Green councillors tell Gove: Don’t make our residents pay for ‘a decade of bad decisions, dodgy deals and secret contracts’

Croydon’s Green Party councillors have issued an 11th-hour plea to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove for him to withdraw permission for Croydon’s Tory Mayor, Jason Perry, to impose a punitive 15per cent Council Tax hike on the ordinary people of the borough.

Ria Patel and Esther Sutton say that a behind-closed-doors “deal” is being done between Perry and Whitehall bureaucrats “that is forcing Croydon residents to pay for the mess made by councillors’ bad decisions… without residents having any opportunity to say whether they agree. This is neither fair nor democratic.”

In their letter, Patel and Sutton say, “Croydon has been blighted by over a decade of bad decisions, dodgy deals and secret contracts made by councillors and enabled by senior officers. These were done without the knowledge or approval of Croydon residents.”

Message to Michael: Green councillors Ria Patel (left) and Esther Sutton at last week’s Town Hall rally

And the Green councillors highlight that, despite the Tory rhetoric claiming that the council funding crisis is unique to Croydon, there are at least another dozen local authorities which are also bankrupt or on the financial brink: “Many local authorities are facing the worst funding crisis in their history, caused by massive funding shortfalls,” they wrote.

“Attempts to address these shortfalls by allowing increased Council Tax will fail to raise anywhere near the sums needed.”

In Croydon, the 15per cent increase is estimated to raise £20million, while at the same time, Mayor Perry is asking Gove to write off £540million of council borrowing from government.

And Sutton and Patel say, “It makes no economic, social or environmental sense to leave Croydon Council in a position where it will continue to struggle and fail to deliver the basic services that people rightly expect and deserve.”

In their letter, which can be read in full by clicking here, Sutton and Patel include a series of requests:

  • Restore central Government funding to the levels required for Croydon Council to provide necessary services on a sustainable footing
  • Guarantee that funding will increase at least in line with inflation in coming years to ensure that the council can pay its staff fairly and effectively plan for future service delivery
  • Review the funding formula that currently provides far less funding to Croydon than other equivalent London boroughs
  • At a minimum provide the extra funding needed to reduce this year’s Council Tax rise to below the 5per cent threshold set for other Councils
  • Ensure any settlement with Mayor Perry includes sufficient money for an effective hardship fund to protect those unable to meet the extra costs of a Council Tax rise

Last Wednesday, Patel and Sutton voted with Croydon’s Labour and LibDem councillors against Mayor Perry’s budget, which includes another £36million-worth of cuts to services in 2023-2024 as well as the political punishment of the Tory 15per cent Council Tax hike.

The council is due to hold a second budget-setting meeting at the Town Hall tomorrow night, March 8, from 6.30pm, with another large rally on Katharine Street opposing the Mayor’s proposals expected to begin around 5.30pm.

Read more: ‘Stand up for the people and get fair funding for Croydon’
Read more: 37-34: Mayor’s 15% Council Tax hike rejected in budget vote
Read more: The solution to Perry’s finance problem: Fund Croydon Fairly
Read more: If council budget fails to pass, expect a long night on Mar 8


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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 Green councillors tell Gove: Don’t make our residents pay for ‘a decade of bad decisions, dodgy deals and secret contracts’

  1. derekthrower says:

    Just a reminder of the intrinsic connection of both main parties with the failure of the last decade or so.

    You have to laugh at the error of Nathan Elvery, but note part-time Perry’s quote in 2013: “Councillor Jason Perry, cabinet member for planning regeneration and transport, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jo [Negrini] to Croydon.

    “This is a hugely exciting time to be working here and we want someone who will be as ambitious for our borough and our residents as we are.

    “Jo’s background and past experience make her the ideal person to be holding the reins as Croydon embarks on its journey of regeneration.”

  2. John Johnson says:

    What an excellent letter to the Secretary of State from our 2 Green Party Councillors.
    Can your excellent newsheet publish an interview with them and maybe use your influence to get them on to a NATIONAL PLATFORM? – LBC – ITV – BBC Newsnight and/or The today Programme – Channel 4 News etc etc So far the world outside of Croydon is unaware or the plight of Croydob citizens! The three current Croydon MPs who are constantly parading themselves in the National media, NEVER even mention Croydon EVER!

    • Except that’s mostly not the case.
      1, Inside Croydon is not a “newssheet”, excellent or otherwise.
      2, Croydon’s crisis has, in the past two weeks, been the subject of extensive reports in The Times (twice), the Daily Mail, Private Eye (twice), as well as featuring on BBC and ITV local news and BBC Radio London.
      3, There is a national awareness of the situation, evidences by it being raised as a topic on a recent episode of BBC Question Time.
      4, Inside Croydon may have had a hand in some, if not all, of the above.
      5, But our role is not to be PRs or lobbyists for local politicians.

      However, we do share your sentiments about one of the local MPs in particular. Quite why has Steve Reed failed to speak out about the blundering, ineptitude and incompetence displayed by his old mates and close colleagues Tony Newman, Alison Butler and Paul Scott?

  3. Angela Rixon says:

    Have no faith in any of them.
    They are all out for themselves

  4. Sarah Bird says:

    Put very simply , how was the 1.5 billion debt accrued and why? Where is the accountability etc from the Council and its officers? For my part ,as a physically disabled stroke survivor resident ,who has no support for in excess of 8 years , not even a grab rail ,I am very hard pressed to see where any of the money has gone. The time has come for the Mayor and the council to be accountable to all. To hold an open meeting with the press present and explain what steps have been taken to chase the money . I take this opportunity to remind the Mayor and council of the Nolan Principles of good Governance in public office. Enough is enough.

  5. Kevin Croucher says:

    It is up to the residents to stop voting for the useless shower who have got us into this state. Instead they will just turn out and vote for more of the same without giving it a thought.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      You have a point for the 35% who turned out. But the bigger issue is the 65% who did not. I suspect a large nuymber have lost faith and do not want to waste time in a meaningless vote.

      Fundamentally you are right as even those who do not bother in effect have by default allowed the deterioration and are culpable.

      There may be a point on the proportional representation issue. Especially for local elections and that could inspire better turnouts. It would be interesting to see a trial of that in some local elections.
      Other than that the Aussie compulsory system is another option although not my personal choice.

      I do think that if you can you should, even if only to register a protest or vote for an independent or just put none of the above. I get the feeling as I get older that voting is like a muscle and the less you use it the less it works and in the end it is no longer there!

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