Even Tory councils such as Northamptonshire are going bankrupt due to yet more austerity from the Conservatives. Councillor Simon Hall tells us of the local government settlement here in Croydon ahead of the budget later this year.
On 13 December, the Government finally announced how much it planned to give each council in the country in the coming year, a week late due to chaos caused by Brexit.
The announcement showed us that for all the rhetoric of ‘ending austerity’ all the Tories have is warm words for the people of Croydon, whilst they continue to slash funding for vital frontline services.
Our funding in Croydon has gone down yet again, this time by another £6million. Since the Conservative Party came to power in 2010, Croydon Council has lost over 70% of our funding from Central Government. At the same time Croydon’s population is growing and needs are rising. We have an aging population and demand for services is increasing due to welfare benefit reform, the freezing of working age benefits and a real term reduction in people’s wages.
We are also facing a reduction in what grants we receive for Public Health and as this government continues to scapegoat migrants and abandon the most vulnerable, we also have a massive shortfall in funding for our Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children.
The Tories expect us to increase council tax to pay for these cuts and keep key services running. But even with money raised locally there is still a massive shortfall. The Tory-led Local Government Association estimates it at over £4bn just for social care!
Since 2014, this Labour Council has had a tight control of the finances, balancing budgets and innovating to protect frontline services from austerity.
But, we are ambitious for our town and could deliver so much more if properly funded and working with a Labour government. With the Tories in disarray and austerity causing real damage to our community lets hope we get one sooner, rather than later.
Councillor Simon Hall is Cabinet Member
for Finance and Resources and represents
New Addington North Ward.