Despite a tough financial backdrop, I’m pleased that we’ve delivered a balanced Town Hall budget, and held, once again, a small increase in council tax to less than inflation at 47p per week for local services.
Because we’ve done that, work is well under way on the major £30m renovation of one of Croydon’s crown jewels, the Fairfield Halls. We’ll shortly also be in a position to announce who the halls’ new operator will be, ensuring that Croydon once again attracts the very best national and international stars to perform here in our town.
We’re also making big improvements to our local district centres, too. We’re building a new swimming pool and community centre in New Addington, restoring the old library building in Ashburton Park and, in Purley, we’re renovating the town’s major car park. Lots of improvements are being made in Thornton Heath and South Norwood, too.
That the council can make these investments even when times are tough shows that we have a firm grip on finances. We continue to protect and deliver value-for-money services to Croydon residents while keeping any increase in council tax for local services as low as possible. Indeed, I’m pleased that again, this year, we’ve been able to keep the council’s part of the charge to just 47p per week per band D household.
You may be aware of the urgent need to fund increases in demand for adult social care. As national funding doesn’t adequately address this pressure, the government now expects local councils to collect money separately to spend directly on these services. As our elderly and vulnerable residents are a priority for us, we feel that we have no choice but to add a 3% government precept to your council tax to help protect these vital services. This equates to 70p per week and will appear as a separate charge on your bill.
I recognise that a stable council budget with a small increase in council tax allows us to both plan and protect those key services that you have told us are a priority, protects the most vulnerable in our community, and allows those of you planning the family budget to do so in the knowledge there will be no nasty surprises with the council tax bill .
Leader, Croydon Council