Our 2024/25 budget proposals

A close up shot of a person using a calculator whilst holding a pen.

We have published our budget proposals for 2024/25. These set out how we intend to deal with financial pressures and maintain and develop services throughout the next year.

As of 13 February 2024, these proposals have been debated and approved by Full Council.

We have a track record of strong financial management, having saved over £1 billion since 2008. Further savings of £32 million are proposed in 2024/25 and an additional £20 million anticipated in 2025/26. However, along with the rest of local government, we are currently facing unprecedented pressures on our budgets. 

High interest rates, inflation, growing demand for services and a disappointing financial settlement from central government are all factors impacting budget decisions.

In 2024/25, we are proposing a council tax increase of 2.99%, plus the 2% adult social care precept. 

This table shows the proposed Essex County Council precept amounts for 2023/24 and 2024/25:

Council Tax Band 2023/24 2024/25
Band A £966.78 £1015.02
Band B £1,127.91 £1,184.19
Band C £1,289.04 £1,353.36
Band D £1,450.17 £1,522.53
Band E £1,772.43 £1,860.87
Band F £2,094.69 £2,199.21
Band G £2,416.95 £2,537.55
Band H £2,900.34 £3,045.06

The increase would help bridge the gap seen nationally in areas such as children’s services, adult social care and Home to School Transport. Essex would remain in the bottom third for tax rate across shire authorities.

As part of our proposals, we will continue delivering a range of schemes as part of our long-term capital spending programme. These include the new station at Chelmsford’s Beaulieu Park, the Chelmsford North-Eastern Bypass and Colchester/Tendring A120-A133 link road and rapid transit scheme. Investment is also planned for things like new schools and highways maintenance. 

Councillor Chris Whitbread, Chancellor of Essex, said: 

It’s no secret that local government is currently facing significant financial pressures and unfortunately Essex is not immune to them. We know these challenges are felt by many of our residents too. 

However, I am confident our latest budget proposals reflect the best possible balance of protecting and developing essential services while continuing to focus on priority areas which residents have helped us establish. We will also continue work to improve our county’s infrastructure. We have a robust plan for the coming year and the years ahead.

It’s also important, now more than ever, to ensure we’re achieving the best possible value for money for taxpayers. This year’s proposed council tax increase will mean finding an extra £1.39 a week for a typical Band D property household.

We know any increase will not be welcome news for many and this isn’t something we do lightly. However, given the current economic outlook and demand pressures, it is something we are unable to avoid. This increase will place us in a more stable position in the coming years and allow us to plan with greater certainty in the medium term.

I am proud that we have again been able to balance the books in Essex for the coming year. But I want to be clear that without significant interventions and support from central government, more and more difficult decisions lie ahead for councils in the future.

To inform the plans, we held a public consultation last year. Thousands of people shared what matters most to them and their family. 

The proposals will be presented at our Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 16 January and at Full Council on Tuesday 13 February. 

Find out more about our budget proposals for 2024/25