The toxic £1.6bn debt and financial failures of the previous Administration left Croydon with a hollowed-out council, reliant on government bailouts. My focus has been on opening the books and taking necessary steps to get the Council back on a sustainable footing. Given the scale of this toxic legacy, getting back on track will require incredibly difficult decisions.
That is why, as part of a wider package of support we are negotiating, the Government has given us permission to propose a one-off increase in Council Tax of 15% this year. This amounts to an extra £4.50 a week for the average property. I know this is going to be difficult for people in Croydon, but without the proposed increase, the council would need to make a further £20m of cuts this year, putting vital services to vulnerable residents at risk. This would be on top of the £36m savings that have already been proposed for the coming year’s budget.
As part of our Council Tax Support Scheme, we plan to increase the support we provide to low-income households, to protect those who cannot afford to pay their council tax. Alongside the Council Tax increase, we are in discussion with Government to agree a reduction in the council’s long-term debt and in the meantime we hope to agree a new Capitalisation Direction to address the historic financial failures which still sit on the council’s balance sheet. These steps, together with the continuing programme to transform how the council operates, are important and necessary steps to make Croydon a financially sustainable local authority.
I remain committed to ensuring that those responsible for Croydon’s financial collapse are held to account for their failures.
- Jason Perry
Mayor of Croydon