FAMILIES have been warned to be braced for cuts and increased costs after a council revealed it was facing a £10million bill due to the cost of living crisis.

Southend Council is set to publish its draft budget for 2023/24 next month.

But in an unprecedented move ahead of the plans being revealed, council leader Stephen George has warned people across the city will see cuts being made.

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The council has revealed it could face up to £10 million of extra costs on energy and national Living Wage alone.

Rises in energy prices mean that even though the council is taking action to reduce use, it predicts that it will face an extra £4.6million of costs in 2023/24.

The national living wage rise will also cost the council an extra £5million during the same period.

When the council set its budget earlier this year, it was predicted that the budget gap for 2023/24, would be £7.6 million.

But the authority says it will now be significantly more given the external factors and rising costs.

Mr George has said there are no easy choices ahead of the draft budget announcement and told Southend residents to brace themselves for cuts and increased costs.

He said: “The funding of local government needs a radical national overhaul, but in the absence of that, we must continue to take tough decisions and remain focussed on protecting vulnerable people as best we can.

“This is the hardest budget setting process for over a decade, and there are no easy choices.

“The recent autumn statement amounted to a real terms cut in funding for councils and followed over a decade of austerity and cuts.

“For example, whilst the announcement on an increase to the national living wage is welcome for local people, we estimate this will cost the council around £5m a year extra in increased costs with our social care provider and suppliers “The Government expects councils to raise council tax by 5 per cent, and whilst this will generate an extra £4.5m, it will be eaten up by rises in our energy costs alone.

“This means we are left in the unenviable position of needing to both raise income and reduce costs in our service areas."

The draft budget will be published on January 5.