THE leader of Basildon Council has warned a change in the council’s governance could lead it to bankruptcy.
Phil Turner, Conservative leader of Basildon Council, is set to be ousted from his position next Thursday as the authority decides on whether it will revert to a committee system.
Gavin Callaghan, leader of Basildon Labour, is being tipped to fill Mr Turner’s shoes.
The motion, tabled by Ukip, Labour, Wickford Independents and other independent councillors, intends to scrap the council’s current cabinet system.
Seven Tory councillors each currently hold a position of responsibility in areas such as planning, resources, regeneration, and environment. The new system bids to have committees made up of nine councillors, with membership representing the number of councillors from each party on the authority.
It means four Tories could be on each committee with the other five spaces being shared between Ukip and Labour councillors.
Mr Turner has hit out at the plans, believing them to jeopardise the council’s chances of filling its £6million deficit over the next two years and that decision making will be come “very difficult.” He said: “Decisions are currently made by the administration. At the moment, it is my responsibility to find the £6million this council needs over the next two years. Who takes that on now?” I believe this could lead the council to bankruptcy. It jeopardises all our plans for Wickford and Pitsea. This is is just a plot to get rid of the Tories.”
Rival parties believe reverting to a committee system will allow their councillors more of a say on decision making.
Frank Ferguson, Ukip councillor for Lee Chapel North, dismissed Mr Turner’s suggestions and says the new system is “more democratic.”
He said: “We have had a hung council which has been controlled by the Tories under the cabinet system. It means decisions can be taken which do not have the say of Ukip and Labour. This is a much fairer way of doing things.”
The Echo attempted to comment Mr Callaghan, but received no reply before going to print.