Croydon councillors vote against new budget which included 15 per cent council tax rise
At a council meeting last night on the 1st March Councillors in Croydon rejected a 15% increase in council tax which would have seen bills rise substantially. Last month the bankrupt authority was given special permission by the government to make the increase without holding a referendum.
There was a protest about the 15% rise outside the town hall before the meeting started. It was well attended with unions, local groups and angry residents attending. The unions represented included Croydon UNISON, Croydon UNITE and the Croydon RMT. The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats also joined the protest.
Croydon TUC also supported the event.
After a three-and-a-half-hour meeting, Croydon councillors voted against the authority’s budget which included a 15 per cent council tax increase.
This means the budget will now come in front of another full council meeting scheduled for next Wednesday the 8th March for councillors to consider the proposals again.
Opposition councillors on the no-overall control council all voted against the budget, put forward on Wednesday night (1st March). The council’s two Green Party and one Liberal Democrat joined Labour in voting no, meaning there were 37 votes in opposition to 34 for.
Croydon Council needs government support to get back on track after issuing its third bankruptcy notice. A letter from the government’s Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, dated 1st March, outlines the support it is “minded” to give Croydon Council.
This includes £224million worth of bailout loans, known as capitalisation directions, the first of £63m would be issued in 2023/ 24. The council has also asked the government to write off £540m of its debts.
The letter from MP Lee Rowley reads: “You will understand there is much to consider before any of the above capitalisation directions can be approved. The council will need to demonstrate that it continues to take the necessary steps towards its recovery and improvement, and I will need assurance of that fact.”
Mayor Perry said the council is still in discussions about the debt write off, which would be the first of its kind to happen.
There is a further protest on the 4th March organised by the Croydon GMB. Join the march by assembling outside Croydon University Hospital at 11am and marching to the Town Hall.