News in from the excellent Croydon Guardian that will surprise absolutely nobody – a Tory council boss has given himself a pay rise while cutting funding for voluntary groups and vital community services.
The council is cutting funding to voluntary groups – supposedly the backbone of the ‘Big Society’ – in a move that could force many to close.
Among those hit are the Rape Crisis Centre, which will no longer be able to prioritise the 1,000 Croydon women who seek its help every year, while the Together in Waddon Community Group and the Jagruti Asian Women’s Group are among those that may be forced to close after years of serving their communities.
But it’s alright for some. Tory councillors gave council boss Mike ‘fat cat’ Fisher a staggering 34 percent pay rise at the end of June – a £12,800 raise in his special allowance as leader of the council. His deputies Tim Pollard and Dudley Mead got a 12 percent pay hike, and all cabinet councillors saw their pay go up. Backbench councillors are taking a small pay cut.
At the time, Pollard insisted that “the public will welcome the changes”. Yeah right – within days the outraged public reaction forced the council leadership to defer the pay rise for a year.
Of course, the cuts these council bosses are implementing across the borough are not just for a year. As well as the threatened voluntary groups, there are fears that a 110-year old library could be in line for closure after the council voted to replace local ward councillors on the facility’s committee with Tory members of the local cabinet.
The council is also trying to privatise its award-winning adult social care and housing departments so as to sell their services to other authorities.
Council bosses who award themselves a pay rise while cutting funding for the most vulnerable in society? Welcome to the next five years…