COLCHESTER Council bosses say opposition councillors are “playing politics” by proposing a "mad" amendment to a budget set by a previous adminsitration.

An extraordinary meeting of the council is set to take place this evening after Conservative group leader Darius Laws proposed tweaks to Colchester Council’s budget.

The proposed amendments include a freeze on council tax, the funding of a full-time ecology officer and funding for a pump for flooding issues at the Hythe.

But in a statement, the council’s new Lib Dem, Labour and Green coalition said it is set to fund its agenda by using the budget already set by the previous Tory-run council.

Council leader David King said: “The facts are clear. The three coalition parties raised a February budget amendment challenging the rise in council tax and asking for help for those most in need.

“None of these suggestions were taken.

“To accept the Conservative proposal to change the budget now would be a madness, a huge dislocation that would reduce available funding and waste over £100,000 that we could use to help our residents.”

The council’s new cabinet said the budget is not due for review until February next year.

The cabinet added: “In our manifestos, we did not commit to reversing that Conservative rise in council tax.

“We did commit to providing more help for the most vulnerable and with our partners to tackle a wide range of issues needing progress, from ecology resources to flooding on the Hythe.

“We will follow through, but we will do so at the right time and in the best way and within the funds available to us.”

Gazette: Members of Colchester Council's new cabinet outside the Town HallMembers of Colchester Council's new cabinet outside the Town Hall

Adam Fox, the council’s deputy leader, said: “The Conservatives are playing politics while people in Colchester suffer from a cost-of-living crisis.

“We will focus on the practical support we can offer alongside our partners so that our residents can access the basics like food, genuinely affordable housing, and energy.”

Steph Nissen, councillor responsible for the environment, added: “They suggest their decisions are reversed, calling an unnecessary and frankly wasteful additional council meeting.

“They must now own their decisions.”

Mr Laws said the meeting is an opportunity to "enable those who promised a council tax freeze to vote for it". 

"Whether putting food on the table or filling up the car, everyone has been feeling the squeeze lately," he said.

"We have also given the council the opportunity to deliver on their promise to fund a pump to tackle the Hythe flooding issues, as well as the introduction of an ecology officer."