Agenda item

General Fund Budget Proposals


The Mayor invited the Leader of the Council. Councillor Gledhill, to introduce the budget and advised he had 20 minutes to do so.


Councillor Gledhill


Thank you Mister Mayor and it is at this point that I really wish I would have visited Specsavers about three months ago, or indeed brought my reading glasses.


Yet again it is my pleasure to present to this chamber a budget that sees no cuts in services. What it is a budget for, is a budget that delivers more money to be spent on social care, more money to be spent on the environment, and more money to be spent on tackling anti-social behaviour across the borough. This is all done at the same time as having the maximum recommended amount in reserves at £11m for this year, but also…quite clearly I need to give up…but at the same time as the £11m in reserves, earmarked reserves of a further £10m to deliver transformation and ensure budget resilience as we move forward as a council.


So now to some of the detail. Members will see at appendix 2, page 115 a comprehensive list of the revised current budget envelopes and the proposals for next year’s spend in those areas. You will note in Adults, Health and Housing, an increased spend of £1.95 million; in Children’s Services, half a million; Environment £1.1 million. Indeed, with the exception of corporate cost, which covers council tax and benefit administration budget, all areas are seeing more money spent on them to deliver the services that residents need and expect. Indeed, overall it was about £5million extra spend across the board.


I would of course remind Members that this increase is on the current revised in-year budget totals. So, if we compared them to the original budget totals in 2019/20, so the beginning of this municipal year, we would see the increase as such: social care increase £4m, £1 million… sorry one third of £1 million in general fund homelessness support, and £1.2m extra spent on the environment team. So as we know social care for both adults and children is a very complex matter, and it just takes a few extra cases can put extreme pressure, not just on the services workload, but also on their finances. We are very fortunate to have a surplus at the moment that can absorb this in-year unexpected increase in demand, and this was a demand over and above the increase that we put in the end of the last financial year into these budgets. This is one of the reasons we are increasing the budget envelopes in these areas to ensure that as we move forward our most vulnerable are still looked after. Obviously, it is not just those in social care; it equally applies to those presenting themselves as potentially homeless, under our new duties under the Homelessness Prevention Act. Of course no one likes to see an overspend in a budget, but equally I’m sure not one of us here would not want to see us as a Council failing some of our most vulnerable adults, children and indeed residents who fall to be homeless.


So, how are we doing this? Well its simple by not just relying on the tax payer to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets each year, or by death through a thousand budget cuts as we’ve seen under previous administrations, but it is our long and short term investment strategies, as we’ve just agreed, which brings in over £30 million per year. However in line with spending rules, as I’ve pointed out in response to Councillor Duffin, we’re unable to spend all of that income on keeping council tax down, although we are obviously doing exceptionally well in doing so. Indeed our medium term financial strategy produced and approved in previous years has relied on an increase of 1.99% each year. However, despite this recommendation as we know last year we agreed a zero percent council tax increase, and in front of us tonight is an increase of only 1.49% in the general fund Council Tax amount. Indeed, if agreed this evening, since taking administration in 2016 the Conservatives will have increased the general fund council tax amount by 5.47%. This is some 2.5% lower than originally forecast. In doing so our residents in a Band D property keep a further £46 of their hard earned cash in their pockets, rather than giving it to us and our coffers. On top of this, also as mentioned, in the past couple of years, no cuts other than those agreed by the previous administration and, at the same time, seeing a whopping 85% of our key performance indicators now being met or exceeding targets.


But, of course, I cannot and will not just brush over the social care precepts that we have applied to help ensure our most vulnerable adults and elderly receive the care that they need. This year we are also seeking a maximum 2% or 53 pence per week on a Band D council tax bill to help meet these costs. All of the money raised by this precept is ring fenced and goes directly to the adult social care. These precepts have meant a further £1.3m spent on adult social care, which has allowed, for instance, to maintain our record of ‘good’ across our internal services, such as Collins House, extra care, and the joint re-enablement team. This means we will not have to increase the cost of service charges to our users in care homes and other services, and the three levels will be frozen at 2019/20 levels. It will also allow us to pay for our residential homecare, care home providers, with a slightly higher uplift to cope with the national living wage. That means we will hopefully be able to keep the carers that are working for us and have done over the many years.


It does mean that the average council tax rise for all council services will be 68 pence per week for over 70% of our residents. I’m going to say that again, 68 pence per week, of which the largest share will go to support our elderly and vulnerable.


