SENIOR figures from the Voluntary Sector slammed Thurrock Council last night believing they had pronounced a “death sentence” for all voluntary groups in the borough.
Chief Executive of the Thurrock Council for Voluntary Services (CVS), Naya Naqvi had “called in ” the decision by the Tory Cabinet to supply only six months worth of funding while a review of “infrastructure groups” CVS, Trust and Ngage took place.
In a withering attack on the council, Ms Naqvi and Neville Baldwin asserted that the decision to limit funding left a large number of staff in fear for their jobs and all the groups fatally weakened in the negotiating chamber.
Mr Baldwin said: ” The Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council along with leaders from the police, voluntary and faith groups signed the Thurrock Compact. The key principle of which was the decision to work together.
“You have now decided to breach that trust, principle and understanding.
Corporate Director Lorna Payne defended their position saying: “The Compact is all about how things ought to happen.”
Labour councillor Cathy Kent backed the voluntary sector and questioned the council’s principles.
She said: “Partnerships are the key to progress in the borough but the first time this is tested or the first time it is inconvenient for you, you put it to one side.
Unfortunately, she was the only Labour councilor present as Cllrs’ Hipsey and Fish did not attend.
As the story unravelled, Aveley councillor Amanda Wilton (Cons) questioned why key procedures seemed to have been ignored.
She said: “I am on the Grants Panel. We had decided to allocate twelve months funding. Why was that decision not upheld and why were we not informed”
Head of Communities Simon Black said: “The Grants Panel was overtaken by the budget setting process. I don’t know why you were not informed.
Homesteads councillor John Everett backed a decision to reject the call-in saying: “Some companies in this recession exist on a day to day basis. Six months is a very long time.”
Mr Baldwin, now looking visibly frustrated and angry said: “Is it any wonder you are one of the lowest performing councils in respect of communities.
“Tonight you have struck home the final nail in the coffin.”
The call-in was rejected.