A TOWN councillor who voted to raise council tax by 22 per cent was told he sounds like infamous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin after insisting “It’s what the people want.”

At a meeting of Frinton and Walton Town Council, councillors approved an rise in the council’s precept from £437,690 to £541,822, resulting in a Band D charge of £69.07.

Terry Allen, Frinton town councillor, said the increase of £104,132 is justified to help maintain a number of projects and schemes expected to be completed in the coming year.

He added the increase in rates works out to be a rise of around 25p per household.

It is added to the demands set by Essex County Council, Tendring Council and the Essex police, fire and crime commissioner.

At the town council meeting, tempers flared over the rise, with the council eventually passing the increase by eight votes to five.

Councillor Nick Turner, who voted against the increase, argued the council had enough money in reserves to fund projects.

“This is a 22 per cent increase in rates, which we’ve voted down,” he said.

“When I’m running my own accounts I look at what I’ve got saved.

“I think we’ve got plenty of money to do all your pet projects.”

Mr Allen cited the need to plan for maintenance of toilets in Frinton and Walton and a “soon-to-be completed” project to transform the Spinney - a wildlife area near Frinton train station.

He added: “Nothing in here is a capital project, it is all maintenance.

“It is smoke and mirrors.

“We’re giving the residents what they want.

“If you’ve voted it down you haven’t voted for the maintenance on the toilets, The Spinney.

“There is the loss of grants of £16,000 from Tendring Council, the increase in inflation on PCSOs.”

“So you don’t want the PCSOs - you don’t want the toilets, you don’t want the maintenance of the toilets - you don’t want The Spinney, you don’t want the bowls club to carry on as a good relation and a good customer of ours.”

But councillor Vanda Watling stated: “It’ll go up even more next year won’t it?

“There’ll be even more things to maintain.”

After Mr Allen pointed out there would likely be more projects to carry out and said “it is what the people want”, Mrs Watling responded by joking: “You sound like Stalin.”

Speaking following the meeting, Mr Allen said: “She suggests that by giving the people what they want I’m like Stalin.

“Well Stalin, by my reading, actually only gave the people what he wanted.

“What a ridiculous thing to say.”