By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
“Raging” Croydon locals have taken to social media to express their fears the most vulnerable will be battered in the wake of the council’s third bankruptcy notice.
It has been two days since Croydon council revealed it was issuing its third bankruptcy notice in just two years.
A Section 114 notice is issued when a council cannot balance its budget, a legal requirement. In this case, Croydon said it’s unable to balance its budget for 2023/24.
The authority now needs “extraordinary support” from central government and hopes all or some of its £1.5bn debt, which costs £47m a year to service, could be wiped.
Even with government support the council will have to make cuts from jobs to services. It has already outlined a series of savings and proposed property sales.
On Twitter, Bishop of Croydon Rosemarie Mallett urged the council not to cut services for the vulnerable.
She said: “council needs to balance books, but it should not be at the expense of the most needy.”
Her fears were echoed by another user, who said: “For the love of God is there anyone at Croydon council with the financial brain to sort this disgusting mess out? I’m raging, innocent residents will be hit with sky high council tax rises and service cuts due to utter incompetence and sheer greed.”
On Facebook, Peter Blay simply said: “The disabled will suffer.”
Natasha Ladhams added: “So the services to be cut, directly impact on the less abled, youth and an already below par housing service. This is a shambles and those directors and councillors who oversaw this should be held to account legally.”
Council tax in Croydon could even rise by more than 5 per cent in the next year as the authority desperately tries to pay down its debts and balance its books.
In the Section 114 notice issued by Jane West, corporate director of resources, she admits the council may need to increase council tax beyond five per cent.
Pictured top: Croydon town centre (Picture: Tara O’Connor)