Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thurrock local elections to be set against a backdrop of financial turmoil

THIS year’s local elections for Thurrock on May 4 are set against a backdrop of financial turmoil, which is set to last for decades reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

No matter which party forms an administration following the elections, commissioners appointed by the Government to find a way out of the £1.5billion debt accrued through bad investments will still be in charge of the council’s purse strings for some time to come.

The administration will also have to negotiate the continuation of some large scale schemes, including the long-awaited new Stanford-le-Hope station and the demolition and reconstruction of the Blackshots tower blocks, though the commissioners have appeared to back the much needed new homes to replace the crumbling, mould-ridden flats.

They will also have to ride the wave of any new revelations emerging from continuing investigations into investments made with money borrowed from other councils across the country.

Despite the difficulties suffered by the current administration, Conservatives are likely to remain in power following the election.

Conservatives currently have 29 councillors against Labour’s 14 seats. There are also three Thurrock Independent councillors and three non-aligned members. Eight Tory seats are being contested in May. Labour is defending four seats but would need to win 15 seats for a majority.

The editor of Thurrock Nub News is also standing as an Independent, saying he has been “shocked at the lack of contrition” by the administration over the financial disaster.

Basildon and Thurrock Conservatives and Thurrock Council leader Mark Coxshall have been approached to share their manifesto and aims for the future if they are returned to power. Neither has responded.

Polling hours on Thursday, May 4 are from 7am until 10pm. A new law means that those voting in person are required to show photo ID at the polling station, such as a passport. Expired ID documents will be accepted if the photo is is still a good likeness.

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