COUNCIL tax is to be frozen for people in Castle Point this year.
Hard-pressed families will be relieved to hear Castle Point Council’s Tory cabinet looks set to approve a freeze next week on the borough’s portion of the tax.
If agreed, it means residents in a band D home will pay £234 for the year to the borough council.
Jeffrey Stanley, deputy council leader, said: “For every pound charged, Castle Point Council’s share of council tax only amounts to about 15p.
“But we want to ensure the part that belongs to us will not go up.
“We are very happy on behalf of our residents that it has been possible to freeze council tax and work in tandem with what the Government wants us to do nationally.
“While a 2 per cent rise would not have been very much in absolute terms – I think it would only cost £4 a year – it’s the principle that matters.
“Clearly everyone is concerned about the cost of living and the Conservative administration wants to do as much as it can to protect people.”
This means households on the mainland will have an overall bill of about £1,531 once precepts for the county council, fire service and police are added in.
For Canvey residents, their overall bill will be slightly higher at £1,552 because of an additional charge for Canvey Town Council.
This freeze comes despite the council facing significant budget cuts as funding from central Government has been axed by around £700,000 for 2014/15.
Mr Stanley anticipates the council will also be likely to freeze council tax in 2015/16, despite budget forecasts showing a shortfall of £486,000.
This comes after Essex County Council scrapped plans to raise its council tax portion, meaning it would remain at the same level as last year.
Dave Blackwell, leader of the opposition Canvey Independent Party, welcomed the news.
He said: “No matter whether central Government has told them to do this, they can play all the party politics they want, as long as council tax stays down, it is without a doubt a good thing for our residents.
“We might be out of the recession, but people are still feeling the pinch so this is good news.”
The decision will be taken at a cabinet meeting starting at 6pm next Wednesday at the council offices in Kiln Road, Thundersley.