BASILDON Council has been accused of giving unelected officers “blank cheques” with plans to let them spend £1million without approval from councillors.

The Tory-run cabinet wants to allow council officers or single cabinet members to be able to endorse expenditure up to a £1million.

The existing limit is £400,000 before the cabinet has to give its consent. Opposition members say major budget decisions will not be scrutinised and will vote against the plans on Thursday.

Byron Taylor, leader of the Labour party, said: “The Tory- Ukip coalition has just given council officers a book of blank cheques.

“Residents will be pretty unimpressed officers can spend a £1million without any scrutiny by democratically elected councillors.

“Times are tough and money is tight.

“Labour wants to make sure that every penny is spent wisely.”

Basildon Council says councillors will still be able to scrutinise decisions if the proposal is passed.

A spokeswoman said: “While it is proposed the value at which contracts requiring a cabinet decision be increased from £400,000 to £1million to allowmore flexibility with the contract award, all of these contracts would have been scrutinised via a tender or competitive process.

“Governance, audit and risk, scrutiny, as well as call-in procedures are all in place to ensure probity and the changes will be subject to future internal audit reviews.”