One way of magically wiping millions off a local council budget is simply to stop offering key services.
Hey presto, and Croydon is about to form a local authority trading company to run its adult and housing services.
Margaret Mead, the Council’s Cabinet member for adult services told the Croydon Guardian: “The same services will be delivered by the same people in the same places. The main difference is that for the first time more people will be able to access them.”
No, Margaret. The main difference is that all the costs of your department and the housing services department will be off the Council’s books. How the services hold up, only time will tell.
After nearly two decades of Private Finance Initiative-style privatisation of previously public services such as the railways, the Tube, hospital cleaning and, in Croydon, leisure services, we all well know that services are rarely improved, while public subsidies to private companies continue to mount up.
The Council says the new company will expect to pitch for work from other boroughs, all profits in turn going into the company coffers and, according to Councillor Mead, be used for other services within Croydon. We will see.