Now I know there’s been lots of discussion in the past about how the increase in adult social care should be funded, with some proposing it should be in income tax. However, if one thing I’ve learnt in local government for over 20 years of service and 14 years as an elected member has taught me: if money goes into a central government pot, it’s a hell of a job trying to get it back, it involves all sorts of formulas to get it back where it’s needed. So I stand by the decision made by government and indeed this chamber in the past, that raising this precept locally is the right thing, with the majority of council tax payers across the borough only paying an extra 39 pence per week to ensure our must vulnerable adults get the support they need.


Further to these increases, and increases outside of our control, we have the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner precept to help pay for the police and fire service across the whole of Essex. This year, instead of going for the maximum increase, which I believe was £10, he has decided to go for a much lower percentage, as he feels that now with the maximum, sorry with police numbers over 3,000 police officers, which is the highest since 2010, all he needs to do is increase to cover the cost. That works out at 11 pence per week for the average Band D property increase this year. So as I said last year, it’s the same, taxpayers will be paying coppers for coppers. We will also see a 3% a week increase for our fire and rescue service; again, I’m sure nobody in this chamber will complain about a 3% increase for those brave firefighters who work tirelessly to make sure we’re safe.


We also again are in the enviable position to have a one off surpluses which we can spend to enhance our borough and I am pleased to announce that we agreed at Cabinet a fortnight ago:


           £660k on our Kerb It Programme to help protect our verges and pavements; and we heard very eloquently Mr. Perrin say why this is so much needed

           £500k to support mental health outcomes

           £320k on environmental enforcement officers to help tackle ASB including £50k increase to tackle the scourge of graffiti on council owned spaces. Everyone will remember from my opening speech, there’s already been two prolific taggers charged in relation to the damage they’ve caused and this is ongoing. However, this money will be used to help clean the cost these vandals caused in their nightly pursuits

           £230k for over 1,000 trees to be planted across the borough but I will touch on that again a little bit later

           £250k to look at our leisure and tourism offer across Thurrock

           And further support for our youth offending team, again keeping our youngsters out of reoffending, and hopefully keep them much more productive as they go through their adult life.


We also have a Capital Programme, which will see money invested into:


           Bridge maintenance across the borough, whilst not the sexiest of spend, we will agree that this will help keep our borough moving and ensure the safety of all of our residents

           More creative work spaces and repair to High House Production Park. The borough should pride itself in its creative industries that we have here and this vital work spaces will help as part of the Thames production corridor

           Improvements to Coalhouse Fort in East Tilbury, something long overdue and will help the trustees of the fort move forward with new exciting possibilities to make this more attractive to visitor from around the world.

           Also, to increase in size and access to our waste and recycling centre to make it more accessible to our residents

           Increasing the ability for our residents in flatted accommodation to be able to recycle and enjoy the benefits of the three-bin system the rest of us do. This will help not only drive up recycling rates, but therefore reduce the amount of landfill or incineration for our waste

           Better access put in place for new schools and existing schools in Little Thurrock Blackshots area.

           An increase in cycle routes


Which now leads me nicely into the climate change agenda voted on earlier in this year.


As we have already mentioned, Cabinet voted over a fortnight ago for another 1,000 trees to be planted across the borough and to help clear our air, and in the Capital Programme, if agreed this evening, will expand our cycle routes across the borough. This will be a total spend of £900,000 next year to improve our environment. But we cannot forget that on top of this we have a significant amount of our investments in the green energy sector. So not only are making money from these investments to supply the services that residents expect we are also playing a bigger part in supplying renewable energy sources across the country, something that I hope will benefit even more our residents in the coming year, and again something we will be able to speak about as positive news in the coming year or so.


There are many more small schemes that I’m sure Members will find interesting in Appendix 7, and I’m sure they’ll talk about it as they go through the meeting.


As Members are aware, Cabinet has already agreed the Dedicated Schools Grant that is included within tonight’s report for information only. The main headline being a £10.1m extra towards the education of our children across the borough. You’ll see as part of this report, something I mentioned earlier, about money held centrally going through very complicated formulas to get it back. But to be clear, even as it stands now, the £10.1m extra comes to Thurrock schools from our government.


So to sum up on this Mr Mayor, what will residents see for this modest increase in tax, from our allocation of the one off spends from Cabinet, and indeed from our government?


