Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Young Tory praises cross-party support on spending for vulnerable

ONE of Thurrock’s leading young Conservatives has praised the Borough’s Labour opposition and spoken of his “proudest moment” in local politics.

Cllr James Halden (right) was speaking after Monday night’s corporate parenting committee meeting which debated a report he had written to ensure that the £20 million spending on social care for the most vulnerable children in the borough.

Prior to the recent budget setting, Conservative education spokesman Cllr Halden met with Labour education lead Cllr Oliver Gerrish to agree a deal to ensure that more money and more care packages would come hand in hand with more oversight and more member engagement, via exempt information going to corporate parenting for scrutiny and debate.

Cllr Halden said: “This is one of the most sensitive aspects of the council, but in the past that sensitivity has been a block to elected members in terms of being involved to the extent that we should.

“We established the corporate parenting committee so we could use our democratically elected voice for those who really struggle to be heard in society.

“I hope this report will provide the information to enable members to be the great corporate patents we need to be, as we for fill our obligation as elected members that corporate patents, as any other parent, should know how their children are doing”.

Cllr Halden added: “I know there have been concerns that I’ve been asking a lot of questions about the costs involved, and that I said two years ago it was shameful members were not better informed.

“Folk need to understand that when they elect people that they are sending them off to represent everyone, we can’t represent people if we don’t know who they are! And in terms of my focus on the money, our good intentions will mean nothing if we can’t cover the costs, we don’t just need to know what is being spent, but rather how it is being spent!”

Commenting on the cross party nature of the meeting, the member for Homesteads Cllr Halden said: “It was a deal prior to the budget, so Labour could have gone back on their word, instead they turned up with lively debate that was focused around the children.

“Seeing Labour and Conservative members unite and vote to take corporate parenting to the next level together was the proudest moment of my term in office.”


  1. I recall the good people of Ockendon electing a young councillor, what a pity he didnt turn out like this level headed young man.

  2. Bit of advice for Oliver Gerrish , I would by myself some tin pants , slip on shoes and stop wearing aftershave

  3. Wow a Councillor writing their own report – normally it is officers that write and prepare the report, do the research and then have a Councillor add their name to it and claim credit after doing absolutely zero!


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