TOWN Hall bosses have called on the Government to give local councils more independence to manage their own finances in the wake of further cuts.

Tendring Council leader Neil Stock said the authority wants the ability to raise money from other sources to help it provide services.

The Conservative-led authority has seen its annual budget slashed from almost £21 million in 2012 to £13.9million for 2018/19 – with just £1.07 million now coming from a Government grant.

Mr Stock said: “If the Government wants us to be financially self-sufficient – and by effectively scrapping the Revenue Support Grant we have to assume they do – then they should allow us to do just that.

“Parliament needs to remove the legislative shackles which forbid us from being entrepreneurial or innovative and restrict how we can operate.

“We have in this country one of the most centralised systems of government anywhere in the world and all I am proposing is that Westminster just needs to trust local councils to know what is best and to do what is right in their own local area.”

Mr Stock previously said the council needs to look at more innovative and creative ways to invest reserves to generate greater income than just interest from the bank.

He said the Government should relax laws to allow councils to make profits, for example by allowing authorities to generate income from providing beach huts.

Mr Stock’s comments came as residents were asked to pay more council tax in the face of Government cuts.

The authority’s part of the council tax bill will rise by £5 a year to £162.64 for an average Band D property for 2018/19.

Ivan Henderson, leader of the council’s Labour group, said the Government should give councils the funding they need to provide services.

He also lamented the local government grant being cut before bringing in a new scheme allowing councils to retain locally-raised business rates.

He said: “Local government is heading for the cliff edge.

“It’s Mr Stock’s Government that is actually taking the money away when it should have been replacing that money with the business rates retention scheme, which now doesn’t come in until 2020.

“All councils are going to see a massive funding gap between now and 2020.

“We already know the financial pressure our own residents are facing and it is only going to get worse.”