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Monday, May 27, 2024

Bankrupt Thurrock Council asks for £636m bailout and tax hike

THURROCK COUNCIL (which is effectively bankrupt) is in talks with government to borrow up to £636m to help balance its books reports the BBC.

Thurrock Council ihas a £1.5bn debt following a series of high-risk investments.

The Conservative-run unitary local authority is also due to find out whether Westminster will allow it to increase council tax by more than 5%.

The Labour opposition leader said the government loan would only serve as a “sticking plaster”.

Thurrock has asked for an initial £182.5m from the Treasury to prop up its budget for 2023-24.

The loaned funds would end up accounting for 57% of its spending.

The council however hoped to recoup at least £475m from the solar farms it started purchasing in 2018.

The £636m bailout figure being discussed with government was revealed at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting at Thurrock on Thursday.

Labour opposition leader John Kent said: “This is only forestalling the day when you actually have to do something decisive to solve this problem.

“These sticking plasters just won’t do.”

Mr Kent said he was worried the council would sell its assets, such as scout halls and community halls, and he asked that they be transferred to community ownership.

A decision is yet to be made over the ownership of the Thameside complex in Grays, which includes a 300-seat theatre, museum, community space and library.

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