Thurrock Conservatives pleased with progress on budget

THURROCK Conservatives have welcomed the inclusion of some of their ideas in the latest round of budget proposals revealed at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, but are demanding that the Labour administration look again at proposals to cut community policing and raise council tax.

Conservative leader Cllr Phil Anderson said: “for the first time in many years the opposition have put positive ideas for the budget forwards at an early stage in the process. I was pleased to see on Wednesday that as a result, at least some of our ideas are being accepted. This shows the kind of opposition politics that I want to see for Thurrock: tough but constructive, with a willingness to work together where we agree even as we strongly oppose where we don’t.

“One area where we can’t agree is Labour’s proposed cut to community policing. We knew that continued match-funding of Police Community Support Officers was in doubt, so the Conservatives went direct to the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston to find out whether the scheme could continue in Thurrock. I’m pleased to say that we have obtained that commitment, and in the light of this the council should definitely continue to fund our half of the deal. Our PCSOs have built up years of detailed local knowledge, and this would be totally the wrong time to be losing up to 14 uniformed officers off Thurrock streets.

“The other area Labour need to look at again is their proposed council tax rise. The government are offering us half a million pounds if we freeze council tax, but Labour are proposing to refuse this and instead take an extra million out of council tax payers’ pockets. The Conservatives have always been the party of low taxation, and this is doubly important at the moment when so many households in Thurrock are feeling the squeeze. I can’t look Thurrock taxpayers in the eye and demand a penny more in tax until I am convinced that every last penny of waste and inefficiency in the council has been eliminated.”

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