Local authorities are facing severe financial crisis due to the extra spending due to COVID-19 not matched fully.
Council Leader Tony Newman comments on the crisis:
‘Local government has been underfunded for many years, and the impact of the pandemic has created the perfect financial storm.
As a result, local government is facing the greatest funding challenge in a generation.
We did whatever it took and continue to do whatever it takes – now we need Government to play its part, honour its pledges and pay Croydon back the millions we were promised.
But while we continue to lobby Government on this, we are not sitting around waiting – in Croydon we are tackling our financial challenges head on. Covid-19 has changed everything and we must also change to ensure that we meet the emerging needs of our community.
It has never been more vital that we address inequalities and make sure that we look after our residents that need it the most.
We are also planning ahead for Croydon’s long-term future. Earlier this week, we brought together our local and regional partners and developers for the first meeting of our Sustainable Economic Renewal Board.
The Croydon that emerges from Covid-19 will be a different place and together we will work to make sure that our borough will be revived as a stronger, more sustainable, fairer place for all.
What Does This Crisis Mean
– Especially for Fairfield Halls?
The pending crisis raises questions about whether the Council will have to reduce services, make staff redundant, and abandon many of its plans and projects which are not externally funded. A big question is what will happen to Fairfield Halls. As the freehold owner it must be worried about the fact that its managers BHLive have decided not to re-open until next year and are making staff across its leisure and culture portfolio redundant. The Halls will not be foremost in BHLives decision making given the facilities to operates on the South Coast. If it pulls away from the contract or goes bankrupt, the Council can either find another managing contractor or take on direct management itself. The future of the Halls is crucial to the success of Borough of Culture 2023.
The Halls are more than just a ‘live’ venue. Croydon is being denied much of what the Halls have delivered and could now be delivering.
Questions to Council:
- Why mothball, hibernate as publicly endorsed by Cabinet member Oliver Lewis?
- Why reinforce the position of a Bournemouth company at the expense of Croydon and South London people?
- Does not hibernation negate all the good that could be done towards community cohesion?
- Why can’t live streaming of theatre and concerts be organised?
- Given the reopening on 4 July of Oval Tavern and Boxpark why can the Halls cafes and bars not be opened?
- Why cannot some events be started in September, especially involving solo artists?
- Can films be shown in partnership with David Lean Cinema?
- Why cannot Church and worship meetings be allowed once the Government adds normal religious buildings to be open again?
Obviously all this will be subject to the required social distancing and other anti-COVID preventive measures.
All of these will a multiple income stream.