The parlous state of Croydon Council’s finances, and the chronic incompetence of the people in charge of them, made it on to national television last week.
Thursday night’s Question Time on BBC1 broke away from its obsessions with Brexit and asylum-seekers to address the question of Council Tax, and the dreadful imposition of 5per cent increases during the worst cost-of-living crisis in 40 years.
Yes! Just 5per cent!
The question was initially directed at Robert Jenrick, the former Tory minister for local government, who stumbled and bumbled a bit.
It was here that Ian Hislop, the Editor of Private Eye, came in.
Armed with a decade’s-worth of reports in his magazine’s Rotten Boroughs column, Hislop referred to misguided local authority ventures into energy companies (Nottingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy, or Thurrock’s solar farms) and property development (probably meaning Croydon and Brick by Brick, although others have also dabbled in this area), declaring that some had gone “spectacularly bankrupt”.
“And the people who failed the most,” Hislop observed, “are allowed to put up the Council Tax the most.” Jenrick was looking more than a little discomforted at this stage.
“So they don’t stop at 5per cent,” Hislop continued. “It’ll be above that. It’ll be 15per cent. It’ll be 10per cent.”
The host, Fiona Bruce, here mentioned spectacularly bankrupt Croydon’s 15per cent hike.
“And they are spectacularly useless, and spectacularly bankrupt,” confirmed Hislop, an avid reader of the Rotten Boroughs page, which last year described Croydon as a “national laughing stock”.
And Hislop added one final rider. “All I am saying is that there is incompetence here as well as under-funding.”
- Click here for Inside Croydon’s archive coverage of the leaked Penn Report for a sample of how incompetent Croydon Council has been
Read more: Government to write off £540m of council’s debts
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He is not wrong!
Ian Hislop was spot on. Superb journalist. Private eye is excellent
Ian is a master of satire wit and intellect- He is a master of Editing, Journalism and Broadcasting.
Today he has broken new ground and become the Master of Understatements with his aside of ”incompetence and underfunding” beating into third place his observation of those who fail the most are allowed to put up the tax the most and joint second with Fiona on the spectacularly bankrupt and spectacularly useless.
If we did not live in this Borough I think I would not be containing the tears of laughter. But I do and this is a shocking indictment and exactly the disrepute that has been foisted on us by those in charge.
Definitely time for change
Well said Ian ….Need to get the word out there for the protest on 1 March and petition!!
and 8th march 2023 at 5.30 town hall . Everyone needs to support and oppose the hike. Why should the residents pay for the ineptitude of the council?