‘Save Our Services’ call as unions join Council Tax protest

The Croydon Trades Council has joined the campaign to stop Mayor Jason Perry’s 15per cent Council Tax hike, and is encouraging council workers and members of all trades unions in the borough to attend tomorrow night’s protest outside the Town Hall in an effort to secure fair funding.

And MP Sarah Jones’s Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party has passed a motion calling on all party members to turn out on March 1 and “do everything we can to protest and oppose the 15per cent Council Tax hike, while lobbying government for a fair funding settlement”.

With hundreds of council jobs already axed since the council’s financial collapse in 2020, the unions are joining the campaign under the banner of “Croydon SOS: Save Our Services”.

They point to the £36million-worth of cuts that the council has been forced to make already in this financial year, and maintain that any further cuts to services risk putting Croydon residents in peril.

Rachael Baylis is the GMB union officer responsible for members at Croydon Council, and was instrumental in organising a meeting of the Croydon Trades Council to mobilise workers across the borough.

Baylis told Inside Croydon: “The GMB absolutely rejects the Mayor’s proposal of a 15per cent increase to Council Tax.

‘Our members are struggling’: GMB official Rachael Bayliss

“Many of our members are already struggling on low pay with the rising cost of living and no proper payrise in sight.

“There has been over a decade of cuts to local government, where services have been decimated. How is it fair that people will be asked to pay more Council Tax for less services?”

Baylis described the Council Tax hike as an “absolutely ludicrous proposal”.

She said: “There must be a better alternative, and it must come in the form of proper central government funding for councils.”

The motion passed by Croydon Central CLP said that it “notes that this extraordinary increase in Council Tax coincides with what the Office for Budget Responsibility says is the biggest fall in household incomes on record.

“Further notes that £36million of cuts have been made this year to council services – and therefore hard-pressed Croydon residents are being asked to pay more to get less.

“This CLP therefore agrees to: Participate in, and encourage members and supporters to participate in, community-led actions against the 15per cent Council Tax hike and support the demonstration outside the Town Hall on 1 March.”

Double trouble: twice as many Croydon South residents have signed the Parliamentary petition as those in Croydon North

Some 25,000 people have so far signed the petition to Croydon Council opposing the 15per cent Council Tax hike.

That petition will be presented at tomorrow night’s council budget meeting in the Town Hall Chamber, which is due to begin at 6.30pm. Protest organisers have asked their supporters to start to gather outside on Katharine Street around 5.30pm.

The separate, Parliamentary petition has achieved its initial target to force the government to respond to its premise that Council Tax increases above the national cap of 5per cent should not be allowed without a local referendum voting in favour.

The Parliament website provides a map which shows that opposition to the “Perry Premium” Council Tax hike is stronger in the traditionally Tory-voting south of the borough than it is in Labour-voting areas. More than 4,000 people in Tory MP Chris Philp’s Croydon South constituency have signed the national, Parliamentary petition so far, compared to 2,000 in Croydon North and 3,000 in Croydon Central.

“A 15per cent Council Tax increase will hit many of our members very hard indeed, especially in the middle of this cost of living crisis,” an official from one of the larger residents’ associations in the south of the borough told Inside Croydon.

“This is not what we campaigned long and hard for to change to a directly-elected Mayor. Many people feel very badly let down over this.”


Read more: 10,000 signatures! Now government has to answer our petition
Read more: Public’s furious reaction to Perry’s Premium Council Tax hike
Read more: Government to write off £540m of council’s debts

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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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7 Responses to ‘Save Our Services’ call as unions join Council Tax protest

  1. moyagordon says:

    I wish unions weren’t so closely aligned to one political party because it is hard to know whether they are being impartial, or whether they’re trying to make their political opponents look bad.

    • Nick Davies says:

      Unions are campaiging organizations: they exist to look after their members’ interests.

      How on earth do you imagine they can be impartial?

    • Worry not, Moya. Thanks to Starmer, his Tory-lite Labour and the unions have parted company

    • moyagordon says:

      In response to the responses to my comment. I am cynical about the Labour Party, having lived and worked in several labour run council areas in the UK, and not been impressed with their behaviour. I have voted for both labour and conservatives over the years. Probably one of the most damning examples of poor behaviour from a labour council is here in Croydon where people in social housing were treated so poorly, as seen in Regina Road, South Norwood.

      I fear the Labour Party has lost the plot, and question whether they really do care about vulnerable people.

  2. Might I suggest that even the most cursory review of the history of the Labour Party – and there is a bit of a hint in the name too – would reveal that it arose from, was created by, the Union movement. There was a time when the majority of workers were union members and I wish that the deliberate and ideological atomisation of the workforce, the emasculation of their influence by Thatcher and her acolytes, and the lurch to the right of New Labour chasing the few thousands of voters in the middle who, under our ludicrous FPTP anti-democratic voting system control who governs us, had not so reduced their power in the labour party to the minimal effect it is allowed now.

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    Great article – but very interesting comments and not totally what the reality is.
    Over 40 years from the 70s to today I have met with a range of trade unionists.

    There are actually Conservatives in trades unions and also the Conservative Workers and trades unionist organisation.
    Yes all Unions work on behalf of their members but that is for employment and they lobby for employment rights. There are parts that also have political views left and right that exercise that in campaigning for whatever they have a bonnet bee about.

    Yes there are some that are a bit zealous and passionate on both sides of the Political fence.

    Impartial ? No. They are firmly on the side of protecting employment rights and enhancing safe working conditions and rights.

    As with all organisations there are people within them that do a lot of good and some that do not.

    I have (as some may know) had quite a lot of dealings with Trades Unions good and bad on behalf of employers and Company’s I have represented. I also have had quite a lot of dealings with Employers and Government bodies – good and bad again when I have represented Employee’s and Trades Unions.

    Overall despite the bad press over the last 50 years my experiences have led me to believe that they can be a force for good especially when the legislative body of Government misuses its powers to deny basic rights.
    I would suggest to Moya to look at the issues on the basis of the rights and wrongs of the situation and how one would feel if it was themselves affected – not what label a body is tarred with by it’s opponants.
    With a few notable exceptions I have found that Trades Union officers are a pragmatic and sensible bunch including the RMT despite its press.
    I have also found that MPs of all parties are not much different and are also very pragmatic and sensible when it gets down to the brass tacks of an issue.

    What I have noticed is the skewed press reporting nationwide against Trades Unions which is not so common elsewhere in Europe

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