Down the pan we go:(

Next week, Thurrock Council’s finance portfolio holder, Cllr. Shane Hebb (Con) is due to present a briefing detailing the council’s dire financial position. As a consequence of a troubled and poorly supervised ‘borrow to invest’ strategy, the council’s debt now stands at an eye watering £1.459 billion. This is how Thurrock Nub News are covering this: Thurrock Council’s debt is now £1.459 billion.

It’s been known for some time that the ‘borrow to invest’ strategy hasn’t worked out as intended. These are two of a number of posts we’ve written about this and the likely consequences: Thurrock Council giving themselves more road to kick the can down – April 17, 2021 and: This will be VERY interesting… – March 18, 2021.

Needless to say, the consequences are going to be job and service cuts. These are just two of many posts we’ve written about this: Gaffes and finger pointing – just another day at Thurrock Council! – November 23, 2021 and: Thurrock Council – the axe will be falling – July 1, 2021.

This post is really just a heads up in advance of the presentation of the financial briefing next week. Once that has been done, discussed, debated ans analysed, hopefully we’ll have a somewhat clearer picture of what to expect in terms of cuts. Suffice to say, as much as it may provide some satisfaction, we’re not expecting heads to roll over this one – the culture of covering each others backs at Thurrock Council does not allow for that.

What is pretty certain is that we’re looking at Austerity v2.0 which is likely to be pretty brutal. How that’s going to pan out in practice is difficult to tell at the moment, not least because of Thurrock Council’s abysmal record at being honest and open with us residents. It really does look as though where feasible, residents will have to pull together to plug at least some of the gaps that will be left once the axe has been wielded.

This may be when we’ll see the principles of mutual aid and solidarity being put into practice. We’re talking about anything from community kitchens and food banks, through school uniform banks and skill shares and onto community food growing. When we can meet more of our own needs by collectively and co-operatively working with each other, there’s less need for us to rely on an increasingly dysfunctional and not fit for purpose local authority.

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