Croydon Council last night (8 March 2023) set its budget for the next financial year after the Executive Mayor’s proposals were approved at Full Council.
Croydon’s 2023/24 budget protects the essential services residents depend on, whilst the council takes robust action to fix its finances and get the borough back on track.
Croydon will continue to spend most of its money on the services that matter most to residents, which we know from recent consultation is protecting vulnerable children and adults.
The budget also invests in rebuilding the council, transforming the organisation so that it becomes smaller but more efficient and offers residents better value for money.
Areas for investment include supporting families in need at the earliest possible stage; increasing local, specialist care for vulnerable children and young people; raising standards in council housing so all tenants have warm, safe, dry homes; and new initiatives to keep streets clean and safe.
Full Council has approved a 14.99% increase in council tax as part of the 2023/24 budget, which includes the 2% precept for adult social care, which is ringfenced to protect and care for older people and which the government expects all councils to levy.
The council tax increase will protect vital services for vulnerable people as without it, the council would need to make an additional £20m in cuts on top of the £36m savings already included in the budget.
Croydon’s budget also includes extra help for people who may be struggling to pay council tax, with the creation of a new £2m hardship support fund. This is in addition to a new, improved £33m council tax support scheme.
Last year Croydon’s chief financial officer warned that the council was unsustainable and would not be able to continue without a new model of support from government.
Croydon is negotiating with the government for further support to address its serious and unprecedented financial problems including writing off the £1.6bn toxic debt that is hampering the council’s recovery and ability to function properly.
The government has granted permission for the council to raise council tax above the national threshold and last week proposed a £63m capitalisation direction to support its budget.
“I’m pleased that council has agreed this difficult budget which will help us deliver services for residents whilst taking much-needed action to fix Croydon’s finances.
“This is not a budget that I wanted to set, but it is a budget that will help us to protect vital services for our residents. No one wants to increase council tax, but the council is delivering £36m savings this year already – we simply cannot make further cuts and continue to deliver the services our residents need.
“We have demonstrated that we will not shy away from taking tough decisions locally to do the right thing in the long term for our borough, and in our ongoing negotiations with the government I am pushing hard for the best possible deal for our residents.
“Their confirmation of our capitalisation request for this year is welcome and we look forward to hearing from them on our additional requests including a write off of some of Croydon’s debt.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon