Plans for a financially self-sufficient and resilient Thurrock laid out
AT this week’s meeting of Full Council (Wednesday 27 September), Cllr Shane Hebb presented his annual report as Cabinet Member for Finance and Legal, where he outlined the forward plan to achieve financial self-sufficiency from most government grant contributions by 2020 – the ‘£20m by 2020 Plan’.
Cllr Hebb said: “In our first year as an administration, this council has met the test: we balanced our first year budget in 2016/17, and delivered over £10m of savings; we reduced an overspend of £4m in social services down to £1m; re-invested around £1.5m back into our front line environmental services; and we retained the weekly three-bin collection system – another £2m we have decided to spend”
In addition to the Council Spending Review, Thurrock has also embarked on a commercial pathway which will enable it to be financially sustainable in the future through trading and investments – with commercial activities already bringing £2.5m back into front-line services.
“Every pound earned, is a pound less to find”, reports Cllr Hebb. “We are now cleaning up our high streets, cutting the grass and green spaces, and in collaboration with the government, we are filling in the potholes across the borough too. We are proud of this investment, while acknowledging there is still more to do. Clean it, cut it, fill it will remain under this Administration.”
Cllr Hebb announced at a recent Cabinet meeting that the council’s reserves amount would be reviewed to ensure the council would be ever-resilient to external pressures in the future. In the council chamber, Cllr Hebb informed Council that he would be seeking to increase Reserves to £10m by 2020/21.
Cllr Hebb added: “In eighteen months, we will have started the execution of adding another 25% onto our reserves: we believe we have the ability to fix the roof even more while the sun is shining – we have to think ahead.”
“Experts have vouched for our direction of travel and our ability to achieve what is set out.”