RESIDENTS will pay an extra £5 a year in council tax to Tendring Council in the face of continued Government cuts.

The authority’s portion of the bill will increase to £167.64 a year for an average Band D property in 2019/20.

The figure is in addition to levies set by the county council and police and fire commissioner.

The council approved the “good, honest, no frills” budget by 50 votes to three at its meeting on Tuesday.

Tory council leader Neil Stock added: “The Government has reduced funding to this council by over £7 million over the last few years.

“Their delayed response to this was to allow councils the opportunity to increase council tax by £5, thereby recognising the pressure in the system.

“So, we are faced with a simple choice - we can increase council tax by £5 or we make some pretty savage cuts to frontline services to make up for the loss of £300,000 per year from our budget.”

“It’s a simple choice, it’s just not a very nice one.

“I think the £5 increase is the right balance and the most financially prudent thing to do in the long term – let’s not forget we will be protecting front line services by doing so.”

Mr Stock added that Tendring Council has one of the lowest levels of council tax in the county.

The council has seen its annual budget slashed from almost £21million in 2012 to £13.6million for 2019/20 – with just £422,000 coming from the central Government grant.

Despite cuts to the Government grant, the budget included £60,000 for Clacton Airshow, £20,000 for the Beach Festival and £23,000 for the Tendring Mental Health Hub.

It also includes £61,200 to pay for an anti-social behaviour officers for two years, as well as £20,000 for additional security measures at Bath House Meadow, Walton.

A report showed the council has planned to make £328,000 of savings next year, £100,000 of which will come from reduced staff costs by not filling vacancies for up to three months.

Labour group leader Ivan Henderson said: “We do blame the Government for putting councils in the financial position they are in.

“We do recognise the impact that cuts are having within our communities, but we will support this budget because it is the only way that we can go forward.”

Mr Henderson welcomed funds for public realm works in Harwich, the small businesses growth scheme and the Careline lifting service, but was upset that Big Society Fund – which support local charities and group – had been cut.

The council is in the third year of a ten-year financial plan, set up to deal with the Government cuts to council grants. The spending plans which already includes £2million on business growth, £2.5million for new homes in Jaywick and £1million for public realm works in Harwich.