A freeze on council tax in Thurrock is set to be approved by council leaders next week, despite council officers advising against it.

The proposal to freeze council tax in 2019 means Thurrock will continue to have the lowest rates in the whole county, but it will also reduce council income by £2.1million and see almost £800,000 cut from the Children’s Social Care budget, £60,000 from transport and £63,000 from planning.

It is claimed that the impact of these cuts will be offset by anticipated savings. In the case of children’s services, a budget surplus of £3million is expected in 2019.

The details are outlined in the council’s medium-term financial strategy that will be approved by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

While the strategy says there is “no desire or need” to raise council tax it goes on to detail how this contradicts recommendations made by council officers and the director of finance.

Their recommendations are based on advice from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) which makes clear that using surplus budgets to invest in services is temporary funding while council tax is a “sustainable resource for the longer term”.

They also highlight that next year the Government will assume council tax has increased and it will reduce the percentage of business rates the council can retain accordingly.

The strategy adds: “Government figures now set out an assumed council tax income in 2019/20 of £2.8m higher than that will be achieved with a council tax freeze.”

The council’s director of finance, Sean Clark, also says in the report that the failure to increase council tax detracts from the council’s ability to become financially self-sufficient.

He notes: “Each 1 per cent is circa £0.7m that is then lost to the income stream for perpetuity at a time where the government has made clear that councils will need to finance services through local revenues from both council tax and business rates.”

The cabinet will also discuss funding for several major capital projects, which will include £4million on improving transport in Stanford le Hope and between £5million and £30million on enhancing the Thameside Theatre.