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Cost-saving Thurrock Council budget revealed
12:18pm Thursday 1st March 2012 in South Essex
COUNCIL bosses have planned £9million of savings by cutting back on management costs, it has been revealed.
In a report outlining Thurrock Council’s budget for the next year, more than £600,000 will be saved by cutting management costs, including saving £240,000 on the cost of stationery, printing from PCs and cleaning.
So far, council officials have made £10million of savings including £300,000 by slashing senior management to create a “modern and slim-line Thurrock Council”.
A discussion on the proposals during a full council meeting also confirmed the Labour-led authority’s pledge to freeze the level of council tax for a second year despite cuts in Government funding of £4million.
Leader John Kent said: “We want Thurrock to be a place of ambition, enterprise and opportunity, where communities and businesses flourish.
“To achieve this with less money means we will have to focus more keenly on our priorities and also means we will all need to work differently in the future.”
However, more cash will be ploughed into education, care for older people as well as tackling homelessness.
A total of £1million will be used on child social care, £2million will be used for care for older people, £500,000 will be spent on alternative education provision and school improvements.
Mr Kent added: “We must make sure we make tough decisions necessary to protect communities and that is something we will continue to do. "It is a budget that has sought to protect our frontline services as much as possible."
Oliver Gerrish, cabinet member for education said the budget reflected the importance of education and raising aspirations in the borough while Val Morris-Cook, responsible for environment said her portfolio always came in budget.
However, Tory councillor for Stanford East and Corringham Town, said: “This budget does seem to lack vision, focus and drive and does not have a plan for tackling the challenges we are facing and no amount of smoke screen will divert away from that".
A debate broke out about how the budget would effect environment services with Tory councillor James Halden saying the council needed to “work on an invest to save strategy.”
Conservative leader Phil Anderson added: “We have a different view.
“They (Labour) have brought forward one vision and we have brought a different version on where we should be going".
The budget was approved by 25 councillors for it and 21 against.