'Brutal' council cuts would see one in four jobs at the authority axed over next two years - plus huge sell-off of assets and increased charges for residents

  Posted: 30.06.21 at 20:07 by The Editor

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ONE in four jobs at Thurrock Council may be cut over the next two years under a new austerity programme due to be debated by leading councillors next week.

Over the past 36 hours Thurrock Nub News has reported on the planned cost-saving measures the cash-strapped council says it has to make, despite its much-reported boasting over the past two or three years about how effective its ‘borrow to invest’ strategy has been and how it has protected the authority.

The measures include the probable closure and disposal of the Thameside complex, which includes the Thameside Theatre. And also closure of Grangewaters outdoor activity centre. See report here.

Finance portfolio holder Cllr Shane Hebb has tried to put a positive spin on developments but delving into the reports to be put to the council’s cabinet next week makes tough reading.

Probably the most damning comment on the council’s plight is a cash-saving proposal to cut more than 500 jobs.

A report says: “ As staff costs are by far the largest of the council’s budgets, it is obvious that a higher target than £4 million needs to be achieved when considering the budget gap of £34.3m.

“Officers are currently working on an assumption of reducing staff related costs by £10m for each of the next two years.

“At an average on-costed salary, this equates to a 500 full time equivalent reduction over the two years which represents circa 25 per cent of the current workforce. The reduction of permanent positions will see a proportionately leaner management structure.”

Labour opposition leader Cllr John Kent said he is shocked by the reports and told Thurrock Nub News: ““The cuts that Thurrock Conservatives are putting forward are absolutely brutal.

“Their plan includes closing the Thameside, shedding 500 jobs, introducing new parking charges - as well as confirming the move to fortnightly bin collections and charging for garden waste.

“And this is on top of their plan to end Meals on Wheels and close Day Care centres for our elderly folk.

“With a financial black hole of £34 million it is clear that Thurrock Conservatives have completely lost control of the council’s finances and it’s us - the residents - who will suffer as a result.”

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