Croydon 15% Council Tax Rise Approved – What Next?

On Wednesday 8 March Mayor Perry’s budget  including a 14.99% rise in Council Tax was adopted after being defeated on the first vote and then passing on the second vote with Labour abstaining and the two Greens and the Lib Dem voting against. Inside Croydon discusses the meeting and sets out the Government’s justification for not requiring a referendum.

Auditors’ Advice

A letter from the Council’s discredited auditors, Grant Thornton, published on the day of the meeting outlined that if the Council did not agree to the budget it would not be able to meet its legal requirement of setting a balanced budget.

‘Failing to pass the budget, will not only be unlawful, it would make a bad financial position worse and damage the council’s reputation even further.’

Labour Leader Explains Abstention

Explaining the decision to abstain on the second vote Labour Leader Stuart King says: “Embroiling the council in a protracted deadlock scenario, with the consequences that a legal budget would not be set, is the last thing that residents in Croydon need at this time.

“Whilst Labour wholeheartedly disagrees with the 15 per cent council tax rise, we could not in good conscience repeatedly block the setting of a legal budget and plunge the borough into a Tory-made financial crisis.”

Where Should Anger Be Directed?

Many campaigners  against the proposed rise of 15% in Council Tax are angry that the Labour Councillors abstained.

It is difficult to decide whether Labour’s tactics were correct or not. While the Greens and the Lib Dem made a proposal to amend the budget, Labour made none, even though they could have started drafting possible amendments in the days before the 1 March meeting.

Their decision to abstain may have been taken in the light of the risk of being made personally liable for failure to set a budget, as happened to Lambeth Labour Councillors in the 1980s, or to ensure that the Government did not send in commissioners to run the Council.

The real anger should be against:

  • Perry and the Tories for their contribution to the debt they left Labour in 2014 mainly over the development of Bernard Weatherill House;
  • Perry and the Tory Councillors for failing to persuade their Government to find a  solution that would allow a lower Council Tax rise;
  • the Government for years of underfunding Croydon;
  • the Government for its decision that Perry did not have to run a referendum on the proposed rise;
  • Tory Croydon South MP, Chris Philp, for his failure to find a more acceptable budget solution
  • Philp for his misleading South Croydon residents activists in backing the idea of an elected Executive Mayor.

Statement By Sarah Jones, Labour MP For Croydon Central

‘I am deeply disappointed with Croydon Council and Mayor Perry, who have decided to hike council tax by 15% across the borough.
In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis fuelled by disastrous economic policy from Westminster, it is unacceptable that Croydon Council has heaped an extra burden onto taxpayers. Under current rules council tax can only be increased by more than 4.99% with the express agreement of local residents via a referendum, so I am shocked that Mayor Perry has been given special permission by the Government in Westminster to raise our tax by an extra 10%.’

Referendum Petition To Parliament

Inside Croydon is urging everyone to sign the petition to Parliament calling for referendums on Council Tax rises above 5%.

Don’t Pay, Won’t Pay

There will no doubt be a debate as to whether there should be a campaign to persuade people

  • not to pay their Council Tax;
  • or not to pay the 15% or the 10% being the % above the normal 5% increase.

Those who refuse to pay all the Tax will need to cancel their Direct Debits will need to cancel them as will those not prepared to pay the 10/15%. They can pay the basic Tax by cash, cheque or bank transfer. They will need to put the money aside when they are finally forced to pay.

Residents on benefits who have their Council Tax paid will not be able to take action.

Those in low income work will put themselves at extreme risk of legal action inc. attachment of earnings and baliffs.

With the cost of living crisis continuing many residents will not be able to pay their Council Tax anyway and will be subject to attachment of earnings and baliffs.

Campaigners will therefore need to develop a strategy that physically and financially supports those prepared not to pay their Council Tax or not pay the 10/15% increase. If they are not prepared to do so then they will have no right to campaign for non-payment civil disobedience.

About seancreighton1947

I have lived in Norbury since July 2011. I blog on Croydon, Norbury and history events,news and issues. I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I have submitted views to Council Committees and gave evidence against the Whitgift Centre CPO and to the Local Plan Inquiry. I am a member of Norbury Village Residents Association and Chair of Norbury Community Land Trust, and represent both on the Love Norbury community organisations partnership Committee. I used to write for the former web/print Croydon Citizen. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics history database. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour, radical and suffrage movements, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Croydon 15% Council Tax Rise Approved – What Next?

  1. Pingback: Norbury Update 12 March | Norbury Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s