DURING Wednesday’s council meeting, Thurrock Conservatives spokesman for Finance, Councillor Barry Johnson, accused the Labour administration of double standards on interest spending.
After the meeting Cllr Johnson said "This year’s budget was another example of Labour applying double standards. The Investment and prudential borrowing report made no reference as to where the Â£3m plus per annum savings the Council gets by taking advantage of the current low interest rate market are being spent. Labour continually berated the Conservatives for saying they were using the returns from good investments during their time in office to run services, but they find it unacceptable when they do the same. The only difference is they haven’t got the nerve to be public on it!"
The investment and Prudential borrowing report outlined that over the next 3 years the amount that the Council needs to borrow will increase General Fund borrowing to Â£124 million. This does not include the estimated Â£60 million that the Council’s wholly owned building company Glorina will need to borrow to build its private homes in Tilbury and Grays.
Cllr Johnson added "the night was full of contradictions and half truths – one minute Labour saying it was terrible for Conservatives suggesting at the meeting that we fund free Saturday parking by cutting full time union posts, then agreeing with our last minute and excellent proposal to cut certain residential homes’ heating bills.
"We heard Labour saying they have cut staff but in the the last 5 years we have seen the numbers of staff increase by 40 and the wages bill soar by Â£9 million. But just as bad they are moaning about what they call Conservative cuts to council funding, but fail to mention their shadow Chancellor is on record saying he will not reverse them. Clearly all the Labour Leader’s spin has left him and his party dazed and confused. Perhaps if they stopped playing politics and started being open and transparent they would regain some credibility."