Saturday, January 28, 2023

Thurrock taxpayer set to pay heavy price for virtually bankrupt council

COUNCIL tax payers could be set to pay the price for Thurrock Council’s unprecedented financial mismanagement reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

It was announced this week the council is facing £469.6 million deficit and it has now revealed it may ask the Government for permission to raise council tax beyond the current 5 per cent cap without holding a referendum.

At Wednesday’s council meeting John Kent, leader of the Labour group asked Graham Snell, councillor responsible for finance, what levels of council tax the virtually bankrupt council was going to be looking at next year.

Mr Snell said: “The Government gives us the flexibility to raise council tax up to 5 per cent. We will be considering rises within that envelope when we have our budget setting conversations.

But Mr Kent pressed him for more details. He said: “Earlier this evening the leader of the council was talking of negotiations with the Government and looking at what the ask of Government will be in relation to the extraordinary financial support this council needs.

“Does the portfolio holder intend that part of that negotiation will be asking for permission to raise council tax by more than 5 per cent without the need for a referendum?”

In response Mr Snell said: “Yes. There is that possible but there are no decisions on that yet. Should there be, it would come back to this chamber.”

Asked if he would rule such an option out, Mr Snell said: “Unfortunately I can’t rule that out. That decision won’t be ours. The commissioners will make that decision whether it will be raised, or whether the option to raise it will come to this chamber and if that decision is made, and it hasn’t be made yet, we will discuss that here.”

A Government appointed commissioner was brought in to monitor the council’s financial dealings earlier this year following a string of bad investments.

A financial report to cabinet for 2022/23 said the council is expecting investment losses £275.4 million and further £129.2 million being set aside to repay investment debt.

There is also a budget gap of £184.4 million for 2023/24.

1 COMMENT

  1. How disgusting is that residents of thurrock should be further taxed because the council has amounted debts. Those responsible for the debt the council is in should face criminal charges. Perhaps the head of the council who has drawn wages more than the prime minister should be taken to court. The debt they have amassed isn’t for the residents of thurrock to repay. Prosecution of those responsible for the debt should pay the price.

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