Croydon has outlined its plans to deliver a balanced budget and three-year sustainable financial strategy but has stressed that it will need its bid for a capitalisation directive to be agreed by government to be able to do so.
The council is confident it has done everything it can to reassure the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)] that it has put in place all the necessary plans and procedures to help resolve its financial challenges and secure the directive.
Next year’s proposed budget is designed to put the council back on track for long term financial sustainability with a focus on delivering a savings programme and quality core services for its residents, while living within its means.
In line with best practice the council has also outlined its proposed financial strategy for the next three years with plans to strengthen its financial practices, bolster reserves and find further savings.
To do this it has developed and is delivering its renewal plan – a big change programme with a focus on financial recovery and corporate improvement to deliver the progress the council needs to make.
And it has welcomed the government-appointed improvement and assurance panel, which is providing expert advice and challenge along with assurance on the council’s recovery as it continues to deliver its plans.
The budget also includes a proposed council tax rise of 1.99% for Croydon services and a further 3% precept for adult social care, which the government expects all councils with social care responsibility to levy to look after their elderly and most vulnerable residents.
Along with the proposed Greater London Authority contribution, this would see an overall increase of 5.83%, with an ‘average’ Band D property paying an extra £2 per week.
“Setting and vitally, delivering this budget is the council’s absolute priority and will be a whole organisation endeavour.
“We have recognised the serious nature of our financial situation and our total focus has been, is and will continue to be on putting things right. This budget is an essential part of doing that.
“Over the past few months we have had to make some hard choices and we know we will have more to make. There is no overnight fix to Croydon’s challenges, this will be a three-year recovery journey to achieve a sustainable budget position by 2024.
“I am determined that we will continue doing all we can to get the council back on a sustainable financial footing while making sure that we continue to deliver quality core services for our residents.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council