Council Tax lottery offer that is for the few, not the many

Would you trust your personal data to a bunch less competent than Cambridge Analytica? Town Hall reporter KEN LEE on the latest wizard wheeze to promote the council’s crap app

A not-to-be-missed offer? Well, only if you want to hand over your data to a bunch less competent that Cambridge Analytica

In Blairite-run Croydon, it’s a case of “For the two, not the many”.

Across Croydon you’ll see JCDecaux displays telling you that you can win your Council Tax for a year if you enter the council lottery.

Online you’ll find that if, by May 31, you set up a Council Tax direct debit with Croydon Council, or risk the inadequacies and data-scraping of the council’s crap app by signing up to My Account and opt-in to online billing, then you could win your Council Tax for a whole year.

It’s subject to a maximum of the Band D rate, a chunky £1,636.96. Though if you live in a more modest Band C, B or A property, your winnings could be up to nearly £600 less. And if you don’t pay Council Tax, don’t bother applying. It’s a non-egalitarian concept that sits comfortably with council leader Tony Newman’s Blairites.

It’s fair to say that there is no asterisk on the posters referring to qualifying terms and conditions, which might also explain that if you live in a house bigger than a Band D property, then, actually, you can’t “win your Council Tax paid for a year”, as the poster boasts.

Let’s hope there’s no one mean enough to go to the Advertising Standards Authority about that little imprecision.

You are encouraged to look at the council website, which will give you a chance to try to find a link to the terms and conditions. Happy hunting: navigating round the council’s user-unfriendly, clunky website would test Henry Stanley.

Lottery winner: Tony Newman

It’s noticeable that the poster shows a grey-haired, male senior citizen celebrating a win. Did the council’s PR professionals really mean to suggest a subliminal message that it’s only a maturing baby boom generation that sit in homes that they could afford to buy?

Council Tax has become unsustainably high, regardless of income. It’s thus a tidy sum to win these days. Especially so after the council’s latest 5 per cent hike.

If you don’t pay Council Tax, then you can’t win anything. To those that have, may they be blessed with more. For the few, not the many.

There are two prizes – one for customers on Direct Debit as at May 31, and one for customers who have signed up for My Account and opted for online billing.

No correspondence will be entered into regarding the interpretation of the terms and conditions. And no alternative prize will be offered.

Surely it would be more enticing to be offered the equivalent monetary value of a few days in Cannes in the early spring sun with the council’s executive team at MIPIM2019, down on the Riviera?

Or perhaps a Special Responsibility Allowance for a couple of months as a Deputy Cabinet member – no real responsibility to do any work with that role; treat it as a sinecure if you like.

There’s some equity though. Councillors, including those dependent on Tony Newman’s Council Tax-funded patronage, are not eligible to enter.

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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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