Saffron Walden residents face average £64 hike to council tax bill

A Saffron Walden sign

Essex County Council and Saffron Walden Town Council have announced rises to their council tax precepts - Credit: Will Durrant

Council tax payers in Saffron Walden are set to see a hike in fees by more than £60 on average.

In an average-sized Band D property, Saffron Walden residents will pay an extra £3.53 each year towards town council services in 2022/23.

They also face paying an extra £60.21 for Essex County Council services, which is set to be finalised at a meeting next month.

Both councils insist that the increases to their council tax precepts are below the current rate of inflation.

The county council has warned that services could be cut without a rise in fees.

Other precepting authorities, such as Uttlesford District Council and the police, fire and crime commissioner are yet to formally agree changes to council tax.

Councillor Paul Gadd, Saffron Walden Town Council leader, said: "We recognise that times are tight for many people, with fuel and utility bills soaring and costs increasing generally, even before the government's planned increase in national insurance bills.

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"Councils remain under financial pressure as huge government cuts to local authority funding continue.

"The town council has tried to keep its tax increase as low as possible whilst continuing to invest in Saffron Walden's communal assets, which residents value so highly."

For all property bands, the town council's precept is increasing by 2%.

The county council wants to raise its precept by 4.49%.

Cllr Chris Whitbread, who is responsible for county council finance, said: "We have a stark choice – either we propose an increase, or we face unacceptable reductions to services.

“For all of us, the last few years have been especially tough, and recently we’ve seen the price of energy rise and our fuel bills go up and increases in the price of goods and materials.

"All of which has been compounded by the pressures of Covid.

“Councils, just like any business or family, are affected by inflation and price rises for goods and services."

The council plans to spend £284 million on major projects such as new schools or road projects.

It also plans to spend £200m on achieving a net-zero target and £10m on 'levelling up'.