Council scoops top award among most rotten boroughs

Croydon Council has been handed the ultimate accolade: the most rotten of boroughs in the 2020 Rotten Borough Awards, revealed today in the latest edition of Private Eye magazine.

Available in all good newsagents. And some not-so-good ones, too

The awards are always hotly contested, with the greed, venality and incompetence of many council staff and elected councillors across the country a regular cause of astonishment and disbelief among the public that they are supposed to serve.

But Croydon this year had a not-so secret weapon in Brick by Brick, the loss-making house-builders, and saw off all-comers.

After three years of knocking on the door with runners-up gongs in various categories in Lord Gnome’s annual round-up of the not-so-great and not-very-good in local government, Croydon went above and beyond in 2020, crashing into bankruptcy in November in order to secure top spot.

What’s more, Jo “Negreedy” Negrini, the vain and vindictive council chief exec who ran up debts of £1.5billion while in charge, also got a mention in dispatches, giving Croydon claim to two prizes in one year at the Rotten Borough Awards.

Croydon missed out only in one possible category, the “Farewell And Good Riddance” award, where former leader Tony Newman and his clique of mates who had helped to run the council into the ground inexplicably didn’t rate a mention.

Maybe that’s because, despite their spectacular failure, Newman, Paul Scott, Alison Butler and Simon Hall still continue to collect allowances as councillors, having failed to do the decent thing and resign.

Top of the blots: Croydon has finally made it

But that should not detract from delight from grasping the main award, which Newman & Co did so much to help secure.

Under the category “Going For Broke”, the Eye notes, “As councils found themselves increasingly starved of funds by central government, many looked for ways to make money on the side.

“Trouble is, local authorities are not full of people with experience running office rentals, house building, shopping centres, solar farms or – very fashionable this one – ‘social energy’ companies, so commercial successes were thin on the ground.

“Labour Croydon council… is the only authority actually to go bust in 2020, and therefore gets the gong.”

Brick by Brick, the award citation stated, “proved very good at losing money (it owes the council at least £110million in unpaid capital and interest on loans) but not so great at building stuff.”

Astonishingly, even with her £440,000 reward for failure handed to her by Croydon councillors in September, Negreedy – as the Eye now insists on calling the self-proclaimed “regeneration practitioner” – did not get the biggest local authority golden handshake of 2020. So she managed only to finish runner-up in the “Payoffs of the Year” category.

Better luck next time, eh,  Jo? If there ever is a next time.

Private Eye is available from today in all good newsagents. And some not so good ones, too.

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
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7 Responses to Council scoops top award among most rotten boroughs

  1. moyagordon says:

    Love Private Eye. Thank you Inside Croydon for being our very own local Private Eye.

  2. chris says:

    A well deserved gong!

  3. Dan Maertens says:

    ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’ as Phineas T. Barnum might once have said, although in his defence the circus that he was in charge of didn’t manage to lose quite as much dosh.

  4. Joe Clark says:

    A massive well done to Negreedy, Mustapha, Iles & Co. You have surpassed yourselves, well done!

  5. All down to you Steve, congrats. You know what gets me, as someone who has done several stints at Croydon, in the Press Office for heaven’s sake, they do not seem to care a fig about their reputation these days. The interim CEO must realise that most staff get their info from the media, given the lack of any internal communications, so, why not open up and carry your staff with you? Staff must value honesty and openness, but even after years of being left out I bet they’d recognise and value it. Bizarre

  6. Another nail in the coffin of Croydon’s reputation.

    Reputation is where the irreparable damage has been done.

    Thanks to Newman, Negreedy, Scott, Butler, Hall and Fitzsimons – you should all stand down as councillors – disgraceful that you haven’t.

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