Householders face £50 tax hike to help pay for services run by county

15 January, 2020 - 17:36
Essex County Council is based at County Hall in Chelmsford Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Essex County Council is based at County Hall in Chelmsford Picture: LUCY TAYLOR


Essex County Council is set to increase its council tax bill by about £50 for the average household.

Leader of Essex County Council Cllr David Finch. PIcture: PAUL STARRLeader of Essex County Council Cllr David Finch. PIcture: PAUL STARR

It means the average council tax bill for Band D will increase from £1,270 to £1,321, in order for the authority to raise its tax funding requirement of £707.9million.

It equates to an increase of 1.99%, plus a 2% social care precept.

The recommendations, which will have to be approved at full council in February, follow a budget consultation in which 84% of participants recognised the financial challenges facing the county council and 66% said they had felt the impact of service changes arising from national funding reductions.

A report said the most significant part of the budget is spent on social care services.

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It said: "The council is also continuing to invest in the maintenance of roads and footways, with an additional £4million per annum for roads maintenance.

"The council is investing more in children services and made specific investment in 2019/20 for mental health. Expenditure on waste is reducing slightly, however this is due to contract efficiencies made by the council."

Among the proposals is an extra £5m for highways, £5m to tackle climate change and new investment in technology to support social care case management, more money to help meet increased demand for home to school transport and adults and children's social care.

Council leader David Finch said: "Action speaks louder than words and we intend to use our new fund to take action on climate change. We will be advised on how we can get the maximum from that investment by an independent climate change commission, which we are in the process of establishing.

"Our budget proposals strike the right balance between an affordable increase, and investing and protecting in the services residents told us are the most important to them in our budget consultation.

"Our proposals reflect the people's priorities - so caring for vulnerable people and investing in roads and infrastructure, for example, are high on the list.

"For a Band D household, the proposed increase in council tax is 97p a week, which we believe strikes the right balance between protecting services and paying just a little bit extra for them."

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