Balanced budget delivered in one of the toughest years a council can face

8 July 2021

Thurrock Council was able to deliver a balanced budget and maintain its financial reserves in 2020/21, despite the financial strains placed on all local authorities over the past year.

Cllr Shane Hebb, Cabinet member for finance, said: "A once-in-a-century, adult-centric health crisis changed everything at the turn of a switch, with public bodies having to try and provide the same services as ever, yet react and respond to rapidly emerging need and guidance.

"Thurrock Council rose to this challenge and has been able to deliver a balanced budget while providing additional care for not only our most vulnerable residents but also those that learned they were now vulnerable to a new virus.

"We have managed this without having to touch our general reserves at all. The financial support from the government to all councils has played a big role in helping the sector provide services during the pandemic. While many councils have faced a loss on their investments and have been forced to drain reserves we have seen a £100million profit on our investments since 2016, which helped us increase reserves by 300% in the years leading up to the crisis.

"The council still spent £92m on capital projects – and there is an exciting, albeit a smaller list now, of projects which this council has now prioritised to deliver to the tune of over £200m. In the coming year we will prioritise work on the Grays underpass and the Stanford-le-Hope interchange, which is planned to be delivered in 2 phases to deliver first a new station and then wider facilities to the north of London Road.

"There are still challenging times ahead but this council has faced the financial shock of 2020/21 and delivered a balanced budget, providing a foundation to prepare for the reforms ahead."

More information can be found in the report on the Cabinet agenda, Wednesday, 7 July 2021.