Croydon has announced the lowest council tax increase in the authority’s history, along with their spending plans for the year.Labour opposition leaders, however, claim the announcement is ‘spin.’
Under the new plan, Band D household tax – the basic point for calculating council tax – will rise to 0.8%, which will amount to one extra pound a month.
In addition, the Tory-controlled council says it will reduce its own costs and to save up to £15.7 million from its spending plans for the year. Council leader Mike Fisher said: “These are the fruits of prudence and a relentless efficiency drive in the face of the post-recession squeeze on public spending.”
The Council also promised investments totaling £150 million, in education, public safety, street care and maintenance.
£11 million will go to the Waddon leisure scheme which will provide the borough with a new pool, £12 million will be dedicated to council houses, £1.5 million for park in needs of improvement, £1 million will be invested in Fairfield Halls arts centre, and the rest, half of the total budget, will be spent on improving local education.
Croydon Labour opposition leader Tony Newman, who early this year advocated a complete tax freeze, denounced the statement as ‘ spin’, claiming the tax rise will actually amount to 1.07% and that that figure of 0.8% was only achieved by excluding the council tax that goes toward running the Greater London Authority, police and fire service. “The Tory Council finds it really very hard to be honest with its tax payer residents,” he concluded.
The opposition also accused Croydon Council of wasting money. Labour attacks have targeted the ‘expensive free council newspaper’.