Should this budget be approved, this evening our residents will see:


           A council delivering on its Clean It, Cut It, Fill It priorities: with thousands of potholes filled; fly tips cleared; thousands of more tonnes of waste removed from our streets; more fixed penalties issued for those offences such as littering to improve the look of our area; more people prosecuted in court for not paying their on the spot fines; more £400 fly-tipping fines.

           A council increase its met or exceeded performance indicators beyond the record 85% that have met targets this year.

           A £10.1m spent on children across the borough

           They will see more trees planted

           More money for our most vulnerable residents

           More investment in tackling anti-social behaviour

           More help for mental health outcomes across the borough

           Another year of one off surpluses and

           Most importantly Mr Mayor, it will see a council still delivering the lowest Council Tax bills in the whole of Essex.


Thank you.


The Mayor then invited the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Pothecary, to respond and advised she had 15 minutes to do so.


Councillor Pothecary


Thank you Mister Mayor and thank you Councillor Gledhill for presenting the budget report. I am not planning on taking the 15 minutes.


A very rosy picture of the Thurrock Council has been painted for us but the truth is there is a very very different reality about living in Thurrock today. Many residents listening this evening simply won’t recognise the story being told. The Tilbury resident paying service charges for a lift that doesn’t work. The West Thurrock resident living day-in and day-out with choking air pollution and congestion. The Corringham resident too scared to visit the town centre out of fear for their own safety. The older resident who relied on receiving care at Orsett hospital, now forced to travel to Brentwood for appointments. The Ockendon resident fearing the loss of the green space outside his home. Another motorway ripping through our borough and destroying our health.


This borough needs a council that is on the side of its residents, that understands their needs and their aspirations. Thurrock is a place of great potential but we need to start getting the basics right and ensuring our residents can see every day we are working for them, to improve their lives. At the moment, our residents tell us the gulf between rhetoric and reality is too great.


We cannot keep increasing council tax year on year at a time when wages are stagnating and the cost of living continues to rise. Therefore Thurrock Labour opposes a rise in Council Tax. An increase of 1.49% doesn’t sound like much. But add to it the 2% in adult social care precept and an almost 5% rise from the Conservative Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, band C properties will be paying an nearly £1,500.00 a year.


This comes on top of years of hikes by this Conservative council. If this new rise goes through, the increase in Council tax since the Tories came to power will also be 15%. By contrast, the last Labour council froze bills nearly every year.


I would also remind the chamber, that five current members of the Conservative Party, elected under a different banner, were elected on a pledge to cut council tax, not just freeze it, but actually cut it.


I would suggest those five members consider very carefully the promises they made to their residents when they were elected under different colours, before they vote through yet another increase.


It cannot be stated clearly enough, that this increase does not mean necessarily new services. It increases a surplus. An item listed in section 5.3 such as the kerb-it scheme are actually being funded from the 2019/20 surplus not next years.  We also don’t trust this Conservative Council to spend that surplus in the best interest of our residents. £10 million pounds (at the very least) so they can sit in plush new offices, whilst the borough’s services see no additional investment, against the wishes of our residents.  


Further to the council tax increase, this Conservative Council is determined to continue their assault on council tenants and leaseholders with whopping increases to both rents and service charges. Whilst it is true the council was forced to cut rents by 1% in previous years, the burden of this was placed on tenants living in high and low rise flats.


Lifts, communal lighting, a safe and secure main door, and cleaning the lobby floors were all charged in addition to rent. Essentially a tax on walking to your front door. Both tenants and leaseholders complain consistently and bitterly of poor service and overstretched staff, lifts and communal front doors out of action for days, sometimes weeks in one case months. Year on year we have seen 3% increases in these charges, yet no discernible improvement in the quality of the service being received. Indeed, the complaints in our inboxes and at our surgeries and at our community forums just go up.


On the subject of rents, the council now has the ability to start raising rents again. After the length of time these haven’t been rising Thurrock Labour believe it is downright irresponsible of this Conservative Council to impose a major rent hike straight out of the gate. A more sensible and fairer approach would be a freeze this year, followed by a commitment to fair rents in the future.


A large percentage of our council tenants pay their own rent from the wages they earn, often working for minimum wage or low pay.


This year, the Conservatives are taking more money straight out of their pocket, in council tax, service charges, rents, the precept, the police precept and the fire precept. We’re talking about families who are working hard and only just managing to get by. In-work poverty is a huge problem in this country and in our borough, and this budget, plus the extras, will only make the situation worse. 


