March 7 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Essex County Council has proposed a rise of just over £16 per household, per year, for its share of next year’s council tax.
The increase of 1.49 per cent is below the rate of inflation and will see the council’s charge for a band D property in Essex increase to £1,102.94 for the year 2014/15.
It is the first time in four years that the authority has increased its council tax precept and is in response to a £30million cut in its budget for next year from central Government.
The figures were released yesterday (Tuesday), ahead of a meeting of the council’s cabinet next week, who will discuss the budget plan before it is put before full council for approval.
The council said it intends to spend the additional funding from council tax payments in three key areas – to increase the number of apprenticeships, to provide care and support for those with physical and learning needs and to offer additional capital provision for youth services.
As part of the council’s general budget announcement, it said it had earmarked an extra £1m to develop skills in the county while £6m has been put aside for investment in adult social care.
County Hall’s budget for its capital programme for next year is £212m, of which £91m has been earmarked for major road improvement projects, such as Junction 7A of the A120 and stretches of the A12.
Deputy council leader Kevin Bentley said: “We have to make the books balance and are asking for a modest increase below the rate of inflation. We are investing in people and the taxpayers who provide the council with the money.
“The extra spending on adult social care is due to an ageing population and we have to plan ahead, so you and I have the care we need in the future.
“Potholes on the county’s roads are a problem we are acutely aware of and we’ve had a series of bad winters, which hasn’t helped. A good road system is important for the county’s economy and for individuals travelling around Essex.
Mr Bentley added that over the next three years the council would have to find savings totalling £235m.
The increase announced today is one part of the council tax charge. Additional precept announcements will come from district and borough councils, parish councils and the Police and Crime Commissioner.