Households face £60 county increase in tax bills

Essex County Council

Essex County Council will increase its share of council tax bills from April - Credit: Archant

Households across Essex will be charged around £60 more for council tax from April after county councillors approved increased spending - including £1.3billion over the next four years.

The council is also committing to spending £200million over four years to support climate action and net zero ambitions.

The tax rise means Band D households will see the county council’s share of council tax bills increase from £1,340.91 to £1,401.12 from April

Councillor Aidan McGurran said with inflation potentially surpassing 7%, higher energy prices and NI tax rises, households are set to be about £2,000 a year worse off and called for the council to dip into its reserves to stave off the this year's increase.

He said: “The reality is that as Conservatives you won’t hit people’s pockets unnecessarily in an election year.

“Three and a bit years out you have no problems with it at all.”

Leader of Essex County Council, Kevin Bentley said cutting the council tax rise this year would lead to financial problems for the future.

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He said: “What is a fact is Essex still remains one of the lowest council tax counties in the country. Because of all those years we can be prudent, we only ask for money when we need it.

“It has nothing to do with elections. It has got to do with how the balance of the books are done and the priorities of the time.”

In addition to the £1.3bn capital programme and £200m climate action project, the council plans to spend an extra £10m on skills and economic growth and a further £2m for infrastructure and a new pothole fund.

There is a £1.5m fund for the heritage and culture sector, an additional £1m for Levelling Up across Essex, a continuation of the £750,000 localities fund to support district-based Levelling Up priorities and a continuation of the £500,000 investment in the work being done to protect Essex children from being targeted by gangs.