Today (19 December) Thurrock Council has announced another major step in plans to recover from its grave financial position.
The council's Interim Director of Finance has issued a 'Section 114 notice' to the council, which indicates that the authority will not be able to deliver a balanced budget from within existing resources this year and into next.
A Section 114 notice means the council has to stop all but the essential spending needed to provide vital services to residents, pay staff and meet its legal duties. The notice follows publication of the council's latest financial position earlier this month.
A special meeting of the Full Council will take place on Monday 9 January 2023 to discuss the notice, the council's response and the proposed plan to meet the financial challenge it faces.
Cllr Graham Snell, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "The issuing of the Section 114 notice by our most senior financial officer has our full backing and is the next important procedural step in our journey to financial recovery.
"Among other things it will help pave the way for a formal request for additional bespoke financial assistance from the Government."
Cllr Mark Coxshall, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: "Residents and staff should feel safe knowing that our street lights are still shining, our roads are continuing to be gritted during bad weather, and our most vulnerable friends and family are being looked after.
"They can also be reassured that under my leadership we have started to grip our situation and have a clear sight of what needs to be done. The Section 114 notice is a clear indication we are on the road to recovery.
"I have already made it clear as the incoming Leader that I have been shocked by the position the council is in and we do not take lightly the seriousness of the step we are being asked to take today.
"I am proud to say that Thurrock is my home, and I will fight hard to do the right thing for local people and build a future for this council, however difficult that will be."
A spokesperson for the Thurrock Commissioners said: "The issuing of a Section 114 notice is a necessary next step for Thurrock Council to take to address its overall financial position, alongside seeking further financial support from the Government.
"The Section 114 notice will limit non-essential spending, which is an important element contributing to the stabilising of the Council's finances. Our work with Thurrock to address wider structural budget issues continues in tandem with work on their day-to-day spending."
The Section 114 notice is published online at www.thurrock.gov.uk/intervention