The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with a population estimated to be around 520,000, manages to survive with just 60 politicians in its own parliament. That is 50 per cent more people than in Croydon, and 10 fewer paid politicians.
Croydon’s Council Tax-payers fork out £1.6 million a year in “allowances and national insurance” for its 70 elected councillors.
Then there are all the add-on costs and other benefits foisted upon our elected representatives, such as the two parking permits for free parking anywhere from Upper Norwood to Farthing Downs which each of our councillors are allowed to claim. Presuming that Croydon’s councillors are mere mortals who can only drive one car at a time, there seems to be no justification for a system of two permits that is clearly reliant on members being trusted to use their permits solely in the pursuit of council business.
Some councillors may argue that they come from two-car households (lucky them – though it might just offer evidence that they are overpaid) and that the permits are related to specific number plate registrations.
The permits are also made available to Croydon’s three MPs.
The permits allow for free parking in any on-street parking bay or in 18 different car parks around the borough. This is all in addition to free parking for councillors under the Town Hall.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs values this parking perk as being worth £900 a year per permit. That works out at £3,600 over a four-year term of office. That tax liability is avoided if councillors attest to using the permit “only for council business”. Which, of course, they do.
With a new council beginning on Tuesday evening, surely now is the time to cut the permit available to just one per councillor, or perhaps get them to buy a few bus or tram tickets and get councillors to join the mere mortals among the electorate and use public transport?
Coming to Croydon
- Junction Road Big Lunch, June 1
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 7
- Crystal Palace Transition Town annual meeting, June 11
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 11
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Croydon Green Fair, North End, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Airport House swing dance free event, June 21
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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