Bid to freeze council tax rejected as rise is agreed
- Credit: Jamie Niblock
Community leaders in Colchester have vetoed a proposed freeze in council tax this year - opting instead for an increase of £4.95 per household.
The amount of council tax residents will pay to Colchester Borough Council from April will rise by 2.47% to £205.47 for a Band D property.
Approving the budget, members of the Conservative-Independent administration said the council will reduce spending by over £3million without cuts to services, while increasing investment in waste and greening.
But the Liberal Democrat and Labour opposition argued a tax rise would burden residents during the worst cost of living crisis in a “generation”, proposing instead a council tax freeze.
Deputy leader of the council Sue Lissimore said: “We have to be frugal, we have to be careful, we have to look after others that need looking after.
“But, as Conservatives, we must learn to breathe, be entrepreneurial, educate to ensure that everyone can live their life to the best of their ability.”
Proposing the tax freeze, councillor David King claimed three in 10 families in the borough struggled to maintain a decent standard of living, and while he supported some parts of the main budget he believed it has a “key failing”.
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He said: “It makes the cost of living crisis worse, not better."
In addition to the freeze, the opposition also proposed creating a Colchester Emergency Fund and Crisis Reaction Service targeted at those in “extreme difficulty”, costing £150,000 and financed using council reserves.
Leader of the council Paul Dundas said: “I would very much like not to raise council tax at all, and it would no doubt be politically convenient to do just that, but it wouldn’t be responsible and nor would it be serving our residents in the long-term."