Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TGNEWS to 80360 or you can email us Click here for details »
Kiely to vote against own party budget
CONTROVERSIAL Labour councillor Aaron Kiely is set to vote against his own party's budget at tonight's full council meeting.
Labour had hoped to push their budget for the next year through at tonight's council meeting, but their plans have come under serious threat following an announcement by Cllr Kiely.
The council have a majority of just four over the Conservatives, which would be cut to one if the independent councillors choose to vote for the Tory's alternative budget.
Cllr Kiely, a student activist who regularly campaigns against cuts, had claimed to be voting against his own party's budget to prove a point to the Tory-led central government who have cut funding to local authorities again this year.
The government is cutting more than £11.9million in fudning to Thurrock over the next four years.
The council's budget proposes a series of cuts, job losses and increased charges, including a rise in council tax.
Cllr Kiely is already under investigation by the local Labour whip for his council meeting attendance record.
In a statement, he said: "I am voting against the budget because I am opposed to the vast cuts the Tory-led government is making to our local council. I believe it is important to oppose these cuts and stand up for the people of Thurrock.
"The Tory-led government is slashing our public services, privatising the NHS and driving down living standards. This is a fundamental assault on the fabric of our society.
"A significant part of the Tories’ attack is the extraordinary cut being made to local council funding - more than 25 per cent is being slashed in real terms over the four years to 2015 nationally.
"There is no truth to Tory claims that these cuts are either good or necessary. Their policy has made the economy stagnate and is responsible for the rising public debt.
"Under the Tories the wealthy and their friends in the banks are becoming more prosperous – whilst austerity has been imposed on the rest of us. The rich are getting tax cuts, but people in Thurrock are having our living standards cut, with millions of pounds taken off our public services."