THE ruling Labour group were triumphant tonight after their budget was passed at a full council meeting.
Every Labour councillor voted for the budget as well as the two Independent councillors for East Tilbury.
Council leader John Kent told the council that the Thurrock council tax was the lowest council tax in Essex.
In a marathon four hour session, the leader set out the plan for the next fiscal year.
Cllr Kent said: “I am proud to recommend no increase in the level of Council Tax for the second year of this administration….in spite of further funding cuts from the government of £4 million.
Under Labour Thurrock’s council tax is the lowest in Essex. Thurrock’s Band D is £1,103; Southend’s is £1,121 and the rest vary between £1,462 (Tendring) and £1,544 (Basildon).
The leader went out to detail a number of plans for the year.
He said: “We have delivered £10 million in savings and are on track to have saved £32 million by 2013 whilst at the same time rebuilding the council’s balances back up to £8 million.
Other plans were:
1. Reduce the amount of senior management, saving £300k
2. Help create 200 apprenticeships in the borough.
3. Recycling rates stand at 46%
Investment plans include
1. £2 million to ensure all our older people can access good quality care.
2. £1 million to ensure meet demands on child social care.
3. £250,000 to deal with homelessness.
4. £125,000 to deal with rogue landlords.
1. The transformation agenda will save £4 million.
2. £850,000 from better use of office space.
3. £240,000 on stationary
The leader added: “In future, we will need to maximise the income we achieve from new areas such as the New Homes Bonus, Community Infrastructure Levy, the promised localisation of business rates and the ability to borrow against future tax receipts.”
The leader went on to slam the government over increasing costs in fuel and food.
He said: “Child tax credit cuts for many, winter fuel allowances cut, child benefits frozen and a dictated 7.1% rent increase.
Councillor Kent concluded: “I believe this is a fair and responsible budget, a budget that looks forward to the future challenges.”