A people’s protest is planned outside Croydon Town Hall tonight, with the organisers appealing to Brit award-winning rapper Stormzy to join them in their fight against unfair Council Tax hikes and tens of millions of pounds of additional cuts to public services.
The protest on Katharine Street from 5.45pm is ahead of the council’s annual meeting, where the ceremonial mayor will receive their chains of office, there will be drinks in the Mayor’s Parlour and a bunch of ex-councillors will be presented with certificates saying that they are now aldermen, alderwomen or alderpersons.
In a cynical ploy to try to improve her own chances of selection as a Labour parliamentary candidate, Alisa Flemming, the ceremonial mayor whose term in the ermine and red robes ends tonight, had pushed through the proposal that Croydon-born Stormzy – Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr – should be offered the highest honour that the council can confer, the Freedom of the Borough.
Imagine the photo opportunities!
Merah Louise Smith, a 110-year-old resident from the Windrush generation, was also nominated for the Freedom of the Borough.
The council has remained silent on whether Stormzy and Smith will be attending the ceremonials tonight.
Indeed, by 10am today – less than nine hours before the council meeting is due to begin – the council’s website had no mention of the Freedom of the Borough presentations on its agenda for the meeting.
But then the council is notoriously slow at publishing public information – often deliberately so, in order to unlawfully withhold information from residents.
This morning, they had also yet to release details of the Tory cabinet and other appointments for 2023-2024 being made by Mayor Jason Perry. Those appointments, many of which carry tens of thousands of pounds of special responsibility allowances, should have been released last week.
The uncertainty over Stormzy’s attendance tonight could just be that the international star has seen through that he is being offered the award as a cheap publicity stunt, and decided to steer well clear of being used in such a manner by a bunch of third-rate local politicians.
If so, then he’s a good judge…
Nearly 27,000 people have signed a petition protesting against the 15per cent Council Tax hike imposed by Mayor Perry, and calling for fair funding for Croydon.
Mayor Perry – catchphrase: “Listening to Croydon” – ignored Croydon and pushed through the Council Tax hike at council meetings in March, backed by his Conservative councillor colleagues, while the borough’s Labour councillors lamely abstained.
Residents’ groups, local trades unions and the Croydon Assembly organisation have now issued their own invitation to Stormzy to join them on the Town Hall steps tonight.
David White, one of the protest organisers, told Inside Croydon, “Stormzy is a credit to Croydon and deserves an honour. But it would be better coming from the people of Croydon rather than the incompetent politicians who run Croydon Council.
“The Council has declared bankruptcy three times since 2020. It is now seeking to make the ordinary people of Croydon pay, through a huge Council Tax hike and service cuts.
“Stormzy has a strong record of standing by the ordinary people of Croydon. We hope he will reject the offer of an honour from Croydon Council, or at least join our protest outside the meeting to show his solidarity.”
The council’s annual meeting is due to begin at 6.30pm.
Read more: Here’s the Mayor and 33 Croydon Tory councillors who THREE times voted in favour of hitting you with a 15% Council Tax hike
Read more: And here are the Labour councillors who broke their word over the 15% tax hike and abandoned the people of Croydon
Read more: The solution to Perry’s finance problem: Fund Croydon Fairly
Read more: Perry admits he can’t take action against council’s bankrupters
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Not so much a people’s protest as a TUC protest. Unions fund Labour so really it’s just an anti-Tory protest because the TUC have their vested interest in the people that bankrupted Croydon multiple times. People’s protest implies this is somehow an organic event, which it isn’t. The protesters don’t actually care about the people of Croydon, it’s just cheap political point scoring. If they actually cared they would have had protests about the previous admin.
The concerns and complaints are legitimate. A 15% tax rise while people struggle to eat and pay bills is abhorrent, so why shouldn’t it be protested?
You make a number of valid points, in terms of the silence of some groups through the period until this March.
But there is a legitimate, broad-spectrum people’s protest.
Check out this coverage, which launched the two petitions, and pre-dates by some weeks any actions by the local unions.
With almost 27,000 signatures, we would submit that there is a broad cross-section of Croydon society which all share very valid reasons to protest against the budget cuts and Council Tax hike imposed by part-time Mayor Perry.
