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Tory council leader warns of 'large cuts and difficult choices' after 'dismal' funding announcement

The leader of Conservative-controlled Essex County Council has warned of big cuts and difficult choices after the government announced its funding settlement for local authorities across the country.

Cllr David Finch called the announcement 'more dismal than expected.'

Across the Anglia region, councils face a reduction in their spending power of £153 million.

The leader of Essex County Council David Finch is warning of more cuts in the county. Credit: PA / Essex County Council

“The settlement is even more dismal than expected. We are going to be around £50m worse off in grant cuts. This is going to be incredibly tough on Essex residents, and will mean difficult decisions ahead for the Council.

“It is particularly disappointing that not only is the Government cutting spending, but it has also looked to redistribute grants away from councils like Essex, despite us facing some of the biggest challenges affecting the most vulnerable in society such as Social Care provision.

– Cllr David Finch, Leader, Essex County Council


Pickles reveals biggest Council Tax rises

Eric Pickles department reveals council tax rise Credit: PA

Norfolk's Beckland Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are among councils imposing the highest Council Tax rises for 2013/14 in percentage terms, the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced.

Councils imposing the highest rises for 2013/14 in percentage terms are Conservative-held Breckland in Norfolk (7.6%), while fourth highest is in South Cambridgeshire (4.3%).

But the largest bills to be landing on Band D doorsteps will be in Rutland (£1,701) and Central Bedfordshire (£1,652).

Essex freezes council tax for the third year

Essex County Council is to freeze its council tax for the third successive year. It means an average Band D property will be paying £1,086.75 per year.

The council also announced it's to spend £180 million on the county's roads over the next four years.

Under today’s budget agreement the Council will also:

  • Launch a Local Authority Mortgage Scheme to help first-time buyers get onto the property ladder
  • Spend £18 million on nearly 1,000 additional school places
  • Spent £2 million on providing accommodation for vulnerable people
  • Investing £7.7 million in improving broadband capacity

The budget also outlines the authority will make £55 million savings and efficiencies during 2013/2014. It will also ask the Boundary Commission to look at the authority to see if any additional savings can be made by reviewing the size of the council.