Labour looks set to raid the wallets of Croydon’s motorists in a bid to fill the gaping black hole in the borough’s finances.
Due to years of budget mismanagement, and a failure to set aside funds to prepare for a crisis, Croydon Council must find almost £30million in emergency savings. This is despite receiving extra money from the Conservative Government to deal with the cost of Covid-19.
In a hastily prepared emergency budget, the council has committed to raising an extra £1million from car parking charges. It will do this by bringing forward planned increases, including its ‘emissions-based charging policy’ which penalises older vehicles. These will now take effect from 1st January 2021.
However, Labour has refused to rule out further increases. At Monday night’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Gareth Streeter, Conservative spokesperson on Transport, called on Labour to rule out any further increase in parking charges or the costs of permits in Controlled Parking Zones. The Labour cabinet member refused to do so.
Cllr Gareth Streeter says, “by bringing forward their ‘emissions-based parking charges’ to deal with the budget black hole, Labour is effectively admitting that the policy has nothing to do with air quality and far more to do with filling empty coffers. Now more than ever, countless residents depend on their car to get work and to keep the economy moving. Further increases to parking charges must be ruled out.”