Essex County Council is set to see an 84 per cent reduction in money coming from central government over the next four years.

The drastic cut, following a 49 per cent funding drop already in the last three years, is set out in the government’s Four Year Settlement.

The support grant for the council will be reduced from £118million in 2016-17 to £18million in 2019-20.

Council leader councillor David Finch said: “The decision by government to provide a four year settlement rather than an annual announcement should be welcomed, as it allows us to plan for the future with certainty over the level of funding available to us.

“However, in setting out the four year position it does show the size of the financial challenge ahead and, of course, this 84 per cent reduction comes on top of a 49 per cent reduction already made.”

For 2016-17, £173million came to the council from government grants and the revenue support grant.

Council tax accounted for £570.2million with non-domestic rates bringing £161.9m and other sources accounting for £30.7million.

Over the four years, it is expected that inflationary pressure on services will increase by 12 per cent, while changes to demographics and population increases create an additional need for £352million by 2020.

Cllr Finch added: “Essex is a growing and ageing county, and we have spoken about the need to look at new and different ways of doing things.

“We have an excellent record in making savings, more than £520million has already been taken out of the council’s budget, and I am confident that we are well positioned to meet this challenge head on.

“But realistically in the years to come, the council is going to look and feel very different - services will need to be provided in different ways, there will be more collaboration with partners, commercial and trading opportunities will be maximised and you will see some areas where communities are supported in delivering services for themselves rather than relying on the council.”