Croydon Tories’ cuts, and the power of bad publicity

Two separate reports recently in the local press (step forward the spectacularly named Mike Didymus of the Croydon Guardian) demonstrate the sheer vanity and hypocrisy of the leadership of Croydon Council.

For them, it seems, it’s not a matter of doing the right thing, it’s all about making themselves look good.

At a meeting last night the ruling Tory cabinet steamrollered through a proposal to cut up to 2,000 local jobs – nearly half of all council employees. Since Croydon Council is among the borough’s biggest employers, such a massive axing of staff is going to have a huge detrimental impact on the local economy.

Unless you live in the fantasy world of our local Council, that is, where the ruling Conservative group at the cabinet meeting maintained that by shedding so many staff, they will deliver “better quality services”.

Our friend Mr Didymus has described the axing of the jobs as Croydon’s “greatest swathe of cuts in its history”. And that was when around 1,400 job cuts were expected. Now, “carnage” might be more accurate.

This is all part of £70 million-worth of ConDem Government-inspired cuts being put through by Croydon Council, on top of £60 million-worth of cuts already implemented since the Tories took control in Croydon four years ago.

Yet meanwhile, amid the chaos at Croydon Athletic Football Club, these very same Tory councillors are seriously considering waiving tens of thousands of pounds in unpaid rent on the club’s ground, owned by the council. And therefore owed to every resident of the borough.

Probably because Croydon Athletic’s plight has been on every local TV station and even in the national media since the club’s owner stacked up £150,000 in potential bribes for Pakistani cricketers in front of the News of the World‘s secret cameras, our slash and burn Conservative councillors have found something that they don’t want to close down (in case it makes them look bad).

According to an unnamed source at Croydon Council, Didymus reports they are “willing to cancel the debt to avoid being seen as responsible for the club’s possible demise”.

Wonder if the same Tory councillors want to avoid being seen as responsible for the possible demise of Croydon?

Apparently not. Throwing 2,000 people out of their jobs, according to Councillor Sara Bashford, presents an “exciting future, with significant change ahead”.

Was she being deliberately heartless as well as brainless?

Croydon’s Tories reckon they can make the economies by cutting “wasteful processes, bureaucracy and unnecessary back office and management costs”.

Some council services are to be “outsourced”: in other words, contracts will be offered to private companies, who will doubtless deliver inferior services, probably at greater ultimate cost to the local ratepayers, all for the benefit of their own bottom line.

It all points to a “winter of discontent” in Croydon, with those council employees fortunate to be keeping their jobs set to take strike action as their sick pay, overtime and annual leave are also to be cut.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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