Yesterday, Grant Thornton, one of the country’s top auditors, published an unprecedented SECOND Report in the Public Interest (RIPI) about the financial failings of Croydon’s Labour Council.
RIPIs are only produced when things have gone so badly wrong that the auditors have a responsibility to expose to the public what has happened. Only one other Council in the country has had two of these damning reports.
This report relates to Croydon Labour’s handling of the Fairfield Halls refurbishment. The refurbishment was supposed to be completed at no final cost to the Council, but ended up costing a staggering £67.5 MILLION. What’s more, it was delivered late, and still isn’t finished!
The Report's Top 5 Key Points:
1. THE LABOUR-RUN COUNCIL ACTED UNLAWFULLY: We knew it was bad, but now the report makes plain that it was mismanaged to such an extent as to be 'unlawful’.
2. COUNCIL BODGED LEGAL PROCESSES: The failing Labour Council handed the multi-million pound refurbishment contract straight to its own company, Brick by Brick, without allowing anyone else to bid on it. This is unlawful. And they did this despite Brick by Brick having no experience of this type of project at all!
3. COUNCIL DIDN’T PROPERLY DOCUMENT MILLION POUND DEAL: Grant Thornton’s investigation was severely hampered, because basic documents could not be found. Croydon Labour have so far been unable to produce a basic Sale Agreement for the site – did they ever write one, or are they trying to hide something...?
4. LABOUR BACKED THE DEVELOPMENT WITH NO SCRUTINY: Labour are now trying to pretend that they had no idea what was going on. But they are the ones who made the decisions in the first place, who gave the project to their mates at Brick By Brick, who approved the spending, and who were present at key meetings. If they didn’t know what was going on, why did they vote for it?
5. THE COUNCIL DOUBLED THE COST OF FAIRFIELD HALLS DUE TO INCOMPETENCE: The project was supposed to result in no additional final borrowing. In reality, the Labour Council has had to take on an extra £67.5 MILLION of debt. The interest on this debt alone will cost the taxpayer £1.5 MILLION per year, every year, going forwards! That money has to come out of our services!
After these things had happened and it had become public knowledge that the council was effectively going bankrupt, we called a Vote of No Confidence in the Labour leadership. Every Labour Councillor voted that they had full confidence in them. Mere days later, their leaders had resigned. Those same Labour Councillors who refused to hold their colleagues to account are now running the Council.
Jason Perry, Conservative Candidate for Mayor of Croydon, said:
’Reports in the Public Interest’ are rarely issued by auditors, and are only done so in extreme circumstances. That Croydon should now be subject to TWO such reports – in such a short period of time - highlights the excessive failings of the current Labour Council and the depths to which they have plunged Croydon.
This report exposes some of the many issues apparent at Croydon Council, with a culture of bullying, unlawful activity, conflicts of interest, and lack of financial & legal controls.
Croydonians deserve so much better than this.
You can read the full report yourself HERE.
This has gone on long enough.
In May 2022, you get the chance to kick Labour out of Croydon Town Hall.
It’s time for change.