At a meeting of Thurrock Council's Cabinet on Wednesday 22 July, Cllr Shane Hebb – Cabinet member for finance – presented a report that confirmed:
- Thurrock Council had delivered a balanced budget between April 2019 and March 2020
- reserves had increased
- income achieved from investment activity was above what had been planned
Last year Thurrock Council added more than £5.8million to its reserves, taking the total reserves up by 131% since 2016 and putting Thurrock is in a strong financial position to adjust to the post-COVID world.
Speaking on Thursday 23 July, Cllr Hebb said: "The report presented yesterday is the last rear-view mirror look at council finances where COVID doesn't dominate the landscape.
"Our financial management means that we have not only delivered a balanced budget and maintained an £11m balance, we have also been able to increase our reserves by £5.8m.
"We have always put money aside for a rainy day and now that policy will stand us in good stead as we weather the storm which will follow the coronavirus pandemic.
"The council’s financial resilience reserves have increased from £8m in 2016, to £18.5m in 2020.
"This increased resilience is possible thanks to our investment strategy which brought in more than £35m last year alone.
"This means we have been able to go above and beyond and commit to funding additional services like extra police officers in the borough, tackling anti-social behaviour and improving our local environment.
"That improved resilience also enables us to have a more considered approach to service reviews, ensuring that we can provide good quality public services that are efficient and suited for need, along with funding the discretionary services – that councils do not have to do – which residents have asked for."