So everything’s going up but what do our tenants and leaseholders gain? What do these increases do to improve their lives? There is nothing additional being offered to justify these increases. Like with the council tax increases, residents are gaining nothing. That is why Thurrock Labour is proposing a triple freeze. A freeze on council tax, a freeze on rents and a freeze on service charges. 


Nationally, we continue to count the cost of this Conservative Government which has presided over nearly ten years of devastating cuts, set to dole out even more. They’ve failed to get a grip on spiralling costs for local councils in children’s and adult social care, homelessness provision, school funding and supporting children with special educational needs and the new money from Government for schools just makes up what has been cut over the last 10 years.


Not only do these failures have an acute impact on council spending, they have a huge human cost too, too often being paid by those in our society who deserve the most help.


And there are also failures closer to home that will make residents question why they are paying more for incompetence. Major infrastructure projects like the A13 widening the overspent which the question members ducted early is delayed, hugely over budget and has clearly been mismanaged, through a shocking lack of oversight by the portfolio holders since the Conservatives came into power.


The budget is when we reflect on our vision for Thurrock and the priorities for our borough. We know our borough faces huge challenges, but it also has huge potential. In setting the budget envelope here tonight, this is the opportunity for elected members to have their say on the priorities we want to see the council delivering on.


Three key priorities loom large for our residents at the moment: tackling crime and antisocial behaviour; saving our open spaces from over development; and ensuring every community in the borough can enjoy clean streets and clean air.


The council needs to get a grip on the spiralling levels of crime and antisocial behaviour that are holding our borough back and making our residents’ lives a misery. Last year saw reports of violent crime increase by almost 45%. Our residents deserve to feel safe.


The council needs to save our open spaces from inappropriate development. We recognise that green spaces are vital to our health and wellbeing, and must be protected. Development needs to be evenly spread across the borough and align with areas of economic growth. In other words, it needs to make sense and it needs to be fair. It also needs to make an “offer” to existing residents, prioritising their needs and using development to fulfil these. This needs to be the starting point, not an afterthought.


The council also needs to take bold action to tackle the scourge of fly tipping to ensure our public spaces are clean, tidy and inviting for our residents, including communal spaces such as shared alleyways. Thurrock has some of the worst rates of COPD and related diseases outside of London. We need definitive action on this. We need to explore the feasibility of introducing a low emission zone and continue the fight against the Conservative Government’s pet project, the Lower Thames Crossing. We need to deliver clean streets and clean air for all of our communities.


So as we set the budget envelope for the forthcoming year, we would like to stress Labour’s key priorities of tackling crime, saving our open spaces, clean streets and clean air.


The Mayor invited Councillor Gledhill to respond to Councillor Pothecary and advised he had 10 minutes to do so.


Councillor Gledhill


Thank you Councillor Pothecary for your response.


I’ve got to say, this is as confusing as ever and we hear that you’re not going to back this budget. A budget that’s tackling air pollution, something that’s actually on your budget that wants to do that as well. And tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, more to the point, that was in your speech as well. Pretty much everything that you want to put forward is what’s in our budget, but yet you wish to vote that down.


I’m going to say some of the things that you did mention, as I say, air pollution, in our budget, being tackled. Anti-social behaviour, in our budget, being tackled. With the NHS as our partners in relation to the closure of Orsett Hospital, something started, of course, under a Labour government, you seem to be very, very quiet upon, for new integrated medical centres coming, by working with our partners.


You say that wages are stagnating. According to the Office for National Statistics, actually they are on the rise and indeed, on the highest we’ve seen since Labour were last in power nationally. And again, you mentioned ‘Oh when we were in charge, we froze Council Tax’. The only reason you had the ability to freeze Council Tax is because the Conservative government were matching it every time you were putting it up by 1%, they would give us 1% extra. So if it had not been for that, there would have been monstrous Council Tax increases year on year as we saw the last time you were in administration.


You mention the surpluses. Obviously we spend the surpluses that we raise rather than trying to spend them in advance. We’ve already been accused of borrowing and not repaying but actually we wait until we finally got the money to spend it.


