Millions more to be cut from Thurrock Council budget says leader

THURROCK will see tens of millions cut from its budget over the next few years, says Leader, Cllr John Kent.

“A quick look at the government’s Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement announced on Wednesday shows that we’re looking at a 14½ per cent cut in 2014/15 and a further 23 per cent the year after that.

“Overall, that’s 34 per cent – more than an third – compared with today’s already reduced funding,” said Cllr Kent on Thursday (19 December).

“In money terms, that’s a £6¾ million reduction in the money we can spend from April and another £9 million reduction on top of that from April 2015.

“The government will say our ‘spending power’ hasn’t reduced by anywhere near these percentages – but their figures include money that is directly targeted as specific services, ring fenced to such things as Public Health where we had such good news this week.

“But it is in the non-specific grants where we are facing major problems in the years to come.

“Prudently we saw this coming and have already taken steps to prepare. We’re currently approaching the middle of a two-year budget agreed back in February, so we are already well on the way to making next year’s savings although this week’s announcement is a little worse than we had feared.

“But it is the budgets for April 2015, 2016 and 2017 that are horrifying where we will have to save somewhere in excess of £33 million.”

He said: “We want to provide better services for local people and we still want to do that despite these frightening numbers. As

I have been saying for the past two or three years, the only way to do that is to think differently and to work differently.

“To keep paying for weekly refuse services; to maintain our roads and highways; or to keep paying for our older people and vulnerable youngsters to be safe and secure, we will have to find even more new ways of spending the reducing money we are going to get.”

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