FINALLY action has been taken to curb the reckless borrowing and investments made by the Conservative administration of Thurrock Council.
Over the past two years the Conservative administration, when questioned by John Kent, Leader of the Labour Group, repeatedly dismissed his concerns.
I, myself, submitted, by means of “Questions from Members of the Public” a question to Cllr Shane Hebb, who was at the time the Financial Portfolio holder. I expressed my concern over the colossal amount of money borrowed, in the region of £2 billion. I asked if he would assure me that should the lenders suddenly request an immediate repayment of the loans, plus interest, the Council would remain solvent and capable of carrying out statutory obligations. He did not give me that assurance but did assure me that the Council’s finances were in safe hands.
Despite repeated requests from the Labour group the Conservative administration refused to answer questions regarding the borrowing and investments. The Conservatives have actually gone so far as to “ban” any questions on the subject.
The Conservative administration has adopted the same approach to questions on the subject from local media.
When will they ever learn that if they seek to conceal their actions the public will justifiably assume the worst.
If politicians want the public to trust them then transparency is essential.
I am of the opinion that the current situation merits drastic action to restore public confidence and trust in Thurrock Council and the only way to achieve that is a fresh start.
The Conservatives embarked upon the borrowing and investment strategy and subsequently sought to obstruct any scrutiny. With this in mind I suggest that, at the very least, every Conservative Councillor should immediately resign.
The people of Thurrock are entitled to demonstrate their opinion by means of an election.