THURROCK Council leader, cllr John Kent has hit back at allegations that the party put a political fundraiser over attending vital meetings to discuss next years budget.
Cllr Kent said:” First I must make it clear that I believe Overview and Scrutiny plays a crucial role in the setting of the council’s budget. I want to hear everyone’s views.
“Every Overview and Scrutiny Committee met on the evening of 28th November to have an initial look at the budget proposals. That was to have been followed by a “plenary session” on the same night to agree which areas needed further investigation.
Unfortunately, that plenary was cancelled, on the day, without any valid reason, and at the insistence of Cllr Gledhill. We went along for the sake of cross-party working, but were thankful no media or public were there.
This made it necessary to have individual O&S meetings. Although the 8th December was suggested by officers, it clashed with a long-arranged event.
“As a result, in 29th November, it was decided to change things. No meeting was called, no agenda was written, let alone published.
Councillor Anderson, Leader of the Conservative Group, was asked for suggestions and since then several have been agreed – Cllr Halden, Chair of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer has convened his committee to meet on 19th December and Cllr Gaywood, Chair of Children’s has agreed to add the budget follow-up issues to the scheduled meeting on13th December.
“Councillor Gledhill knows full well that no meeting was convened for 8th December.
“Rather than trying to make political mischief I suggest he gets on with the job of scrutinising the budget proposals.”
Deputy-leader, cllr Valerie Morris-Cook added: “I did not organise the fundraiser which was organised at least three months ago.
“The meeting on the 8th was not in the diary and was a suggestion as all business could not be completed on the original date in November.
“This is a statement to cause trouble with no factual content.”