Croydon Council and the cuts: playing a numbers game

Croydon’s deputy CEO Nathan Elvery: empire building, while cutting services elsewhere

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:

£450 million

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.

£20 million

the amount Croydon Council spent in 2011 on interim staff and consultants.

£765

the amount paid per day to just one of those interims, Paul Davies, who was in charge of the department looking after procurement.

£921,309.97

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.

£5 million

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.

£432.64

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.

£4,000

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.

30

the number of Croydon Council employees now being paid £100,000 or more per year.

632

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.

692

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.

60

the number of staff employed in Croydon Council’s financial services department in 2008-2009.

138

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.

  • Inside Croydon: A news source about Croydon that is not based in Redhill. Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, email us at inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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About insidecroydon

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
This entry was posted in Art, Business, Croydon 8/8, Croydon Council, David Lean Cinema Campaign, Fairfield Halls, Jon Rouse, Libraries, Nathan Elvery, Sara Bashford, Theatre, URV, Warehouse Theatre and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Croydon Council and the cuts: playing a numbers game

  1. The idea of the URV is to pay up now and then earn the money back through the profit share later. Hence the claim that it’ll cost the taxpayer nothing.

    The problem is it means paying up now, in a recession. With massive cuts from Govt grants as well. Considering Taberner could have been patched up for the next 15 years for 10% of the price could the new council offices not have waited for better times?

    A big chunk of Adult Social Care money ( millions ) has been pilfered for ‘other projects’. I’d love to know what ‘other projects’ it went to, seeing as the Govt sent it down as Adult Social Care money.

    There are questions to be answered oh yes…

    Like

    • All good points.

      Noticed this morning one Tory councillor, Michael Neal, Twittering on and trying to claim that the published cost of the URV seems to go up a few million every time he reads something about it.

      This is, of course, utterly untrue.

      It was the council’s “partners” who published the £450 million price tag when the scheme was launched by this Conservative administration in 2007. Five long years ago.

      The values quoted are a mix of land prices and building costs, and because our council has been secretive about the whole venture since Day 1, it is difficult to get any clarity on it all.

      But there is not a building project on this planet that ever comes in at the price it was intended to. £450m in 2007 > Croydon’s Half a Billion Pound Folly by 2014?

      And yes, it is using public money to make our council property speculators.

      What if they are not able to find commercial buyers for any of the various buildings that are developed? Anyone seen Ruskin Square this week? Or the IYLO?

      The nil-cost to Croydon line was pumped out before the council had to go and borrow £140 million from central funds to enable the developers to progress, which local residents will be paying interest on until the middle of the 21st century.

      How much will that all cost the people of Croydon?

      And will any of these questions ever get to be answered?

      Like

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