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Croydon residents not pleased with 15% council tax hike plan

Croydon’s residents are unhappy with the recent announcement of a planned council tax hike with the current living conditions.

The announcement by Croydon Mayor Jason Perry about a planned 15% council tax increase in the borough was unfavorable to many in the area.

Elliott Purcell, 36, working for a estate agency, expressed his thoughts on the its impact and how it would make Croydon less attractive for people to move in.

He said: “I wouldn’t say our average demographic are the wealthiest demographic in general so it’s going to be difficult and we’re probably going to see the strain being brought upon the area in regards to that.

“I understand why they’ve done it and why it’s coming to play because Croydon Council is a mess and everyone knows that we’re an embarrassment to Greater London postcodes.”

Another Croydon resident, Oyo Otite, was adamant that the plan came at a bad time for residents with the current cost of living difficulties.

He said: “To me, I believe it is a bit unfair. Right now many people are struggling because of this energy crisis just from the middle of last year to now.

“Most people like me, we have to prioritise things that we actually need – gas, electricity, mortgage and other bills.”

Other ways?

While unhappy, both Purcell and Otite were unsure what other way besides the council tax there was to tackle the financial difficulties of Croydon.

Purcell thought about a public forum to get opinions instead of directly announcing the plan, highlighting a lack of transparency.

He added: “I know nothing about Croydon Council and that scares me. I know nothing about them yet they want to charge me 15% more.

“That doesn’t make any sense in my head.”

The council tax rise announcement

Mayor Perry’s announcement came on his Twitter account last week, detailing the reasoning why he elected to make the large increase.

The plan came from the government allowing a one-off exception to increase the council tax above the normal limit of 5%.

He said: “The toxic £1.6bn debt and financial failures of the previous administration left Croydon with a hollowed-out council, reliant on government bailouts.

“I remain committed to ensuring that those responsible for Croydon’s financial collapse are held to account for their failures.”

Councillor Stuart King, Croydon Council’s Leader of the Opposition, struck back at Perry while mentioning the lack of referendum allowed by the government.

King said in an interview with the BBC: “Anywhere else in London, you have to have a local referendum of residents if you’re proposing a council tax hike of more than 5%.

“We think that’s just wrong.”

Shadow Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Brigitte Graham, quote-tweeted on Perry’s statement with clear opposition to the proposal.

She said: “Instead of taking the fight to your Conservative government and fighting for fair funding for Croydon you have chosen to let the people pay for the shortfall.”

The council declared bankruptcy back in November for the second time in three years, and issued a Section 114 notice.

What is to come?

A petition founded by Inside Croydon’ Steven Downes, to oppose the council tax rise, garnered over 23,000 signatures at this point.

The petition will appear at the next budget meeting on the first of March, where the 70 council members and Mayor Perry will vote on the proposed tax rise.

Featured image credit: Peter Trimming under the license CC BY-SA 2.0

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