THE THURROCK Councillor in charge of finance has “set the record straight” over an article in the Financial Times (FT) over the council’s dwindling reserves.
The FT article stated that Thurrock Council had seen the biggest drop in reserves in the country.
Portfolio Holder for Finance, clrr Shane Hebb said: “It is fact that Thurrock Council’s “rainy day” general fund reserve has increased by 40% since 2016 from £8m to £11m. Thurrock Council’s frontline hasn’t been this well protected in decades.
“The Financial Times article is talking about money held – so called “ear-marked reserves” – that includes funds for projects such as school building and other capital plans, or, money that the council held but then handed over when schools moved from council-maintained to academy schools. A lot of what the FT reports on, is the latter.
“Taxpayers expect their institutions to have enough cash to fall back on in the event of a financial crisis, but conversely, not sit idly on their tax-levied funds. Thurrock Conservatives agree – thus our review of reserves to ensure the council doesn’t sit on council tax payers money for no reason (sic). It is not right to set aside money for a purpose – classroom building, the new Integrated Medical Centres, as examples – and then not spend it as intended.
“Unlike other Councils we haven’t written to Westminster to raise concerns about our income levels – instead we have set a balanced budget for four years and increased our reserves to ensure our services are further protected”.