It’s time to re-balance the Town Hall with a bit of honesty

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The Green Party’s mayoral candidate, PETER UNDERWOOD (pictured left), reacts to the news of a possible further postponement of the council’s budget-setting meeting

When Labour announced on Twitter that they had “balanced Croydon Council’s budget”, I did ask them if they were going to explain to people what a “Capitalisation Direction” is. Or why they need it. What it means for Croydon. And what effect it’s going to have on future budgets (clue: the capitalisation direction is for £70million in the first year).

Funnily enough, they have never replied.

We know the Labour Council has really messed up the Croydon finances. We also know that the Conservative government has slashed funding to local authorities and is now punishing Croydon residents by forcing through cuts instead of writing off the debts (like they did when they messed up their own government finances).

Sadly, what we are missing in Croydon is honesty from both Labour and the Conservatives about what’s really going on.

We know we are in a bad place and that means we may have to make difficult decisions about what Croydon Council can and can’t afford to do in future.

But those decisions should be made in transparent discussions with Croydon residents. And those discussions must start with being honest about the current situation and its causes.

As a candidate for Mayor, I’m not promising miracles, but I am promising to be honest with you and to make sure you are involved in transparent discussions so we are all clear on what Croydon Council is doing.

Read more: ‘One of the biggest casualties of council crisis is our trust’
Read more: Time to reverse the damaging cuts to London’s youth services

  • Peter Underwood is the Green Party’s candidate in the election for an executive Mayor being held on May 5

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5 Responses to It’s time to re-balance the Town Hall with a bit of honesty

  1. Our Green candidate always sounds well meaning, so I welcome his comments. But where are the suggestions, manifesto commitments even, from the official Labour camp?

  2. Gavin Palmer says:

    I agree fellow Mayoral candidate Peter honesty and straightforwardness is needed all round.

    One omitted aspect is that Local Croydon business rates used to come from Croydon, be sent up to central Government and then be granted and sent back down to Croydon.
    To adapt to online sellers and to give local councils flexibility to reduce business rates to retail stores who have lost sales and footfall, those business rates now come direct to Croydon.

    This Labour used and council administration makes for a very misleading perception of central government ‘cuts of 76%’ but omit the local the huge increase say 300% increase that now comes business rates paid direct!.

    The overall income of the Council is similar.

    Just overheads, maladministration, capital losses of £5million plus interest on the reckless ill-advised Croydon Park Hotel purchase and then duff sale, interest on £100million paid for Allders empty shell, interest on £1.6bn of debt plus the ‘capitalisation direction’ another word for increasing the overdraft limit, many more £100ks spent on ‘festivals’ that don’t occur Boxpark, murky payments inside Brick by Bricks to employees, contractors and suppliers into that money pit, costly reports on failure that are ignored in the main, big unnecessary referendum costs, deliberate zero charges to developers . . . . . many say reckless cowboy/fraudulent contractors ex Axis . . . . . . .

    Time to re balance Croydon with an Independent Mayor I think. Which is why I put myself forward as a candidate!
    Support Gavin FL Palmer for Mayor of Croydon

    • Coherence and factual accuracy not necessarily strong points of this fringe candidate.

      • Gavin Palmer’s wrong about business rates. Currently councils retain half this cash. Proposals to allow them to retain all the money have been published, but legislation to enact this has been delayed. The proposals have always seemed bonkers to me, as they favour rich councils,

  3. Gavin FL Palmer an Independent Candidate for Mayor of Croydon says:

    I apologise my error its £67ish million on Fairfield Halls refurbishment, similar to the price according to a builder of building a new one for the same price. As far as I can see they repainted, removed the retail ‘eyes and ears’ cube shop plus box office, plus the steinway concert pianos and then covered over the lights with new shades and led light bulbs. Yes they did remove the gallery as well with the intended replacement never happening and also removed some asbestos which could of been entombed for safety imo unprofessional opinion.

    It seems they just cleaned the outside. Still left the broken lift, same doors, same seats and coverings, no visible new CCTV system and as with the £2mil refurb spent on Norwood library they left the roof leaking perhaps to squeeze some extra money in the future, unless they were just the ‘cowboy builders’ that other genuine professionals could see.

    I am learning and picking up information as I go along.
    Which is why I wanted well spread out across the borough hustings for the Mayoral candidates.

    May I also give great credit to Inside Croydons copious, witty journalism, although I sadly admit that there is so much to catch up and so many sad issues for the people of Croydon to read.

    A new leaf must be turned over. The time is now

    One small publishing issue please could you make, link references easier to add into Wikipedia as it would bring in more links and raise your online rankings.
    As per the Croydon Motto “Striving for perfection”

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