Forecast borrowing reduced by over £350million

15 January 2021

Thurrock Council is proposing to reduce its approved borrowing levels over 3 years by more than £350million.

The reduction in borrowing reflects the pause to the council's investment approach, something which was anticipated to happen over time but will now happen quicker. The new levels also provide the ability to fund infrastructure projects critical to the local and national recovery, however, which will benefit Thurrock's residents and businesses.

Cllr Shane Hebb, Cabinet member for finance, said: "We always said that the approach around investments was not long-term or permanent, and services needed reform, some of which has been happening already. 

"The investment approach has earned nearly £80m since its agreement by all councillors back in 2017, and allowed Thurrock to reform services at a more measured pace, something we would not have had the ability to do had we not had access to the significant surpluses the investment approach generated.

"The strategy has led to spending on services not usually expected of a council and allowed services to operate with more non-statutory functions for the benefit of Thurrock's communities with additional police officers, mental health support in schools and a cleaner environment as examples of this.

"The investment strategy has been successful and has played a significant role in allowing the council to increase its reserves to treble the amount compared to 2016. 

"It means we have breathing space to make more considered, sustainable decisions for the long term instead of being forced to act in haste, following the events of 2020, where continued use of the investment approach has had to be reduced."