Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex County Council plans council tax rise for next year

County Hall, Chelmsford.

County Hall, Chelmsford.

Council tax is set to rise in Essex next year as County Hall looks to put up the basic rate and introduce a new charge for social care – while giving a warning about next year’s budget.

"Do I think we are making cuts? No. Can we go much further without making significant cuts? No, we are at the point where that comes next."

Cllr John Spence, Essex county councillor for finance

Essex County Council is looking to put up the tax by 1.99%, just below the threshold for a referendum, and add in the 2% rise allowed by government to fund social care.

It means a Band D home will see an annual increase of £43.38, or 84p per week, with a total bill for the authority of £1,130.13.

County Hall has said it is able to set a balanced budget for next year without cutting any services, despite having to find £76million of savings, though officers have warned of a “significant risk” in terms of achieving savings plans.

However John Spence, county councillor for finance, said although some reserves could be used to make up any shortfall, the real challenge would come next year in the face of yet more funding cuts from Westminster – on the back of £521m already saved in the past five years.

Mr Spence said: “There has been a particularly tough financial settlement from Government, and while we understand the reasons for it the impact on Essex has been very difficult to absorb.

“We are determined to continue to provide our services, they will be reshaped in some cases as we work to make them better.

“If the only way to deliver a balanced budget was to cut services or make them worse then what’s the point? That’s not what I got elected for.

“We have a great track record on council tax, and have frozen it for the past five years in a period when real-term incomes were declining, so it was pretty inevitable we would have to put it up. The social care element reflects an increase in the National Living Wage, which is good but someone has to pay for it.

“We will do our best to avoid repeating such increases but I cannot rule them out.

“What is concerning is we will need considerably more savings next year, and it just gets tougher. It is like picking berries from brambles, you can get the low ones but the big juicy ones which were out of reach at the top – we are going to have find ways to reach them.

“Do I think we are making cuts? No. Can we go much further without making significant cuts? No, we are at the point where that comes next.”

Mr Spence added that talks were ongoing with ministers outline the impact of the funding cuts, and he had met with Whitehall officials yesterday morning to argue the case for less severe cutbacks.

Spending plans include housing for vulnerable people to allow them to live more independently – and reduce the social care bill – and on roads maintenance, as well as £3m for the A120 route consultation.

Cabinet will discuss the budget plans at its meeting next Tuesday, before putting the proposals to full council on February 9.

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Rail travellers hoping to enjoy weekend days out in London in early 2017 are facing four months more disruption on the main line as Shenfield station is rebuilt.

An inmate at HMP Highpoint who held prison staff hostage for more than three hours with a makeshift ‘shiv’ to get himself transferred to another prison has received a 16 month jail sentence.

Corrie McKeague’s disappearance has left his family suffering an “indescribable” void in the 32 days since the RAF Honington airman vanished from the centre of Bury St Edmunds.

Pic Simon Parker

Traffic queues on the A14 eastbound by the A140 turning after a lorry crashed into  the central reservation

There are long delays on the A14 eastbound at after Claydon this evening following an accident.

Everyday our readers send in photos to iwitness24 that they have taken while out and about along the Suffolk coast, visiting one of our many beauty spots or while relaxing in their own gardens.

Felixstowe town centre looking busy and vibrant.

Two Suffolk communities have been praised for revitalising their high street “as a unique place for living, working and shopping”.

The boy was riding a scrambler bike (stock image)

Two men are reported to have produced a “firearm and knife” when they allegedly robbed a 13-year-old boy of his scrambler motorbike in Jaywick.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24