Thurrock Council leader John Kent denies railroading through cuts

THE leader of Thurrock Council defended a decision by his Cabinet to set this year’s budget without taking individual items to full Council.

Speaking at last week’s meeting of the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr John Kent was quizzed by his Conservative rival Cllr Rob Gledhill who said: “We are denying all members the opportunity to have a say.”

Cllr Kent said: “I’m pretty clear it’s the job of the the Council to set the budget framework but it’s for Cabinet to make the decision about how the books are balance.”

Cllr Gledhill was less than convinced, saying: “This is about it being fair, being right and being open. We don’t see the rational behind the way it works.”

However, he lost the vote to take the full budget before Council.

The meeting also heard a plea from Thurrock CAB chair Stephen Hudson who asked the authority to review its decision to investigate cuts to the Bureau’s funding of £150,000.

Again the committee agreed to carry on with its review of cuts to services, though Cllr Shane Hebb spoke of his concern about why the CAB was treated separately to the raft of funding managed under the voluntary sector grants budget.

He was told it was ‘historical’ but he called for a review of the system.

The committee also gave its support to plans to introduce a local residency rule for the local tax scheme and to reduce discounts for empty, unfurnished properties.

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