CASTLE Point Council is set to raise council tax by two per cent.

The authority is considering raising their council tax charges by two per cent after freezing them for the last two years, meaning residents in a band D property will pay £254.70 a year.

This will be added to an overall council tax bill of £1,528.74 for families on the mainland once portions for the county council, fire service and Essex Police are added in.

Canvey residents will have to pay an overall bill of £1,549.35 because of additional charges from Canvey Town Council.

It is the second blow families have been dealt this year after the authority announced changes to its council tax benefits scheme as it attempts to axe £1.1million from its welfare bill.

Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of the council, said the council is in a difficult position having had its budget axed this year by £470,000 and could be looking at a further £600,000 cut in 2014.

He said: “This year we are in a particularly difficult position having had the amount of money from Government reduced again and after two years of not having a council tax increase, the pressure is really great.

“It is a tough decision, and politically it would be easier to not to raise taxes, but it would not be best for the borough."

Under the Localism Act, any council which increases its council tax premiums by an amount which is deemed excessive by the Secretary of State and the House of Commons, would need obtain approval from the local electorate.

Should Castle Point Council choose to raise its council tax by any more than two per cent this year, it would need to hold a referendum with residents in the borough.

All other authorities, apart from Essex Police, have agreed to freeze their rates for this year.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the opposition, said: “I know the council has to get its finances in order but we are in a situation now where people are struggling to survive. People really are going to find themselves up against the wall come April."

The decision will be made at a full council meeting at the council offices in Kiln Road, Thundersley next Wednesday (Feb 20).