Shapps: Croydon’s “breathtaking incompetence” on C-Tax

This from today’s Evening Standard. On the uncollected Council Tax in London boroughs. Including Croydon’s £35 million.

Inner London Lambeth tops the list. But Croydon is second, and the first outer London borough in the list. Local government minister Grant Shapps calls this “breathtaking incompetence”. It is assumed that Shapps’ condemnation is applied to incompetent Tory councils, such as Croydon, as well as those under Labour authority.

“All the millions could have been diverted to protecting frontline services,” says Shapps. Services such as the weekly bin collections that were promised only last year, like our libraries, or the David Lean Cinema, or the Clocktower Arts Centre, or police officers, the provision of youth services, or the summer music festival in Lloyd Park… The list goes on.

Meanwhile, paying the price for this “breathtaking incompetence” are the council’s  staff. The Standard claims that there could be more than 300 job cuts still to come at Croydon Council, in addition to the 200 shed in April.

Of course, MP Gavin Barwell, who until last year was among the Conservative councillors “running” Croydon, has disputed these figures, and defends the likes of Croydon deputy CEO Nathan Elvery, who has boasted that “efficiency is in our DNA”.

A spokesman for Croydon Council trotted out the usual party line to the Standard, “The amount we have outstanding is less than 3 per cent of the £1.5 billion available to collect”, as if that’s all right. It is worth noting that most local authorities, including many in London, operate at a 99 per cent collection rate on Council Tax.

The London School of Economics’ Tony Travers, an academic expert on local councils, reckons that every £60,000 of uncollected Council Tax represents one less person that the council can afford to employ, with the commensurate loss of service. By that reckoning, in the case of Croydon, that’s more than 580 jobs lost because of management’s failure to collect Council Tax.

“Every penny not paid in council tax will mean lower service levels or that other people have to pay higher council tax,” Travers told the Standard. “Every person who pays their council tax will feel cheated by those people who don’t. High non-collection rates need looking at.”

Perhaps Grant Shapps could have a chat with our Gav?

via £500m council tax goes unpaid in London | News.

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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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2 Responses to Shapps: Croydon’s “breathtaking incompetence” on C-Tax

  1. Incompetence in The Council? Surely not?!?!

    Oh, hang on…

    According to a story in one newspaper, Sure Start is now to be outsourced to ‘cost cut’. Ooh dear, I feel a Privatisation coming on… There’s more here:

    http://londonist.com/2011/02/council-cuts-croydon-and-lewisham-work-out-their-budgets.php

    They concede in the article that National Organisations will do better than small local groups… You mean big wasteful PLC’s with their Legions of Shareholders to support and often massive debts? Where for every 100 quid going in only about 80 quid makes it to the actual service?

    Unlike the small lean groups that operate locally, have a much better debt situation, no Shareholders, many a local contact to help out, and… Will actually put any profit back into the system locally. Rather than on some foreign shore.

    As one final point: So much for The Big Society eh? Local Charities can bid, but they can forget it if they’re only 2 offices or so.

    This Council are truly damning in how clueless they are. They aren’t even following Tory policy by the looks of it.

    Oh, hang on…

    http://www.andrewpelling.org.uk/record.jsp?type=news&ID=105

    Andrew Pelling MP and that New Addington School. How he turned on The Council over a policy that would have seen said school closed/ cut and replaced with a Tesco… He asked them to follow Tory Policies then. So they’ve had a problem in the past where the manifesto they were voted in on is conveniently ignored at times.

    Instead follow Tory policy eh? They chucked Andrew out just after that. You know, when he fell ill due to personal stuff getting a bit much. Innocent Until Proven Guilty Andrew Pelling as well… Oh, and then they stamped on him some more when he tried to save his seat at the last election:

    http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/archive/2010/04/15/News_Croydon+%28news%29/8097493.Tories__mental_health__slurs_/

    After a crushing defeat due to this Andrew did not fall ill again. Well, apart from the typical down-hearted bit you’d expect after so much injustice.

    These Tories are genuinely dangerous in their ignorance and will do anything for power. No low seems to be too low.

  2. Arfur Towcrate says:

    Can’t find a word about this scandal in the Sadvertiser© and wonder why not

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