The concern for a 15% tax rise is legitimate, no one wants to be spending more money and getting less in return. Really these protests aren’t about a 15% tax rise, otherwise they’ll be protesting about Labour Councillors abstaining from the vote too, which they won’t. My point is where were these protests over arguably much more serious matters which yourselves covered better than anyone else and I was explaining why they weren’t there. As a non-partisan I wish the protests could be angry about both parties locally. This should be about Croydon and the people of Croydon and it runs much deeper than just having a pop at the Tories.
Those protests are about the Conservatives’ 15% tax rise and cuts to services. And I will be protesting about Labour Councillors abstaining from the Council Tax vote too.
There have been attempts by some people to turn these protests into just having a go at the Conservatives in the same way that the Mayor tries to blame Labour for his choice to raise Council Tax by 15%. I don’t agree with either and I attend these protests to say they are both to blame for the mess we are in.
I am a Croydon resident, I am a union member, and I am a Green Party member. For all of those reasons I will be at the protest tonight. We have suffered too long under both Labour and Conservative Councils and it’s time we stopped just switching between those two bad options.
Residents deserve better and I will be joined by fellow Green Party members at this protest, like we have been at many previous protests before, to show that there is a better option if people vote for it.
Well said .Let us all hope, at the forthcoming elections, the voting actions of the coucillors are remembered at the ballot box and the hardship caused to so many. Every resident deserves better . Where were the MPs for Croydon ,whose constituents are so badly affected yesterday ? The Green party were present yesterday
Roy you have points and they ahve vailidity. But I do feel on this issue you could be quite wrong.
Having roots in Croydon and Dulwich that go back over a century and having lived here for decades with my family I and many I know have castigated both Labour and Tory Councillors and continue to do so.
Just because other groups also feel the actions or a rump of the Tory party are wrong does not detract that they are wrong.
It also does not impune the validy of ones Political view just that the particular act was wrong.
All agree that the last Labour administration under Labour was an unmitigated disaster and was the nail in Croydons Coffin. Even the party itself does not condone those actions from what I gather. I know that many are ashamed it happened and want to do so much better. But perhaps ahve an uphill struggle to regain trust and rightly so.
However Mr Fisher with Perry alongside him left an unsustainable debt prior of quite a few hundred million near to a Billion. Yet he would like to ignore that part of the overall debt and seek to blame Labour for it all. Is that honesty or being disingenuous?
Most Conservatives are aware and know the flaws and are not ashamed to admit they were wrong also.
The Conservative Party could also reasonably be held culpable regarding those ill fated changes to Councils Funding that also caused not just Labout Councils but Councils run by all parties and also those in NOC to run into debt. You will not find a Minister at present that wants to dwell on that but they also know there is quite a case there too.
One can say that it was a working short term solution to a balance of paymetns problem and the risks were known but in the end were not mitigated and then with Brexit forgotton. An error in judgement perhaps?
Then the also relaxed the controls that protected us from excess misuse and those areas of prevention and could also be held reasonable culpable for loaning to administrations irresponsibly both Conservative and Labour. Again an error?
Al those errors yet –
Only Croydon is targeted with a 15% and without the required referendum?
What does that say about the current administrations view of residents rights? Ignore the party. Look at the act itself.
You do appreciate this impact is felt disproportionately on the so called richer south of the Borough? Many of which voted in the IC poll against that increase?
Most of the people I know do not care about political slagging. But we do care when basic rights and principles are trampled and wrongdoing is repeatedly taking place irrespective of Labour/Tory or just the plain old Council itself when it comes across as against its residents and treats them and future generations like an expendable milchcow.
Even worse when their failures contribute to injury death and permanent detriment to yuong people and severely disadavantages future generations
I do actually care about my Borough irrespective of party administration. I can easily thank good work and have done so, as highlight bad and done that too.
I do not believe I am alone. In fact over the decades i have met very good people from all the political sides who have worked together not for personal aggrandisement, but because they can and want to help improve the borough.
That includes people from the Conservative party. the Greens the Lib Dems, Labour, Independents, people you might call Lefties, Righties, Brexiteers, Remainers, Unionists, Republicans and those who do not really care two jots about that lot in politic’s (more a majority the last group).
I have also met the slum landlords and carpetbaggers and the other nasty tic’s on Croydons back.
