There is a myth perpetuated by Croydon Council, especially since May 2010 to justify its dogmatic policies of cutting staff, services and grants, be they weekly rubbish collections, timely road repairs, street lights, the summer music festival and Mela, David Lean Cinema, youth projects, a properly staffed and funded library service or, most recently, the Warehouse Theatre.
The council claims that there is not any public cash to pay for these functions.
But that is untrue. Croydon Council is always very capable of frittering away millions of pounds of public money on pet projects and schemes when it wants to.
Take a look at this random sample of numbers:
the original, overall estimated value of the council’s URV scheme, with developers John Laing, which includes building a shiny new headquarters building. Croydon Council’s leadership has so far kept the exact cost of the new HQ and other elements of the scheme – such as the cost to the Council Tax-payers of the interest on the loan taken out on behalf of the developers.
the amount paid per day to just one of those interims, Paul Davies, who was in charge of the department looking after procurement.
the total amount paid by Croydon Council to Fairfield Halls in 2011 for hirings and other functions, rather than use publicly owned venues such as Braithwaite Halls or Taberner House.
the approximate total the council has set aside from the riot recovery funds received, to spend on a “PR campaign” for “re-branding” various parts of the borough, rather than using it to help directly those who lost their homes and businesses on August 8.
the cost of hiring five security guards – otherwise known as “Bashford’s Bouncers” – from Interserve to attend last week’s Upper Norwood Joint Library Consultation meeting apparently to ensure the “safety” of all there.
the amount spent by Croydon Council to send CEO Jon Rouse and others on a nice little jolly to the south of France this year.
the number of staff employed in the council’s Resources and Customer Services departments in 2008-2009, under the management of deputy CEO Nathan Elvery.
the number of staff employed in that same part of the council today under “Mr Efficiency” Elvery, a 10 per cent increase after more than two years of job cuts to front-line services at Croydon Council. These figures are only for staff members, and do not include any additional consultants hired in.
the number of staff employed in Croydon Council’s financial services department in 2008-2009.
the number of staff employed in Croydon Council’s financial services department today, more than double the number in the same department in three years. Not including, of course, any consultants, who are kept off the staff books.
Croydon Council: where nothing ever quite adds up. Unless there is a vested interest.
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