Perry misses scrutiny meeting on council’s £19.3m overspend

CROYDON IN CRISIS: According to the borough’s part-time Mayor, the council budget is ‘just numbers on paper’. By KEN LEE

Out of his depth: just four months into his term in office and £81,000 per year Mayor Perry is skipping important scrutiny meetings

Part-time Mayor Jason Perry didn’t bother to show up for last night’s scrutiny committee meeting at the Town Hall, where on the agenda was an official report showing the Tory-led council going £19.3million over budget in its first 100 days in office.

Perry thus denied the committee its proper opportunity to question what measures the elected Mayor might be taking to fix the financial problems that have occurred since he took charge in May.

But Perry – on a £81,000 salary from the council – did manage to find the time to speak to the BBC today, in what appears to be an increasingly desperate effort to try to blame someone… anyone for his struggles to get to grips with the cash-strapped council’s finances.

Inside Croydon first reported in July on the renewed problems around the council’s finances, and the reluctance of Perry and his henchman, Jason Cummings, to make the figures public.

Perry and Cummings have used the long summer recess to avoid providing the hard figures which confirm that, despite inheriting a small budget surplus from the previous Labour-run administration, they are now struggling to get their sums to add up.

That was the situation until Monday night, when in a cynical data dump, Perry’s council performed a U-turn and finally released three months’ worth of budget accounting figures. Following the council’s financial collapse in 2020, for the previous 18 months, up until May, these numbers had been discussed at council cabinet meetings and made public every month.

The council report was published less than 24 hours before the scrutiny committee, and a week ahead of the first meetings of Perry’s cabinet and the council audit committee since mid-summer.

Under wraps: Jason Cummings delayed publishing finance figures for three months

BBC London today followed up Inside Croydon’s report on the £19.3million hole in Perry’s budgets.

Perry said, “The reality is that the finances of the council are much worse than anybody could have anticipated.

“I can’t overstate how badly managed the finances have been over the last few years. A number of the savings in this year’s budget were essentially just numbers on paper with no substance behind them.”

These “just numbers on paper with no substance behind them” are also known as the 2022-2023 council budget. The budget was approved in March by two council finance directors – interim Richard Ennis and his replacement, Jane West – as well as by the government-appointed improvement panel.

“There are three issues which altogether come up to £19million of problems. If they had been properly budgeted in the first place, the budget would be in balance,” poor, put-upon Perry bleated to the BBC.

Croydon Labour, who got the council into the financial mess in the first place, described Perry’s overspending as “shocking”.

Read more: Perry in cover-up of £18m budget overspend in first 100 days
Read more: Mayor makes rapid U-turn as report confirms £19.3m overspend
Read more: Croydon In Crisis: Council can no longer cope with basic tasks

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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
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Improvement Board, Jane West, Jason Cummings, Mayor Jason Perry, Richard Ennis, Section 114 notice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Perry misses scrutiny meeting on council’s £19.3m overspend

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    When I stood as a candidate for Mayor, I knew that if I got elected I would have to be working every hour I could to try to fix Croydon’s problems and the financial mess.

    Instead we’ve got a part-time Mayor who doesn’t understand Council finances and can’t be bothered to turn up to meetings!

  2. Perry too interested in spanking £3.2m on a Purley white elephant since energy costs have spiralled and ppl are not gonna pay £10 to enter a swimming pool.

  3. 2deal2 says:

    Him and Truss will only attend meetings where the press or bigwigs are present. This new breed of “leaders” do not lead, they are “summoned” by executives and high society.

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