Thurrock Council announced that they will be increasing Council Tax by 4.99 per cent in the next tax year.

During a Cabinet meeting last night, Councillor Shane Hebb, who is responsible for finance, announced this plan, splitting the increase between Adult Social Care and general Council Tax.

It will be Adult Social Care that takes the lion's share of the increase, taking 3 per cent, while general Council Tax will make up the remainder.

During the meeting, Councillor Hebb argued that the increase was necessary to provide better services for elderly residents in the borough.

He said: "The Cabinet do support an increase of 3 per cent to the Adult Social Care precept. Our elderly are living longer and are sometimes, cruelly, are more likely to be suffering with ailments such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

"Our Cabinet wants to make sure that the services that our residents need are there for them."

This comes after Central Government announced that they would be increasing the cap on Council Tax by up to 5.99 per cent - a huge increase on the original 1.99 per cent cap.

However, the government specified that 3 per cent of this must be used to pay for social care services.

Thurrock Council has decided to enforce the 3 per cent rise on social care services for the 2018/19.

Although the total increase is 1 per cent below the cap, Thurrock Labour Leader, Oliver Gerrish, believes the Cabinet could raise it further. 

He said: "It is very disappointing that Thurrock residents are being left to foot the bill for the huge cuts in Government funding.

“Frankly it’s shameful that the Tories have put Thurrock in this position by cutting grants to the council.

"We await the final figures on the total increases, but it does not look like being good news for Thurrock residents.

"With household budgets already under strain, there is more pressure on the way. The combined council tax increases and Police precept could mean an unprecedented rise in Tory taxes this year.”