Tories accept offer to join local budget plan

Thurrock Conservatives have agreed to participate in a pilot scheme which will see individual ward Councillors in three areas being given control of a small budget to spend locally on community projects.

The scheme will see £2000 community budgets given to ward councillors in Stanford East and Corringham Town, South Chafford, and Tilbury St Chads over the next year. The move is part of a community engagement strategy agreed by a cross-party working group.

Conservative leader Phil Anderson was one of the four members who sat on the community engagement working group. Phil says:

“I support moves to give local communities a bigger say in making decisions that affect themselves and their areas. We felt that a full scheme along these lines would not have been affordable this year in the current financial climate, but this pilot version funded using external grant money seems like a sensible way to move forwards.

“The wards chosen are politically balanced and represent the different types of communities that we have in Thurrock. I am looking forwards to using this funding for the benefit of my own area in Stanford and Corringham, and I will be consulting with the local forum, community groups, and fellow Councillors from all parties as I do so.

“We have to recognise that this scheme represents just 0.01% of council spending. My passion is to see real local control over how the other 99.99% is spent. We have to make sure that local communities are not distracted into arguing over small pots of money while the big decisions go unchallenged. Ward councillor budgets were just one small part of the community engagement strategy. We will be pushing hard to ensure that the rest of it starts to be implemented over the coming year, in line with our Government’s commitment to moving power away from the centre and down to local level.”

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