Harlow homeowners look set to have to pay an extra £35 a year in council tax.

Harlow Council is raising its share of council tax by 1.99 per cent in 2021/22 – equating to an extra £5.64 for band D property owners.

Residents will also face further increases in council tax from the county council and police force.

Essex County Council is raising its share by 1.5 per cent (£19.80 for a band D home) while the Police and Crime Commissioner’s precept is going up by 4.98 per cent (£9.90 for a band D home).

Harlow Council looks set to approve its increase at a full council meeting on February 25 while the county council and police commissioner increases have already been ratified.

Cllr Mark Ingall, leader of the council, said: “Through taking tough decisions in the past and ensuring that we have money put aside we can propose a budget which will continue to see us through these difficult times and importantly support our residents and the town. Like every organisation and business the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on our income and we expect to receive further grant support from the government, which will help and is most welcome. However, the ongoing support from government is going to be vital to us and every other council in the country.

“We know a council tax increase, whatever the cost per week, is going to be hard to take. But it will help balance our budget due to the impact of COVID-19, it will help maintain our services and support our residents and the town. A stable financial position also means that we can continue to adapt and respond to the challenges this pandemic creates and support the town in its recovery. The last thing anyone needs is a council cutting its local services and not investing in the future. We are also allocating an additional £300,000 to support those facing hardship. This ensures those most in the need will get the support in paying their council tax bills this year.

Cllr Mike Danvers, portfolio holder for resources, said: “We continue to do everything we can to protect services, protect council jobs and invest in improving opportunities for Harlow. Despite the challenges of this pandemic, for the eighth year running we propose no cuts to services, no permanent service closures and no redundancies, which is a remarkable achievement for any council. These proposals will continue to put the council in a stable financial position as we work through this pandemic and support the town. There are a number of our popular community services which currently cannot operate due to government guidance. But, the budgets for these services such as the Harlow Playhouse, Pets’ Corner, Harlow Museum, Sam’s Place and the Leah Manning Centre will be protected so when they can reopen fully they will be safe and they will be able to thrive once again.”

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