Rochford District Council has agreed a 1.89 per cent increase for their part of the Council Tax for the financial year 2014/2015.

This will take Council Tax paid to the District Council for an average band D property to £208.98 from £205.11 last year. This equates to a rise of less than seven and ½ pence per week for a band D property.

The parish and town councils average council tax is £39.78, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to 2013/14.

However, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has not yet agreed his precept, which is set to be confirmed at a further meeting of the Police and Crime Panel to be held later this month.

This means that it is not yet possible to calculate the total average Council Tax bill for a band D property in the Rochford District.

Of the total Council Tax bill, only 14 per cent goes to Rochford District Council with the rest going to Essex County Council (70 per cent), Essex Fire and Rescue (four per cent), the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex (nine per cent) and the Parish and Town Councils (three per cent).

Rochford District Council needs to reduce spending by £0.9m this year. This follows on from the £500,000 the council was asked to find last year and £900,000 the year before.

Leader of Rochford District Council, Terry Cutmore, said:  “We understand that many residents across the Rochford district are feeling the squeeze financially, and as such we have thought long and hard before increasing our part of the Council Tax by this small amount.

“Before taking this tough decision, a public consultation was carried out with residents to seek their views. The results showed 49 per cent of respondents would be happy to see an increase in Council Tax if it avoided further reductions in services, 34 per cent did not agree and 16 per cent had no view or did not answer the questions.

“Therefore, in light of cuts from central Government, we have made this difficult decision so that we can continue to provide the high level of service that residents have come to expect.”

Rochford District Council has decided to waive the Council Tax for residents whose homes have been left uninhabitable due to flooding.

The move applies to 34 properties in Rayleigh, Hockley, Hawkwell and Rochford which were flooded in August 2013, forcing residents to temporarily move out while their homes undergo repair work.

Due to impending changes to the Council Tax discount scheme from 1 April, residents of the flooded properties would have seen their discount reduced to 50%. This decision will now ensure that a 100 per cent Council Tax discount can continue for up to 12 months from when they moved out of their properties.

Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Council Tax Collection, Benefits and Strategic Housing Functions, Malcolm Maddocks, said: “I am glad that we can offer this Council Tax discount to take some of the pressure off those people whose homes were flooded last August."