TUESDAY night’s Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee saw Thurrock Labour councillors voting against sweeping cuts in Children’s Services.
Due to Conservative mismanagement of the finances, Thurrock Council faces a £34.4 million budget deficit over the next two years, with cuts of an estimated £20 million to be made to staffing. In other words the council must cut around 1/3 of everything they do over the next two years says Thurrock Labour.
Two reports proposing cuts to Education and Skills and Children’s Social Care, including staff redundancies, the loss of two nurseries in Tilbury and the loss of family contact staff were discussed.
Chair of the Committee, Cllr Sara Muldowney said: “Thurrock Conservatives have known for over a year that deep cuts would have to be made as a result of their financial incompetence, but they have chosen to ignore the urgency of the situation and kept kicking the deficit can down the road.”
“Thurrock Labour councillors have consistently asked for line by line budget reports to be brought through scrutiny so that the resources of all parties could be used to plan a sustainable budget, but Thurrock Conservatives have preferred to stick their fingers in their ears and deny that there was a problem.”
“Tonight Thurrock Conservatives and the senior management of the council have made an absolute mockery of the Children’s Servicews scrutiny committee by bringing two reports to the Committee which attempt to obscure the deep cuts they represent.”
“As Chair of Children’s Services, I will not vote for any cuts which potentially put our most vulnerable children at risk and jeopardise the ability of Children’s Services to adequately safeguard our children and young people, and I was very glad to have the support of my Thurrock Labour colleague, Cllr Lee Watson in voting against the cuts.
“Shame on the four Conservative Councillors, Cllr Graham Snell, Cllr Alex Anderson, Cllr Abbie Akinbohun and Cllr James Thandi who voted to push through these cuts with little or no regard for the impact on the borough’s children.”