This ridiculous £10 million on the new Council offices, let me remind everybody, yet again. Money put aside by the Labour Group, when they were in charge, to build, no sorry, to improve the offices. So would you rather, an office that is decaying and dying in the way that the offices are here. Or a much more efficient, fuel efficient and indeed, more importantly, a greener building being delivered and 82 new properties on a brownfield sit. Or we pour more and more and more money into a building that is quite frankly, as dead as a parrot.


As I was quite rightly saying, ASB tackled, air pollution tackled, NHS working with us to deliver four new integrated medical centres, wages up. I’m just seeing how far we’ve got down now. That’s it, an office that’s dying but rather than having it as a much better facility, 82 extra houses, yet again we see Labour saying ‘No, no, no’.


Council rents are now up from four years’ worth of 1% national cut but they are still lower than they were under the previous Labour administration. And yes, we have introduced service charges for those residents that are using services such as lifts and I will pay for the services that they are using. I’m not happy as well, I’m very not happy that they are not being provided with the service that they should do. Again, you’ve got the share of Overview and Scrutiny for Housing, perhaps this is something that needs to be looked into. Because, I’m not happy with it, residents are not happy with it, probably the only thing that we agree on this evening.


But when it comes to building houses, it’s always the same. Labour – ‘Let’s build more Council houses, let’s build more Council houses. Let’s build some up there, ooh no, no, not there, not there.’ But they never ever, ever, where. So please, stop saying, ‘no’ and start saying, ‘yes’.


So in response to the elected Member, perhaps all this dog-whistle politics that seems to be going on in relation. So we want to do something else which actually, most of it, is exactly what we want to do indeed. All of it is what we want to do, plus go a bit further, plus ensure, that we are trying to meet the green agenda, something that they voted through, that again, they wish to say, ‘no, no, no’, every single time we do it.


And finally, who is going to pay for this mythical triple lock? I’ll tell you who is going to pay for it. It’s going to be residents. The only reason that residents will end up paying for it, not in cash, were it wise, they will be paying for it through poorer services. Where are the cuts that you are going to make to match those funds, every single thing that we need to provide as a service. You, again, have no idea where it’s going to come from. Perhaps you’re going to be planting except just ordinary trees, these magical money trees that you seem to think can pay for everything that’s there. Thank you, Mr Mayor.


At 8.25pm, Councillor Halden called Point of Order, requesting further information from Councillor Pothecary on the elderly resident referred to in her speech who was now forced to travel to Brentwood for appointments.


At 8.29pm, Councillor Pothecary called Point of Order, requesting Members stopped banging the tables as this was disrespectful and rude to all in the Chamber.


The Mayor asked Members for any questions.


Councillor Spillman stated he did not believe general fund council tax should be raised rather the Council should be looking at investments and providing better services more efficiently. Councillor Spillman was opposed to the Civic Offices redevelopment and there was no guarantee the 82 houses being built would go to Thurrock residents. Councillor Spillman expressed his surprise on the Labour’s response to the “triple lock” on tax, rent and service charges and would be abstaining on the increase of 1.4% on council tax but would be supporting the 2% increase towards the cost of Adult Social Care.


Councillor Duffin stated he would be voting against the recommendation. All 49 members had failed residents by raising council tax. Members should not be congratulating themselves on the 1.49% increase; a freeze on council tax would be worthy of some congratulations. Councillor Duffin stated that going forward there should be more investments, more commercial ventures or different means of raising money.


Councillor Watkins stated his support on the report stating the budget had been strong and successful for residents with money being spent on the borough to ensure it was cleaner and greener. Those investments had been made to the environment of the borough over the last four years such as weekly bin collections, new tractors, street bins, tree planting, Kerb-It, fly tipping and street cleaners. Councillor Watkins stated the 2% increase towards the cost of Adult Social Care was right to deliver the services to those in need and supported the 1.49% council tax increase that would allow investments into the Council services and keep those services residents depended on.


Councillor Kerin referred Members to the 12 major schemes that had been committed to under the Current Programme and stated these should be good news to residents but with millions of pounds overspend this had been mismanaged and residents deserved better value for money.


Councillor Ralph welcomed the investments being made to Coalhouse Fort.


Councillor Mayes stated there seemed to be some confusion how Labour Members were voting this evening and stated that should the budget not be approved the £0.5m set aside for improving air quality in the borough would be frozen.


Councillor Johnson referred Members to the average weekly rent now compared to the higher weekly rent when Labour was in Administration in 2015/16.


