At the second Croydon council budget meeting that took place on Wednesday 8th March after a second vote the council tax increase of 15% was finally passed.
There were protests outside the Town Hall before the meeting with unions, local community groups and local residents all attending despite the bad weather. Yvonne Green, our Branch Seretary was at the protest.
There were no alterative budgets put forward for the second meeting.
Opposition councillors initially blocked the budget for the second time by 36 votes to 34. The 36 included 2 Green Party and 1 Liberal Democrat with the other 33 being Labour councillors.
However, councillors received a warning from Jane West, section 151 officer regarding the implications of not setting a balanced budget which the administration was legally bound to do by the 11th March.
The vote then passed after the Labour councillors abstained from voting. There were 34 votes for, three against and 33 abstentions.
The council had to get government agreement to raise the council tax above the 5% limit. This was due to the council having to issue a section 114 notice last November due to its £130m black hole in its budget which effectively declared Croydon bankrupt for the third time in the last two years.
Croydon council also asked the government to write off £540m of its debt and a letter from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities sent earlier in March provided details of the support it is “minded” to give the council. However, no update has been announced about any debt write off.