Following the Council meeting on Wednesday night I have received a number of questions from residents about what the next steps are in regard to the Council’s 2023/24 budget setting process. As many of you know, the Council must set a balanced budget by law.
That is why we are holding an additional Council meeting on Wednesday 8 March. At this meeting the budget must be set.
It is disappointing that some councillors voted against the proposed budget earlier this week. It is easy to raise objections, but in order to protect vital services we have to find solutions – even when they mean making tough decisions.
No one wants to increase council tax, myself included, but unfortunately Croydon has little choice.
As I have previously described, our financial situation is unsustainable and the council cannot continue without a new form of help from government. But we need to meet them part way.
I assure you that I am pushing for the best possible deal for our borough – including seeking a write-off of the toxic debt that hampers our ability to get back on track. But we have to demonstrate that we are willing to take difficult decisions locally to fix our borough’s finances and get Croydon to where it needs to be.
The budget I have proposed does this, whilst protecting the vital services that residents have told us matter the most – such as caring for older people and protecting vulnerable children and families. It also invests in the changes that Croydon desperately needs to make.
I promised that our council would get better at the basics, delivering the essential services we rely on – from clean, safe streets to warm, dry council homes.
The proposed budget invests in these areas, alongside changing and rebuilding our council so that it functions effectively and delivers for you, our residents.
I am acutely aware of the pressures residents are facing and that is why I am pleased that councillors have approved the new improved council tax support scheme I proposed, which provides extra help for those who need it most.
I want to build a Croydon fit for the future, where the needs of our residents are put first. Where we recognise our unique identity as London’s largest borough. Celebrate being London’s youngest borough. Enjoy being London’s greenest borough. And as our communities pull together through these dark times, simply recognise that we have the potential to restore pride to Croydon and to resume our place as London’s best borough.
Thornton Heath Clocktower
When Thornton Heath Clocktower was vandalised last year, causing extensive damage, I promised that I would get this historic and much-loved landmark repaired and restored.
I’m pleased to confirm that we have now received the full assessment of the repairs required and arranged for the work to be carried out as soon as possible, with funding from the council’s insurance.
Gillett and Johnson, the original makers based in Croydon, will be replacing the clock’s original mechanism and mechanical workings, along with the four clock faces which were all damaged beyond repair. The wooden roof and ornate copper covering will also be rebuilt, and a new bespoke fireproof door will be fitted to protect the Clocktower in the future.
I look forward to this important monument being returned to its former glory as another step towards restoring pride in Thornton Heath.
The 1 April launch of our London Borough of Culture year is fast approaching, and another fantastic Croydon festival has today confirmed they will be part of the programme. I’m really pleased that Croydon Mela will be held at Wandle Park on 16 July, and I’m delighted that we are supporting this free celebration of our Asian communities and culture.
Executive Mayor of Croydon