Councillor Hebb began by
stating that the current long-term economic plan had been in place
for seven years and this had secured many services for residents.
He commented that the budget would now be in surplus for the next
2.5 years, so if a child was born in May 2016 they would be in
early-years before there were financial changes. He mentioned the
Council Spending Review which set out the Council’s
self-sufficiency objectives and therefore gave elected Members a
genuine choice. He then thanked officers at all levels for their
hard work every year in increasing the budget surplus. Councillor
Hebb then highlighted areas of the council which were experiencing
financial pressures such as housing. He stated this was because of
the focus on the Housing General Fund and the problem of
homelessness in the borough which had to be tackled. He also drew
the Cabinet’s attention the ongoing pressure on
Children’s Social Care which was due to the number of new
cases which had significant costing implications. He also mentioned
Environment and Highways which experienced pressure, but stated
this was a nationwide issue and not solely Thurrock’s. He
commented that new bin tags had now been launched which were
important as it helped residents identify which waste can be
recycled and therefore lowered processing costs at the recycling
plants. He added that Thurrock was one of the only boroughs that
still had weekly bin collections on all of its bins, and added this
could only continue if the right rubbish was put in the right bins.
Councillor Hebb then mentioned the pressures on public health as
this was caused by the migration from the CCG to the Council.
Councillor Hebb then moved onto discussing the external income of £500,000 that the Council was bringing in, the dividends of which would start to come through soon. He drew the Committee’s attention to page 109 of the agenda and table 10.7.1 which listed items that had been considered at Budget Council in February 2018, and how many of these targets had now been almost completed, such as approval of the Local Plan and initiatives to combat fly-tipping. He then discussed the table 10.7.2 in detail and the plans that were in place such as £750,000 extra for funding anti-social behaviour prevention in the borough and £100,000 extra in 2018/19 to fight the LTC.
The Leader added that he felt glad the Council did not have to make cuts, and were now having more debates on how to spend money rather than save it. He added that the new police officers would be in addition to those that were paid for through council tax, and as tackling anti-social behaviour was now a priority, these extra resources should start to see outcomes. Councillor Watkins added that new environmental protection measures such as the ‘Curb It’ Scheme were now in place to solve issues such as cars parking on grass verges which could ruin the verge and the road. He thanked Councillor Hebb for the budget surplus which allowed the environment team to run initiatives such as these.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Noted the revenue forecast outturn position for 2018/2019 and that further mitigation is required to outturn within the agreed budget envelope;
2. Noted the updates to the Medium Term Financial Strategy;
3. Considered the additional funding bids;
4. Noted the results of Treasury Management activities undertaken in the first half of 2018/2019;
5. Noted the capital forecast outturn position and the overall position of the approved programme.