Thursday, May 30, 2024

That Was The Week That Was – February 12 1988

ONCE a week, YourThurrock will be dipping into the Thurrock Gazette archive from 25 years ago, to find out what was happening in Thurrock.

Thurrock To Fly Its Own Civic Flag

A decision was made to have a civic flag for Thurrock to fly over the new Civic Offices in New Road, Grays, it was reported. The actual logo for the flag had not been agreed, however, with three options having already been rejected.

Cllr  Ann Geaney remarked that it “must have been poignantly obvious to us all at the time Arthur Barnes died that we really needed a flag which represented the borough”. Cllr Barnes was one of the longest serving councillors at the time of his death.
The cost of the proposed flag was reported to be £350 for one flag or around £500 for two.

Get Rid Of Those Deadly Weapons Now…

An offensive weapons amnesty, organised by Essex Police, was due to start on Saturday 14th February. For an entire month, bins were to be put outside Grays and Tilbury police stations whilst all other stations in the borough were to be accepting weapons over the counter with no questions asked or details taken. Long bladed items that had no other legitimate use as anything other than a weapon were also welcomed.
The amnesty was organised because of police concerns about the increase in violent crimes and the use of knives.

Whitehall Cuts Anger Councillors

The Government slashed the amount of money Thurrock Council could spend on capital projects in the upcoming financial year prompting anger amongst local councillors who believed that they would not have the finances to provide much needed services such as housing improvement.

The allocation from Government was cut by over 20% on the previous financial year. The housing improvement budget was set at £1.65 million and only £361,000 for capital spending on all other civic services including new sewerage schemes, car parks and other civic amenities. Thurrock Council’s estimates believed the allocation of funds were only an eighth of what was actually needed.

Cllr Andy Smith accused the Government of hypocrisy whilst Cllr George Watt remarked that the people wanted proper services provided and “if they want that, the Government who is supposed to represent them is going to have to give us the finance”.

Conservative councillor Lee Green suggested selling off more council housing, remarking that “if our allowances are being reduced, the less the better”. Council leader, Mrs Ann Geaney, said that the social housing available was already insufficient to meet the local need and that “everyone has the right to live in a safe, dry warm house. If we can’t guarantee that then I think this country is on the slide”.

Two Tu-Tu Girls’ Exam Success

11 year-old April-Louise Ryder and 10 year-old Emma Harris, pupils of the Jackie Couves School of Dancing in Tilbury, gained places with the Chou-Chou London Ballet Company after beating around 180 other auditioning youngsters.
Rehearsals for a production of The Wooden Prince were due to begin that weekend.

Fancy A Job As Old Man Death?

Amateur film maker Joe Story put out a request for people willing to play the living dead or even Death himself for a film to be submitted to the Video and Film-makers Festival on May 7 at the Thameside Theatre.

Mr Story said that he was “looking for half-a-dozen people to walk around a cemetery. Preferably middle-aged people.”

A couple of quick notes

The State Cinema was showing “Bambi” for half-term entertainment during the day with “Roxanne” starring Steve Martin replacing it in the evening.

The local Top 20 pop charts included: “I Think We’re Alone Now” – Tiffany at number one, “I Should Be So lucky” – Kylie Minogue at number two, “Tell It To My Heart” – Taylor Dayne at number three, “Candle In The Wind” – Elton John at number six, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” – Belinda Carlisle at number thirteen and “Valentine” – T’Pau at number fourteen.


  1. When I was looking up these old news items I was hardly surprised to find an item on spending cuts as we were under Tory rule back then too; however, it surprised me to see the percentage cut that was made – 20%. Isn’t that about what we’re getting now? Is 20% the lowest figure the Tories can come up with when it comes to cuts?

    Of course, when it comes to pay rises for MPs, the sky’s the limit!

  2. Since you’re one of these people that has tried to portray this Government as extremist and the “cuts” as unprecedented, I thought you might find this sobering?

  3. Descamisados – Sobering, why? The current Government is killing vulnerable citizens through its welfare reforms, enforcing slave labour through its workfare scheme (recently upheld by an appeal court ruling to be against slave labour laws) and persecuting the poor, the sick and vulnerable whilst profiting themselves… even Thatcher wasn’t THAT evil.

    Cameron and his flunkies are so right-wing I’m surprised they haven’t abandoned all pretence, invaded Poland and tried to set up a thousand year dictatorship.

  4. Bernard87 – So I take it that you’re the sort of person who laughs at, points fingers at and demonises the poor, the sick and the disabled whilst mugging the elderly and kicking their animals then? Or you’re deluded which isn’t quite so bad but still isn’t a reason to make comments like that.

    You’re blind eye is turned in the right direction to be a Tory supporter. Bravo! Now, go back to your ivory tower and let the humane people in this country go back to struggling to free the UK from individuals with similar views to yourself.

  5. The typo on the second paragraph above is due to me having to use a mobile ‘phone I’m still not used to and, occasionally, I end up making an error when hitting the right option on the predictive text feature. Apologies.

  6. I’m not that sort of person at all. However I do not agree with a system where money is dished out to whoever as if money is infinite. Welfare only works if people pay into the system. We should have a robust welfare system whereby if someone loses their job they are entitled to a decent amount of money to live on whilst they are job hunting. I would actually be in favour of increasing the amount given to genuine people who have fallen on hard times. Likewise I would like to see a clearer system which ensures that the state covers the cost of any mortgage/rent the claiment has as I think this is only fair for those who have spent years working and putting into the pot.

