase will not be able to afford food maybe some money used to build that shiny new glass stupid building should have been kept aside you know BUDGET like the rest of us have to.

  3. Typical Labour Council – increase costs to your customers and reduce services – who is getting this extra money its definitely not the South of the Borough, of course its a Conservative area – surprise surprise. Why not make sure all council tax is collected along with council house rents that might improve the finances. We have had to fight hard to save our leisure facilities never mind improve them.
    Regards.

  4. no – more than 53p a week if you include that we are now paying for the green waste!

  5. Happy to pay the extra as well as for the green collection but how many that should pay don’t. Are you chasing these? Or does Corbynomics say they shouldn’t and the rich should pay more

  6. Well, as I expected from the Croydon Council we will have an increase in our Council Tax, they have also introduced a cunning way of getting extra income from householders by charging an extra fee for garden shrubbery waste (now discontinued). I understand that the bulling Conservative government has reduced their support to Croydon by £29 million., and the Council would have to put up the Council tax to supplement this loss of income,…and so to put salt in the wound, they have taken a golden opportunity to effectively put a charge on the shrubbery collection. Shame on them. ALSO, they have wasted monies by introducing a 20 mph limit in some zones. I confess I voted for these idiots and now I totally regret it.

    • Sadly I think youre right. Had high hopes of Labour in Croydon, but just as incompetant as last lot. Worse services and higher tax with no worries about how crippled by pay freezes their taxpayers are. I agree at the waste of money over stupid 20 mph limits that nobody observes

      • Thanks Paul for your comment/reply. Again, sadly now we have to vote for a Mayor. How I feel so unhappy that I have no alternative but to vote Labour again in the Mayoral elections for Sadiq, he is OK but I don’t see him being able to bring back our Police service to an acceptable status, and I don’t see him getting rid of the wasteful stupid garden bridge. We cannot have a Conservative Mayor which will ignore the real needs of the people of London .Your response I look forward to.

  7. Much of what you have to say are correct.. BUT, where the top 36 employees of a council took 27 MILLION POUNDS out of taxpayers two or three years ago, and where a council leader takes upward of £200,000 each year from taxpayers, compared with a prime minister who only takes about £160000 per year for running the cuntry, and where a council leader was accused of having his own private car repaired in Croydon council garage at taxpayer’s expense, and refuses to confirm or deny that accusation, that leader’s boasts of financial probity comes across as utter nonsense.

  8. Why? I cannot I see my response to my comments.?

  9. So, like closing our car park and calling us “car obsessed”?

    Protection of front line services in certain wards?

    Systematic dislike of some wards to the point of cutting them off?

    That’s not leadership, that’s dictatorship.

  10. A much bigger rise would have been justifiable, since the Government won’t do the sensible thing and put 1 or 2p on income tax. It would also be justifiable to charge better off pensioners like us a flat fee for our Freedom passes, like Senior Railcards.

  11. As a Labour voter, you have not convinced me that you really care for Croydon but you care about yourself and your colleagues……shame on you.

  12. Hi Tony,
    Re council tax increase. It this 53p pw, pm or year?

  13. Stop blaming the Conservative Government and do your job. I am happy to pay more council tax but I will hold you to account. Make a difference and stop moaning!

  14. no actual mention of which particular `vital frontline services` though. usual meaningless waffle.
    got £30m to spend on your vanity projects though.

  15. Why am I not surprised that you fail to mention the plans for Shirley and the recent Town Hall meeting?

    It is obvious that you and your colleagues had not undertaken appropriate due diligence on the land under consideration nor the feelings of the people who pay your wages. You have only one desire and that is to increase the Labour vote in this area.

    Blatant Gerrymandering!

    Please ‘grow some’ and agree to meet with us to debate the plans.

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