There are those that use situations for their own ends and believe me they are easier to spot than they think they are.
Still sometimes all those people align because something is wrong and rotten – The issue of Planning was one time and continues on.
This 15% –
is also that time.
Your support would be most welcome in whatever manner you would wish to state your disagreement with this 15% and the manner in which it is being implemented. I would be happy and hope you could see past your view of particular groups and feel free to argue the wrongs of the 15% and accept that even various party political broken clocks are right twice a day. These are those two times
I would support a focused campaign and protests on how the Tories saddled the Council with £720 million of debt and how the charlatans described it as a mortgage and how Labour far from turning it around, made things even worse and bankrupted the borough three times with £1.6 billion of debt. I want your average person to know exactly what happened and who did it. I’m tired of Tory and Labour sycophants taking no responsibility and shifting the blame to one another. This is far more powerful and important than a 15% increase in council tax.
There were only two S114s issued under a Labour council.
The third, the world’s first pre-emptive S114 notice, predicting that the council would not balance its budget in 2023-2024, was issued in November 2022 under Tory Mayor Jason Perry.
And the debt under Perry’s Tory predecessors also touch £1bn at some point…
Which, given the position you have taken in your comment, we’re surprised you overlooked.
Croydon TUC did protest about actions of the previous administration. And our literature indicates dissatisfaction with both Labour and the Tories. Labour maladministration in Croydon led to the borough’s bankruptcy. Tory Government cuts to grant funding for councils (75% since 2010 in the case of Croydon) placed stresses on the finances of almost all councils and set them up to fail.
“Croydon TUC did protest about actions of the previous administration.”
There are members of the Croydon TUC and allied organisations who continued to defend Tony Newman and his Numpties through to the bitter end, and beyond.
The only way of dealing with the deep-seated problems (ffs no one use the word “challenges”) is with some straightforward honesty.
Attempts at rehabilitating the tattered reputations of those who lined up behind Newman, Steve Reed and the rest will never manage to achieve that.
You, more than most, understand that.
The trade union movement in Croydon has always encompassed a variety of views, as one would expect.
The late, great Ted Knight was Chair of Croydon TUC until his death in 2020. He put forward consistently progressive views which included constructive criticism of Croydon Council’s then Labour leadership where appropriate (though all the details of the unsatisfactory culture of the 2014-20 leadership were not widely known at that time). Ted also played a part in drafting alternative manifestos for the Council, through the Croydon Assembly.
Furthermore in the period 2020-22 Croydon TUC was periodically campaigning against policies of the then Labour administration, for example on job cuts at the Council.
That’s not to say that there weren’t certain trade union leaders in Croydon who were very close to the Tony Newman regime.
Which part of the Tory council do you represent?
Regardless of your words a protest is just that. Croydon Public are being hit again and again and for what benefit? Investors see this as another reason to not look at Croydon as its being run into the ground by a bunch of enthusiast amateurs.
Roy Don let your feet and voice do the talking not your fingers. If people chose to sit back and allow anything to happen they only have themselves to blame.
The NatC Conservatives have, under their Public Order Act 2023, effectively banned protests. A noisy protest outside the Town Hall might end up being one of the few occasions you have a strong police presence in central Croydon.
Croydon Tories might try and present themselves as cuddly and friendly, but they’re members of the same party that has neo-fascists like Lee Anderson and Suella Braverman high up in its rankest of ranks.
And don’t expect a Labour government to change anything. Starmer’s made it clear that if Prime Minister, he’d be ‘too busy’ (and too devious) to repeal the worst of the Tory lawfare on us plebs.
I’ve read conflicting reports about the level of debt racked up by the Tory admin, when I pressed a Tory Cllr (Michael Neal) on the debt they ignored it. Good to know Labour only bankrupted Croydon technically twice and were ousted in time for a third one!! I know more about how Labour bankrupt Croydon but I would be interested to know more about how the Tories got the ball rolling
The coverage in iC’s archive lays it all out.
Just search for CCURV and Fisher’s Folly/Bernard Wetherill House…
Oh, and the house rules state that commenters need to use their real names (unless the Editor is given a compelling reason to provide anonymity). Your comedy name was funny, and it saved time to moderate your initial comments with more flexibility than might usually be applied. But from now on, it’s your email address or name, please.