DRAFT budget proposals outlining how Labour plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds over the next two years have been described as “ducking difficult decisions”.
Papers being discussed at council committees in the next week, including Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, show proposals for savings of several million pounds across a range of council services. However, Leader of the Conservatives Cllr Phil Anderson has criticised the plans, which consist of lots of small cuts across a range of budgets, rather than a proper strategy to control overall spending.
Cllr Anderson said “Once again, it looks like Labour are ducking the difficult decisions. I have criticised them every year for failing to make any real reforms in the high spending areas, and once again their proposals look to be tinkering around the edges.
“Labour have resisted reform of Thurrock’s centralised Education department, refused to relinquish control of loss-making leisure facilities, and paid lip service to devolving decision making power to communities. Their proposals instead include plans to cut community policing and environment services, and “savings” that will cost more in the long run, like cuts to the fraud team.
“I hope that as more proposals come to light in the next few weeks the overall budget will be something residents and councillors alike can agree on, rather than yet another “Doctor Dolittle” budget which delays any real reform until we reach crisis point.”