A COUNCILLOR claimed in a meeting some council services could be scrapped altogether because of government cuts.

Deputy leader Councillor Barbara Rice made the comments during a meeting of Thurrock Council at the civic offices in Grays last night, arguing that government cuts were forcing the council to make £37 million worth of cuts, which would eat into public services and scrap some altogether.

However, despite the ‘cut to the bone’ rhetoric, councillors still managed to enjoy a selection of three wines after the meeting, which finished at 10pm, in a room adjacent to the council chamber.

The council has since confirmed that the wine is paid for out of mayor Cllr Steve Liddiard's own pocket and is not funded by the tax payer.

Earlier in the evening, Councillor Rice had pointed to the severity of the cuts the council was having to make to public services.

“The severity of the cuts from this Tory-led government are unprecedented,” she declared, to jeers from the Conservative benches.

“Further cuts of 10 per cent year on year will result in us needing to find savings of £37 million,” she added.

“I want to congratulate the cabinet for reaching a balanced budget in the last two years even if, regrettably, services will be cut and some lost altogether.”

A councillor suggested to the Gazette after last night's meeting that food and drink on offer to members was paid for by the council, but the council has confirmed that is not the case.

UKIP Councillor Robert Ray, who pleaded not guilty to drink driving at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, stuck to the grape juice.