Essex County Council says it won’t be able to continue to shield residents from the effects of Government cuts.
Leader David Finch has been addressing a Full Council meeting in the wake of the recent Spending Review.
He says the promise that councils will keep 100% of business rates is a hugely important shift in how local government is funded and something that we have long called for, but we will only see the benefits of this from 2020.
However, he says funding will fall by almost a quarter, and pressures such as social care continue to rise, whilst new pressures such as the National Living Wage will add up to £18 million onto the budget.
“We have found more than £500 million in savings over the past five years, but we are not a reservoir that Whitehall can keep tapping, and we have to have an open and honest conversation with the people of Essex.
“As a Council we have committed to keeping council tax as low as possible and this has seen a freeze over the past five years. But we simply cannot continue to shield communities from the impacts of the cuts, and there will be difficult decisions ahead, both in terms of what services we provide and how they are paid for.”