COLCHESTER Council has promised investment in housing, the environment and communities as it announced its budget proposals for the next financial year.

The authority is set to raise its share of residents' council tax by £4.95 for a Band D property, an increase of 2.6 per cent, meaning an average householder will pay £195.57.

Council bosses say this will allow them to provide £20 million of services to residents and businesses across the borough.

It will also allow for investment in capital projects such as new affordable homes, the Better Colchester campaign, youth initiatives and more.

New strategic priorities like the move to tackle climate change and become carbon neutral by 2030 will also benefit.

Savings and additional income of £1.8 million have been worked in to the total budget.

David King, councillor responsible for resources, said: "We know that councils – ourselves included – continue to face some exceptionally intense and difficult financial pressures.

"However, we continue to manage these pressures well and are striking the right balance.

"This is another robust and prudent budget that allows us to maintain award winning services and to invest in our environment and climate change mitigation, in community regeneration and to promoting more of our wonderful heritage.

“Our budget will allow us to continue to provide high-quality services and to invest in long-term projects such as Northern Gateway.

"But it also keeps money back in reserves and balances to ensure we can meet problems when they arise, enable us to meet the concerns and needs of residents, continue to deliver services and support those most in need."