Plans to increase Croydon’s council tax by a total of 4.99 per cent have been announced as part of Croydon Council’s 2024-25 budget proposal today.
The proposed increase includes a 2 per cent ‘adult social care precept’ recommended to all councils who provide adult social care by the Government in 2016, to cover related costs. An additional 2.99% increase has been set in line with government limits on yearly council tax increases, known as the referendum cap.
Mayor Jason Perry said: “We are making strong progress and Croydon is undoubtedly in a better place than last year, but the council is still facing real challenges.”
Perry continued: “Unfortunately, that means making some difficult decisions in the short-term to secure Croydon’s future. I know residents are rightly angry that Croydon is in this position and as Mayor, I am doing everything in my remit to ensure that those responsible are brought to account.”
A hardship fund of £2m, approved in the 2023-24 budget to provide additional support for low-income households has been recommended to remain in place for 2024-25, in the Council’s 2024-28 Medium Term Financial Strategy.
Scrutiny of the 2023-24 hardship fund showed that as of 15 August 2023, 359 applications to the hardship fund had been made. Of these, 134 have been awarded and 43 are pending.
Labour councillor Rowenna David told ELL: “If council tax rises again then people who are struggling now will find it even harder. Scrutiny has been pushing hard for available support to be advertised as much as possible.
“We’re pleased that the executive has agreed to include a link to the Hardship Support Fund on the back of all Council tax arrears letters, for example. We welcome further thoughts from residents about how to help the Council support those in such desperate need in this cost-of-living crisis.”
The proposed budget will see £400m allocated to public services for the borough’s 390,000 residents. The Council has proposed £30.9m worth of savings for the 2024-25 budget including £5 million in cuts to Adult Social Care and Health, £4.1 million in cuts to Children, Young People and Education and £2 million in cuts to Housing services.
The proposal comes as Croydon’s Improvement and Assurance Panel (IAP) today announced its plan for leaving Croydon in July 2025 due to confidence that the council is on a sustainable pathway of continuous improvement.
The IAP is a panel that provides external advice, challenge and expertise to Croydon Council, along with assurance to the government department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The panel was appointed by the government in 2021 following a Report in the Public Interest in 2020 revealing significant failures in leadership, governance and financial management including in relation to commercial and residential development in the borough.
Croydon Council have expressed that government support continues to be necessary for the borough on account of the cost of managing the Council’s £1.6b debt.
The council are set to further discuss financial recommendations as set out in the Medium Term Financial Strategy Update at the Scrutiny & Overview Committee on 24 October.