After issuing a Section 114 notice and "effectively declaring bankruptcy last week (November 11), Croydon Council announced they would hold a full council debate on the state of their finances, and invite residents to tune in.

The debate is scheduled for Thursday (November 19) at 6.30pm, and will take place virtually due to the threat posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Residents have been invited to watch, and can do so via the council website by clicking here.

In a statement, Croydon Council Leader Cllr Hamida Ali, who took over from Cllr Tony Newman who resigned recently, said her "absolute priority" since becoming leader on the council was to rectify its finances.

"Earlier this week the council took the incredibly difficult step of issuing a section 114 notice. This is a legal notice a council has to issue when it thinks it’s on track to spend more money than it has and cannot balance its budget in year.

"When I became Leader of Croydon three weeks ago I promised a new, more open approach which offers the decisive leadership needed to tackle the problems we face and deal with them head-on.

"That’s why we are not only publicly accepting the seriousness of our financial position, but we have also published our action plan to address many of the problems identified by our auditors," she said.

"I’ve lived in Croydon all my life so I know how angry local people will feel that the council has got itself into this place.

"My job is to take the action needed to turn it around, and I can reassure you that my absolute priority as the council’s newly-elected leader is to put this right," she said.

As the Croydon Guardian reported previously, the Section 114 was issued after a number of damning financial reports from advisors Grant Thornton detailed “deteriorating financial resilience for a number of years” at the council.

"There has been a collective corporate blindness to both the seriousness of the financial position and the urgency with which actions needed to be taken,” one sentence in the report’s summary read.

"The Council has increased the level of borrowing significantly in recent years (£545 million in three years) and used the borrowing to invest in companies it established and to purchase investment properties,” one section of the report described.

The Section 114 notice bans all new expenditure with the exception of safeguarding vulnerable people and statutory services.

The Labour majority Croydon Council are the only council to issue a Section 114 notice this year, following the Conservative-led Northamptonshire Council in 2018.