Councillor Redsell stated a lot of negativity had been received this evening but Members should be mindful of the positives from the budget such as the transforming homes, tree planting schemes, A13 and new schools being built in the borough.


Councillor Maney referred Members to the three year Kerb-It programme where residents could benefit from slab replacements on kerb edges. Councillor Maney emphasised as this was part of the budget proposal Labour Members should be very mindful of how they voted.


Councillor Worrall welcomed some good aspects within the report which included the increase spend on homelessness but had some questions on how much of the £2.217m would be for homelessness and how much would be to bail out TRL. That mental health spends should always have money available and should not be dependent on council having to agree to a council tax rise and understood the Council had received grants to tackle this problem and hoped the monies referred to in the report was new money and not identified funding streams. Councillor Worrall welcomed money that could be spent on programmes such as the Kerb It programme across the whole of the borough as there were verges in very poor condition that needed to be addressed. Councillor Worrall referred to capital receipt, disposal of land and buildings and the recent publicity on the rights and wrongs of disposal of green spaces. That part of the land once released would be to build affordable housing to rent as part of the HRA and had raised land disposal at the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee and asked for some clarity on any disposal of Thurrock owned space to TRL had to follow strict rules and that best value must achieved from the sale. That any disposal of land should be agreed in the Chamber by all 49 members and not just within Cabinet. 


Councillor Gerrish stated that residents would be hit with six separate taxes when the cost of living had also risen and the Council had a wellbeing to balance the finances of the Council services so that residents had the ability to pay. Councillor Gerrish questioned why residents were being asked to pay more when the surplus of the Council would stand at £4.1m next year and could not understand why the Council was asking residents to pay such increases. Councillor Gerrish stated that instead of increasing council tax but to cut out the waste and mismanagement of the Administration who were wasting money on new offices for councillors, spending millions of pounds on the A13 widening and was the right time to put residents first.


Councillor Halden answered Councillor Worrall’s point on the mental health spend. The £1m allocated for schools was additional money with the funds being voted on this evening. The work to expand general practitioner surgeries was also additional money.


Councillor Hebb stated it was clear that Labour would be cutting services if they were to get into Administration and that this should never happen.


Councillor Gledhill thanked Members for their questions and thanked Councillor Spillman for his consistency in his approach, there were clear rules to prevent all investment money to hold down council tax increases and would like to see this changed nationally. There had been significant stand against fly tipping and stated that an external audit would be carried out on the A13 to which when completed would be shared with everybody. The chair of Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been informed that the consultation was not predetermined with Labour members seeing this consultation process as planning consent which it was not. The Chair of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny was reminded a one off spend was a one off not a continual spend.


A non-recorded vote took place on recommendation 1.1. Whereupon the Mayor declared recommendation 1.1 to be carried.


A recorded vote took place on recommendation 1.2 the result of which was:


For: Councillors Abbas, Akinbohun, Anderson, Byrne, Chukwu, Churchman, Collins, Coxshall, Duffin, Fish, Fletcher, Gerrish, Gledhill, Hague, Halden, Hebb, Holloway, Huelin, Jefferies, Johnson, Kelly, C Kent, J Kent, Kerin, Liddiard, Little, MacPherson, Maney, Massey, Mayes, Muldowney, Okunade, Piccolo, Pothecary, Potter, Ralph, Redsell, Rice, Rigby, Sammons, Shinnick, Smith, Spillman, Van Day, Watkins and Worrall (46)


Against: (0)


Abstain: Councillor Allen (1)


Whereupon the Mayor declared recommendation 1.2 to be carried.


A recorded vote took place on recommendation 1.3 the result of which was:


For: Councillors Akinbohun, Anderson, Churchman, Collins, Coxshall, Gledhill, Hague, Halden, Hebb, Huelin, Jefferies, Johnson, Kelly, Little, MacPherson, Maney, Mayes, Piccolo, Potter, Ralph, Redsell, Rigby, Sammons, Van Day and Watkins (25)


Against: Councillors Abbas, Allen, Chukwu, Duffin, Fish, Fletcher, Gerrish, Holloway, C Kent, J Kent, Kerin, Liddiard, Muldowney, Okunade, Pothecary, Rice, Shinnick and Worrall (18)


Abstain: Councillors Byrne, Massey, Smith and Spillman (4)


Whereupon the Mayor declared recommendation 1.3 to be carried.


