THE leader of Thurrock Council has warned the closure of Tilbury Power Station could cost the authortity £2.5million.
John Kent made the announcement last week while discussing the localisation of business rates and opportunities to pool with other authorities to keep more of what the council raises in business rates.
He told members of the cabinet that while the council get to keep 27 per cent of new business rates, it also would have to pay the government 50 per cent of any rates from businesses which fail, close or move away, meaning should Tilbury Power Station close, the council would be hit hard.
Last week, it was revealed that 220 workers could be out of their jobs in less than six months time as plans to convert the old coal fired station into a biomass plant are on hold sue to the viability of the project.
Cllr Kent said: “If there isn’t support found for Tilbury power station and the worst happens, with it closing at the end of this month as has been threatened, that won’t only mean 300 individual tragedies occur as those people lose their jobs, it will mean a loss of up to £2.5million to Thurrock Council over the next two years.
“Fortunately, we are prepared but it’s still an extra £2.5million that we will be losing at a time when we’re seeing a further cut of £10million by way of government grant.”
Cllr Kent said this is why it is important the council maintains a sustainable level of reserves in its coffers, while also delivering a balanced budget.
He was introducing a report which said the council was likely to raise an extra £33million over the next four years in business rates, which after government charges mean the council will get to keep £9million.
He said that other authorities will benefit from those charges but that there is an opportunity to club those tariff funds together for the mutual benefit of councils in a pool.
Cllr Kent said: “At this stage, it looks like pooling with Barking and Dagenham could benefit Thurrock by some £5.5million over four years. There is still work ongoing to look at the potential benefits of an Essex-wide pooling arrangement and I will be interested to see what that looks like for us.”