    However I do not approve of this unclass that we now have in this country. Those who have never worked, constantly have children and do very little for their local community. I do not approve of giving people like that subsidised housing either while ex soldiers are made to live in run down properties. I don’t blame the underclass (I don’t call them working class as they have never worked) I blame Labour for allowing this culture to grow and thrive. We now have a sizeable chunk of our population who feel they are entitled to something for nothing.

    I think the less people who claim benefits the more money we can give to those who really need it. I’m fed up of hearing about people who had back pain 10 years ago claiming disability allowance and then are caught playing golf years later. They are taking money which does not belong to them and have deprived someone who really needs the extra £s.

    I am definately in favour of the welfare cuts and as I understand it the elderly, disabled and most vunerable are protected. If that turns out not to be the case then I suggest the government rectify the issue quickly but one thing most agree on is that the present system is open to too much abuse and does need overhauling.

    If people do not want Tory cuts then I suggest they stop voting in the Labour party. History has a nasty way of repeating itself. Labour make the mess (yes I know that it was a global financial meltdown but Labour policies, shortsightedness and borrowing made matters much worse) and the Tories clean it up.

  7. Whilst I agree that there are members of the underclass who play the system, haven’t worked a day in their lives and act as nothing but breeding stock for the creation of their own race, I have to point out that the underclass unfortunately includes the genuinely needy.

    I also agree that the welfare system needs some form of reform to cut down on the abuse in the system; however, as the DWP’s own figures show, the amount of fraudulent claims is less than 1%. What the ConDems are doing is hurting the majority of claimants to punish the minority.

    You use the example of the golf playing DLA claimant which is a great news story but is, in fact, a very inflammatory example of abuse used by unscrupulous ministers to punish the whole claimant community.

    Welfare reform can be achieved without the cuts if only this Government would tackle the larger issue of tax avoidance and tax evasion. Shutting the loopholes that allow that would avoid the need for most of the cuts to public spending but the Tories don’t want that because they’re rich and use tax avoidance schemes themselves.

    Do a search on the internet and you’ll find a whole host of people who have DIED due to the ConDem’s welfare reforms so perhaps you can tell your Tory friends in Westminster to have a rethink of their policies.

    As for voting Labour, I don’t. I voted Lib Dem in the last General Election and look at the monstrous Government that has led to. And I’d like to put one final thought out there and that is the fact that this Tory-led Government doesn’t have the mandate to push through all these reform and hateful policies – they weren’t voted into power they got into power because the Lib Dems betrayed their ideological roots for a sniff of power. The Tories wouldn’t have been able to get away with half of the systematic abuse of the genuinely poor, sick and disabled if it wasn’t for that betrayal.

  8. No country can grow and prosper if a sizeable section of its population is on some form of welfare. This country cannot get out of the hole we are in by importing more foreign workers while paying others to do nothing. Welfare needs to get back to its founding principle – a safety net. The idea of subsiding whole families through in work benefits is more to do with Labour keeping people dependant on the state rather than genuinely trying to help them out. The best way to help those on low incomes would be to set the tax threashold at 12k. Whether that would be viable in our current mess, I’m not sure, but at least the government have raised the personal taxable allowance. The more money people have in their pockets, the more they spend, the more they benefit the economy.

    Tax avoidance is something that the government are attempting to crack down on. There are other things I wish they would stop altogether such as foriegn aid. This money could then help millions of people in the UK rather than funding hospitals overseas while our own hospitals continue to rack up debts.

    The problem with tax avoidance is that it takes years to prove that someone or a company have not been paying the correct amount of tax or any tax at all. As we are apart of the EU large companies can register their HQs anywhere within the region and most choose to have their HQs outside the UK (Luxemburg is popular), avoiding a whole chunk of tax to the UK government.

    How do you reform welfare without scaling it back?

  9. Bernard87 – And you think this country is going to grow under the ConDems? What kind of drugs are you on or are you sniffing paint thinner? Have you been reading the news at all?

    Raising the tax allowance does nothing when the cost of living outstrips the increase in wages and ‘workfare’ placements take jobs out of the job market. One woman was dropped by Poundworld where she was on minimum wage and ended up on benefits; she was put on a ‘workfare’ placement, unpaid, in the very store she was working in for minimum wage. Does that sound like a reasonable consequence of ‘workfare’ to you?

    Instead of ‘workfare’, make the positions properly paid jobs and people would be contributing to the economy and claiming less in benefits – welfare reform WITHOUT the cuts (to answer your question). If the Government enforced a Living Wage, work would really pay.

    Yes, there will always be people who play the system but most don’t. In fact, most claimants could actually claim more than they do but don’t because they don’t know and certainly aren’t told what they are genuinely entitled to claim.

    It’s a pity that, unlike the financial experts who have reconsidered the wisdom of austerity without a growth strategy, the ConDems are blindly following a broken and useless policy which is damaging any hope of a future for our economy that isn’t bleak. Not surprising, I suppose, given that Osborne has no qualifications for his job and none of the Government are directly affected by what they’re doing, most of them having obscene amounts of personal wealth that they get to keep protected by tax avoidance and living at the taxpayer’s expense rather than being expected to cover at least some of the expenses they incur.

    Tax avoiders are easy to spot; they cluster around Cameron and Osborne to keep the good times rolling in for them.


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