A non-recorded vote took place on recommendations 1.4 and 1.5. Whereupon the Mayor declared recommendations 1.4 and 1.5 to be carried.


Finally, a recorded en-bloc vote would take place on recommendations 1.6 to 1.11 the result of which was:


For: Councillors Abbas, Akinbohun, Allen, Anderson, Byrne, Chukwu, Churchman, Collins, Coxshall, Duffin, Fish, Fletcher, Gerrish, Gledhill, Hague, Halden, Hebb, Holloway, Huelin, Jefferies, Johnson, Kelly, C Kent, J Kent, Kerin, Liddiard, Little, MacPherson, Maney, Massey, Mayes, Muldowney, Okunade, Piccolo, Pothecary, Potter, Ralph, Redsell, Rice, Rigby, Sammons, Shinnick, Smith, Spillman, Van Day, Watkins and Worrall (47)


Against: (0)


Abstain: (0)


Whereupon the Mayor declared recommendations 1.6 to 1.11 to be carried.




That the Council:


1.         Considered and acknowledged the Section 151 Officer’s (Corporate

Director of Finance, Governance and Property’s) S25 report on the robustness of the proposed budget, the adequacy of the Council’s reserves and the Reserves Strategy as set out in Appendix 1, including the conditions upon which the following recommendations are made;


2.         Agreed a 2% council tax increase towards the cost of Adult Social Care;


3.         Agreed a 1.49% council tax increase to meet the increasing costs and demands of all other services and to move the council towards greater financial sustainability for the medium to longer term;


4.         Approved the new General Fund capital proposals, including the allocation for feasibility work on future and aspirational proposals, as set out in section 10 and Appendix 6;


5.         Delegated to Cabinet the ability to agree schemes (a) where it can be evidenced that there is a spend to save opportunity or (b) that use any unbudgeted contributions from third parties, including those by way of grants or developers’ contributions, and these be deemed as part of the capital programme.


Statutory Council Tax Resolution


(Members should note that these recommendations are a result of the previous recommendations above and can be agreed as written or as amended by any changes agreed to those above).


6.         Calculated that the council tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2020/21 is £69,168,853 as set out in the table at paragraph 5.8 of this report.


7.         That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2020/21 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Act:


(a)        £477,989,694 being the aggregate of the amounts which the

Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (2) of the



(b)       £408,820,841 being the aggregate of the amounts which the

Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A (3) of the



(c)        £69,168,853 be the amount by which the aggregate at 1.7(a)                             above exceeds the aggregate at 1.7(b) above, calculated by the

Council in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act as its council tax requirement for the year. (Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act).


(d)       £1,332.81 being the amount at 1.7(c) above (Item R), all divided by

Item T (Council Tax Base of 51,897), calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year (including Parish precepts).


(e)        £0 being the aggregate amount of all special items (Parish precepts) referred to in Section 34(1) of the Act.


(f)        £1,332.81 being the amount at (d) above less the result given by dividing the amount at (e) above by Item T, calculated by the

Council, in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year for dwellings in those parts of its area to which no Parish precept relates.


8.         Noted that the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has issued precepts to the Council in respect of Essex Police and Essex County

Fire and Rescue Service in accordance with Section 40 of the Local

Government Finance Act 1992 for each category of dwellings in the

Council’s area as indicated in the tables below.


9.         That the Council, in accordance with Sections 30 and 36 of the Local

Government Finance Act 1992, hereby sets the aggregate amounts

Page 91 shown in the tables below as the amounts of council tax for 2019/20 for each part of its area and for each of the categories of dwellings.




Amounts for the Valuation Bands for 2020/21


























10.       That it be noted that for the year 2020/21 Essex Police, Fire and Crime

Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority has stated the following amounts in precept issued to the Council in respect of Essex Police for each of the categories of dwellings as follows:

Amounts for the Valuation Bands for 2020/21


























11.       That it be noted that for the year 2020/21 Essex Police, Fire and Crime

Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority has stated the following amounts in precept issued to the Council in respect of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for each of the categories of dwellings as follows:

Amounts for the Valuation Bands for 2020/21



























Amounts for the Valuation Bands for 2020/21



























At 9.21pm, Councillor Pothecary called Point of Order to suspend standing orders until 10.00pm and seconded by Councillor Kerin. Members agreed to continue.


At 9.22pm, Councillor Churchman left the Council Chamber.

Supporting documents: