Labour laugh off Croydon’s plans to become first AI council in UK

Croydon Conservatives have announced an ambitious plan to become the country’s first artificial intelligence (AI)-run council in an attempt to save the cash-strapped local authority from bankruptcy.

The plan, titled Future Croydon, aims to save £100million over the next five years through the adoption of cutting-edge AI technologies.

One proposed cost-saving measure involves replacing workers in the public access area of the council’s headquarters with AI-powered systems to automate responses to inquiries. 

This move is expected to yield savings by reducing the need for manual intervention and streamlining customer interactions.

Croydon council offices (Picture: Tara O’Connor)

But the Labour opposition has raised fears that the AI-driven transformation may compromise service quality and legal obligations.

Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, said: “Our transformation plans put people first – ensuring we do a better job for our residents and customers. 

“We’re modernising to make it easier for them to get in touch, and to have a good experience when they do.”

The move comes in an attempt to address the £1.4billion of debt currently hanging over the council.

Since 2021, Croydon has cut its budgets by £137million, and while Mayor Perry has hiked council tax by 21 per cent in just 12 months, he has also proposed to make a further £30million of cuts in 2024-2025.

Mayor Jason Perry (Picture: Croydon council)

London Labour has laughed off Mayor Perry’s claims. A spokesman said: “This is real pie in the sky stuff from the Croydon Tories. 

“With one in five calls to the council going unanswered, and an epidemic of litter and flytipping, Jason Perry should be focused on getting the basics right. 

“This tech bro stuff might impress Rishi Sunak, but it won’t impress local people at all.”

In January this year, Croydon council was forced to appologise after almost 3,000 people may have been overcharged for parking and traffic fines due to a printing blunder.

Croydon council said a “software problem” had affected penalty charge notice (PCN) letters, meaning residents were not given the chance to appeal fines or pay a discounted rate.

(Picture: Pixabay/ Pexels)

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