Council tax increase for Essex revealed

ESSEX County Council is today set to unveil a below inflation council tax rise of 1.9% - the same as last year - the EADT can reveal.

Roddy Ashworth

EXCLUSIVE

By Roddy Ashworth and James Hore

ESSEX County Council is today set to unveil a below inflation council tax rise of 1.9% - the same as last year - the EADT can reveal.


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Council leader Lord Hanningfield said he was delighted to match last year's figure, which was the authority's lowest-ever increase.

The county council's share of the 2009-2010 for a Band D council tax was �1,066.50 so a 1.9% increase means those people in those properties will now be paying �1086.75.

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The 1.9% figure is equivalent to an extra 38 pence per week for an average Band D household.

It is also one of the lowest figures of any county council in the country.

Lord Hanningfield said: “Today's announcement once again delivers the lowest ever increase in council tax and meets the pledge we made to the people of Essex last years to keep any rise below inflation.”

And Sarah Candy, the cabinet member for finance, said efforts to “streamline” back-office costs made the low-level increase a possibility.

She said: “Despite the perilous state of the public finances and ever-increasing demands we are determined to deliver value for money for the people of Essex.

“We have accelerated our transformation programme, streamlining our back office so that we can put savings into frontline services.

“All these efforts have enabled us to deliver savings, efficiencies and increased income in the last year of around �85million and have allowed us to put forward another below-inflation level of council tax.”

The council tax proposal and budget will be presented for ratification at full council on February 9.

Colchester Borough Council announced last week it was set to raise its share of the council tax by 2.47% - equivalent to �4.23 per year, or 8p a week, on a Band D property.

Paul Smith, in charge of resources, said: “The recommendation of �4.23 a year or around 8p a week increase for the average band D property provides excellent value for money, especially considering the council's continued commitment to maintaining a high standard of frontline services.”

The cabinet will debate the budget report containing the rise at its meeting next Wednesday.

It is understood that councillors in Tendring are hoping to unveil a freeze on the council tax with no increase although a figure has yet to be confirmed.

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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